new parents

Manage Your Task List Like a Boss Even with a New Baby at Home

Last week, I showed you how to use my Postpartum Support Matrix worksheet to help you determine where you need extra help right now and over the long term.  

This week, I’m showing you the next step:  How to manage it all and make sure everything is getting done, even if it’s not you doing every single thing.  

(And, in doing this, if you discover that it IS you doing every single thing, you’ll also discover how to pass those things off to someone else.)

One of the most common things I hear from new moms is that they suddenly feel like there are so many more things they have to do now.  The chores seem to multiply literally overnight!

But you can totally handle it like a boss. Here’s how.

How to Start Asking for Support When You Don't Even Know What to Ask For

Are you a new mom or dad that feels like you’re doing too much and can’t keep up? 

Are you so overwhelmed or exhausted that you can’t even think of what to delegate when people ask how they can help?

Or, maybe asking people for help just feels too hard, but you’d love to try to let yourself off the hook a little?

I get it.  Completely.  

For one thing, as a mom,  I’ve been there myself. For another, this is something that comes up in my therapy practice ALL the time.

That’s why I created two tools that can help. You can download both of them here.

Owning Your Confidence as New Parents When Others Have Opinions

ast week on the blog, I talked to you about managing outside expectations on your family for the holiday season.  If you’re wanting a quieter, simpler, more peaceful holiday season without the rushing around from this party to that dinner… First of all, I don’t blame you.  Doing all that with a brand new baby or even a toddler can sometimes just be way too much.  Especially if you’re only doing it because you feel like it’s expected of you.

But also, I do realize that telling you to set those boundaries with friends and family is kind of easy for me to say.  I’m not the one that has to look them in the face and say it for you.  So, I understand the anxiety that comes along with that.  

Setting Boundaries as New Parents for a Peaceful Holiday Season

Well, the holiday season is upon us.  Thanksgiving is a week away and I swear it sneaks up on me faster and faster every year.  The holidays can be stressful, chaotic, busy for everyone.  This can be especially true for new moms.

I have couples tell me all the time how stressful the holiday season can be with a new baby at home.  They share that they feel obligated to make the rounds.  I always tell them that they don’t need to do that.

New Dads: What is Your Role After Baby Arrives?

First-time dads, do you (or did you) ever feel like you’re unsure of what you’re supposed to even do in those first few weeks after bringing baby home?  

Do you (or did you) feel like you don’t even exist or that there’s not much reason for you to be around because the baby needs mom and mom is doing it all?

 

Every new parent will tell you that those first few weeks after baby comes home are rough.  

Ways Dad Can Help Out in the First Weeks of Parenthood and Why Mom Should Let Him

Fathers Day is just days away, so in honor of all the World's Best Dads everywhere, I thought I'd share my best tips for new dads (and parenting partners) so that you can come into your own as a daddy.  I think it's often assumed that dads will just step up after the baby arrives (and more often than not, YOU DO!), but we all say it so casually--as if it isn't just as disorienting, confusing, challenging or exhausting for dad as it is for moms. 

That really isn't fair, is it? 

Catherine O'Brien, LMFT featured on "The Family Couch" Podcast

Parents and Parents-to-be, this is so good:  Catherine O'Brien, LMFT was featured on the podcast "The Family Couch", hosted by Mercedes Samudio, LCSW.  In it, they discuss what surprised Catherine the most when she first became a mom, how to make sure both parents are connecting with baby (and with each other) and feel supported and empowered, and they even take on the "mommy wars" hot-button issue to help moms move past the judgment and guilt.  Catherine gives the top three questions she asks every parent to consider at every stage of their parenting and how to have a plan but also remain flexible enough to change or modify your plans when life throws you curve balls. 

Letting New Parents Off the Hook: Mommas of 2+ Kids Give You Their Best Hacks & Cut You Some Slack!

Being a new mom is an adjustment.  OK, that might be an understatement.  Sometimes, being a new mom is hard, and scary, and nerve-wracking, exhausting, confusing.  Being a new mom can make you question whether you’re even cut out for this.  Whether you’re any good at it.  Why everything in the book isn’t working.  Or, how you surely must be screwing your kid up from the get-go if you don’t do x-y-z right.  Let me tell you:  Every single mom has felt this way at some point.  You’re not alone.

