Studies show that when women are massively stressed — as happens with major life changes like having a baby. Whereas men are more apt to react to stress with the “fight or flight” response, the female urge to bond is known as “tend and befriend.” Indeed, surrounding yourself with an entourage of helping hands will make your transition infinitely more manageable, pleasant, sane and sleep-filled. Here's the ideal cast of characters every new mom should have by her side.
The reassuring “it's totally normal” mom friend: She has kids of her own so she's read the parenting books and done all that tedious vaccine research. When you're fretting over something and look for it on the Internet, you may end up getting all freaked out by worst-case scenarios. Call this friend instead.
The trusted caregiver: You will need one whenever you need an extra hour of sleep or the laundry done or just one hour alone with your thoughts or a night out with your spouse. The bonus with family is that you don't even have to pay these people. No family available? Ask mom friends you trust for referrals, or hit up local preschools. They often have assistants eager to pick up extra work.
The hands-on husband: Many mums assume their way of parenting is the only precise way. While wanting to do best by your baby is admirable, oftentimes it pushes your husband right out of the picture. When all he hears is what he's doing wrong, eventually he'll get discouraged and give up. In the long run, letting dad make his own way in his new role will make everyone happier.
The single friend: Because she might have more time for you than your mommy friends — and she'll likely never tire of holding the baby. Keep her number close.
A workout buddy: The happiness-boosting combination of exercise and adult conversation cannot be overemphasized. Plus, if you're counting on your own motivation to get your workout shoes laced up, you could be waiting until Junior is off to college before it kicks in. An exercise partner offers inspiration and accountability.
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