Finding Your Rhythm as a New Parent
Katie Delaney, RD, CSOWM, Take Control Health Coach
August 6, 2020
Being a new parent can bring a roller coaster of emotions. At times, finding calm among the chaos is challenging. You may feel completely disconnected from your old life -- yearning to reconnect and find a small piece of the old you. If you’ve felt this way, you are not alone!
Parenthood is a new journey that encompasses the old and new you. You don’t have to say goodbye to the old you; instead, to maintain your identity, the key is to incorporate the old you as a new rhythm. Date nights may become trips to the grocery store or a movie night when your little ones are sleeping. Girl’s night may become game night at your house. Exercise may become either sacred time away from the family, or may evolve to family walks or “mommy and me” workouts. Creating this new rhythm as a parent may be a struggle. As a mom, I still struggle - even after two years!
Finding Your New Rhythm
How do you find your new rhythm? I have found that embracing each “obstacle,” instead of viewing it as a challenge, is the first step. Key strategies include:
- Multi-task when possible
- Say no
- Ask for help
- Take personal “time outs” to gather your thoughts
- Advocate for your needs
People cannot read your mind, or know that you are struggling, so make sure to communicate your thoughts.
One of the biggest struggles in finding your new rhythm is carving out much needed time for YOU, for your own self-care. Don't feel guilty or put pressure on yourself that you don’t spend enough time with your children and/or spouse. As parents – especially moms – we need to take care of our mental health! Take 30 minutes, or even an hour, to take a bath, workout, read, or do whatever brings peace, relaxation, and happiness to your life! (For ideas, see our post Stress-reducing Tips for Moms of Toddlers) You will be a better parent, partner, and person in the end. After having my son, I experienced anxiety, which was new for me. I found if I did not take 30 minutes to an hour for myself each day to exercise, I was very anxious and hard to be around.
If you are struggling with your new journey as a parent, remember to:
- Advocate for your needs
- Honor your feelings and thoughts
- Carve time out for yourself, even if it is a personal “time out”
- Embrace the new
Never feel like you are alone in this journey, find support as needed. Other parents, family, and friends can all be lifesavers. Talk with your Take Control health coach about the counseling benefits available through your health plan. Below is a list we’ve compiled of counselors and resources throughout Montana.
- Counselors: Meg Segal (406) 920-2146 or Lili Stiff (406) 586-4145-- babies are welcome to join the appointment
- Bozeman Health Hospital Family & Birth Center Education
- Moms Club of Bozeman/Belgrade
- Parent Place
- Roots Family Collaborative
Missoula Area Resources
- Counselors: Heidi Morris (406)542-0391, Melinda Cline 406-327-3924, Katherine M. Schwartz 406-327-3034 -- babies are welcome to join the appointment
- Bitterroot MOPS Chapter (Mothers of Preschoolers – expanded to include all ages)
- Active Moms Missoula
- The Lotus Project - resources for women
- A Mother Is Born Therapy Group