4 Ways to Feel Intimacy When You're All Touched Out

Whether you are pregnant, have a new baby or even an older child, we moms all can feel touched out at certain times in our parenting adventure.  I especially hear about this from breastfeeding moms.  If you’ve already been there, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The baby wants to do nothing but nurse.  Or be rocked in your old rocking chair.  Or will only sleep if she’s lying on your chest...

Sex After Baby: What's Normal?

“When will we have a sex life again after the baby is born?  And will it be any good?”

 

I hear this a lot from expecting parents, both with the couples I work with and in Facebook groups online.  I’d venture to guess there are plenty more that are wondering the same things, but haven’t been brave enough to ask.  Every new or expecting parent wants to know what’s normal.

Top 3 Books for Expecting Parents

sn’t it crazy just how much we need to do, think about, and plan for when we are expecting a baby?  It is an amazing time, but it is also a life-altering, world-changing event.  If you are an expectant parent you are probably already inundated with books, research on the best products, and get loads of unsolicited advice.  (And if you're not yet, just wait....)

Catherine O'Brien Interviewed on Her Life Unscripted with Anna Osborn

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Anna Osborn, a dear friend and colleague, on her podcast, Her Life Unscripted, all about new motherhood--its effects on our relationships with our partners, how our needs change even though our wants might stay the same, and the imperative of finding your tribe as a momma. 

Bonus: Video Interview with Elly Taylor, Author of "Becoming Us"

This was such a fun opportunity!  In this interview, I chat with Elly Taylor, an incredible relationship counselor, researcher and author of the book, Becoming Us, which I recommend to clients all the time.  Such an honor to have a conversation with her and to hear some of her wisdom.  Check out our interview (transcript included).

Guest Blog Post: Transformation

My pregnancy went well and I was excited to meet my baby girl. I made a birth vision board, set up my birth plan, had my awesome doula and very supportive husband. The labor and delivery took a loooong time. But, she came out! I was so happy to meet her! My baby girl that I’d spent all of those months talking to and preparing for...now out in the world with me.

Guest Blog Post: What to Expect When You Become a Parent After Infertility

During your infertility journey, all you dreamed of is the day that you’d become a parent. You worked so hard, read everything you could get your hands on, and asked questions in your online support group. You followed all of your doctor’s instructions, had sex on a schedule, and went through medical treatments you didn’t even know existed. It’s been a process, and you and your partner have experienced a grief that’s almost impossible to describe. But you’ve made it through. 

The #1 Thing that Will Determine How Happy You & Your Partner Are in that 1st Year of Parenthood Isn't What You Think!

I recently had a conversation with another mom and, because we both have daughters about the same age, we began sharing stories about when we were expecting.  

 
 

 

She was telling about how obsessed she was with birth plans, natural births, and everything Ina May Gaskin had written about.  She told me she watched The Business of Being Born three times on her own, on top of making her partner and all of her other pregnant friends watch it with her too.  

She said it wasn’t until she went on maternity leave and was just waiting for her water to break that it even occurred to her to read up on parenting and what it might be like having a tiny human under her care.  Before that moment, she hadn’t given much thought to what it might be like after the birth.

Can you relate to this?  

Or, maybe you’re like another friend of mine who didn’t stress so much over her birth experience itself, but became obsessed with reading up on parenting methods and the many phases of child development.  She devoured everything she could on brain development, separation anxiety, co-sleeping, all the possible birth defects the baby could potentially be born with….you name it.  She read about it.

Maybe this is you.

We all go through some version of this when we’re pregnant.  We can almost have tunnel vision at times, whether it’s styling up the nursery in the most fashion-forward style or going crazy over baby registries or planning the ideal birth experience (because babies always arrive in exactly the way we planned, right??)

Even the best birthing classes often don’t go much further than this either.  

Not to mention, I’m only talking about the moms here.  Your other half is definitely having his own experience with this too.

But, do you notice anything missing from these obsessions?  

These stories are all very baby-focused, aren’t they?  For good reason, of course.  But, look closer.  These obsessions really are very “me and baby” focused.  But no one does this alone.  What about those two people that existed even before the baby did?  The two people who were many other things before adding “parent” to their life’s resume.  You know who I’m talking about--the two whose lives are going to be turned upside-down while that baby is busy being born and growing and changing….

