Sometimes, as a new mom, you’ll find yourself in difficult situations, when you aren’t sure what to do or say. Below are common scenarios and advice according to an expert on how to take each one in your stride.
Unsolicited advice from grandparents
Dilemma: You are holidaying at your parents’ house and your baby gets overstimulated because there are so many people and so much noise. Your parents tell you not to shield your baby from the noise and that she needs to get used to it. How do you handle this situation effectively without hurting their feelings, but also making the point that an overstimulated baby is difficult for you to deal with?
Solution: It’s important to remember that grandparents are a great source of support, but not always the best source of advice.
Clearly, your baby is upset and she is expressing this by crying. You need to tend to her needs to understand what she is trying to communicate. You’re advised to talk to your baby and letting her know that you can hear she is upset and frightened by all the noises. Pick your baby up and leave the room with her until she has calmed down.
People wanting to pick up your baby
Dilemma: You are with friends and people are having a drink or two. How do you say no to people who just want to touch and hold your baby?
Solution: You have to communicate assertively and honestly. Take your baby from the person and say, ‘I can see you like babies, but she gets upset when she’s suddenly picked up, and it makes me anxious because then I have to deal with her.’ By effectively describing the behaviour (what the person is doing) and communicating how you will be affected (soothing a crying baby), you are confronting a person without being rude, attacking, or being submissive.
Going back to work
Dilemma: You don’t know whether you should go back to your job after maternity leave.
Solution: The best place for a child for the first two years is with his mother, but you need to think about what is going to fulfil your needs.
Some mums prefer staying at home with their kids, while others prefer going back to work because they enjoy it. Don’t stay home with your baby if you think you might resent your child later on. If you enjoy working, go back to work and ensure that you have a reliable child carer or nanny to look after your little one while you are at work.
The search for perfection
Dilemma: You’re on maternity leave for four months and you’re at home all day. You think you’re going to have plenty time to make sure the house is spotless, the laundry is washed and folded and dinner is on the table when your partner gets home, but you soon realise this isn’t going to happen and you’re feeling a sense of failure.
Solution: It’s natural to have expectations before becoming a parent. For nine months, you’ve been picturing yourself as the perfect mother who has time to handle a baby and household duties, but then reality hits. Your baby has brought change into your life and the only way forward is to adapt by managing your expectations and aligning them with reality.
you’re advised to include your partner in the problem-solving process. Let him know that you aren’t coping and communicate to him that you would like to have a discussion about how you can solve the problem together. Write down all the ideas and pick one that works for both of you. Give the solution a timeline and if that doesn’t work, go back to the drawing board.”
you can also hire a domestic worker to help with the housework if you are financially able to.
Parenting against your values
Dilemma: Your toddler’s behaviour is out of control and none of your discipline methods seems to work. Your friends say you should smack her, or she’ll never learn and grow into a decent human being. What can you do to enforce discipline without smacking and how do you deal with the situation if you smacked your child and feel guilty about it now?
Solution: Smacking should be reserved for life-threatening situations only, and only for children younger than four years. Only one smack on the bum without using an instrument of punishment like a wooden spoon or a slipper – only your hand. The object of the smack is not to cause pain, it is to reinforce your verbal command.
A child older than four years shouldn’t be smacked, as they are old enough to understand verbal instructions. Regardless of your child’s age, never smack your child out of temper.
If you have smacked your child out of temper, apologise to her once you have both calmed down. It is important to honestly tell your child why you smacked her and why the behaviour was unacceptable to you. Tell your child you want to discuss the unacceptable behaviour and you would appreciate her input on how to handle the matter differently in the future.