Because I will tell you, the birth is just a flicker of your life.  A miraculous, earth-shaking flicker, but still….it’s a mere moment compared to the many years that follow.  

And I’ll tell you something else:  Babies are going to grow up whether you read the books or not.

But, what about your relationship?  It’s almost never mentioned, but your relationship is the key to that first year going smoothly or going frustratingly haywire.  No one talks about how difficult it can be to listen to your partner talk about their day when you’ve barely gotten any sleep or how to ask for a break to take a shower when they’re just sitting there enjoying the morning paper.  

It might sound trivial now.  You might think, “But my partner is so helpful at home now, I’m sure that will still be the case once the baby’s here.” Or, you may think, “It’s just not real for fathers-to-be until the baby arrives.  He’ll step up.”  Or maybe it’s, “I’m sure I’ll be tired and cranky in the beginning, but I’ll get the hang of things.”

Yes, all of that might be true.  But, statistically, 92% of couples report relationship dissatisfaction that first year when baby comes home.

YIKES.

That tells me that even the most saintly of partners can get frustrated at times, can feel misunderstood sometimes, can feel like the spark is gone at times.  

And sadly, this is best-case-scenario.  Factor in postpartum depression, relationship troubles, work stress, or any of the above, and you could have a very different situation on your hands.  (Don’t believe me?  Check this out.  And this.  And this.)  

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like that.  It just takes a little preparation and open dialogue.  Join us for our upcoming class, “Mine, Yours, Ours: Relationship Survival Guide to Baby’s 1st Year” --a  2-hour class I’ve been running for several years now with my husband, Rick.  Together, we’ve helped hundreds of couples navigate this transition with effective communication, empathy and humor.

What couples are saying about this class:

Really helpful and on track with what we are experiencing as new parents! ~ C.J.
Great speakers, thoughtful listeners, liked that you showed the upside of parenting and not just the challenges. ~ J.L.
It was very helpful having both perspectives (mom and dad).  The group was open with their personal concerns and that provided comfort and support. ~ LB
We thought we knew how to communicate, but by listening all of our concerns it forced us to really recognize what we need to prioritize. ~ A.P

Mine, Yours, Ours: Relationship Survival Guide to Baby’s 1st Year

Friday, July 29, 2016, 6:30pm  8:30pm

@ Herself Moms, located at 151 N. Sunrise Ave. Suite 907, Roseville, CA 95661

Register online now.

Facilitated by wife/husband team, Catherine O'Brien, M.A., LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Gottman Educator, and Mother) and Rick Heyer, JD, (Educator and Father).

This class meets one time only for an engaging “power hour” that is all about what that first year of parenthood will be like for both you and your partner and how to stay connected throughout the ups and downs.

In this class, we’ll discuss:

  • How each partner’s concerns are different through this transition and what each parent brings to the table.

  • Effective communication skills, so you can hear and be heard even if you’re working with a shorter tolerance or attention span.

  • How to develop your own Postpartum Plan for creating harmony within the relationship and work as a team and why it’s so important to do this NOW.

  • The importance of understanding moods and emotions that come with the birth of your baby, from both a biological and situational standpoint.

  • And, not least of all, how to keep sex and intimacy lit up in your relationship, even when it feels like timing has put it on the back burner.

*Special Bonus*  This class also includes a FREE 20-minute consultation with Catherine to review & tailor your very own Postpartum Plan!

$99 per couple.  Space is extremely limited:

This class routinely sells out, so don’t wait!

 Register online now.

 

The Less Than Perfect Part of New Parenthood That No One Preps You For

So much has changed in the last seven years.

I used to work a lot.  In fact, seven years ago,  I was working three jobs that were all part-time, but the hours equaled to having two full time jobs.  I was eagerly awaiting the arrival for maternity leave to start because I couldn’t wait to take a break!

Did you hear that?  Yeah, I thought being on maternity leave meant I would be on an extended vacation.  The sad thing is I know I’m not alone in that.

Happy With Baby’s Catherine O’Brien, LMFT featured on Psych Central

Recently, I’ve had the honor to be interviewed and featured in a two-part article series published on Psych Central.  The articles focus on ways for new parents to maintain connection with their partners during the intense transition period that happens when you bring home a new baby.