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    Where Do We Find the Energy for Early-Year Parenting?

    By Seth Mullins     

    Stepping into the role of mother or father of an infant can be one of the most exhausting jobs we’ll ever have. Our newborns’ irregular rhythms will throw our own into disarray. Contemporary wisdom tells us that their needs should be met whenever they arise – be it dawn, late afternoon, or three in the morning.

    Many of our responsibilities at this early stage of the game are invisible. Even when we may not seem to be “doing much”, we are actually nurturing the growth of our young ones with our life energies. It’s no wonder that we end up feeling so depleted. Unfortunately, this very lack of energy can inhibit our ability to be effective as parents. We do our job best when we are feeling healthy and happy ourselves. In order to achieve this, we have to take steps to replenish that energy that goes into rearing our children.

    Of course, the biggest source of rejuvenation is what is most often infringed upon by our new routine: sleep. Some adjustments will be necessary to compensate for this. The easiest way to make up for sleep deprivation is to coordinate naps of our own alongside our young ones’. Infants and young children can usually be relied upon to nap a couple of hours in the mid- or late-afternoon when their energies typically wane. We’d do well to take advantage of this time in order to catch up ourselves.

    Nutrition is especially important at this time, particularly for breast-feeding mothers. It is a good idea to take some vitamin and mineral supplements in order to replace the nutrients that go towards nourishing the baby. Moderate exercise such as walking – especially out in natural environments – can help revitalize our bodies when we’ve been forced to spend so much of our time indoors.

    If we have the support of spouses, partners, or family members, we might be able to carve out small periods of time to spend alone. An hour or so of solitude each day can have an incredibly refreshing effect upon our bodies and emotions. We can then return to the tasks involved with mothering or fathering with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

    Caring for children during the first year of their lives can be exhausting due to the many ways in which our accustomed daily routines become disrupted. Short of forcing our little ones to adapt to our schedules, our only recourse is to readjust our living habits so that we can take advantage of the small moments of peace and quiet that come, and use that time to rejuvenate our bodies, minds and spirits. Then we’ll have more energy to devote to one of the most difficult but rewarding jobs we’ll ever have: parenting.

    Written by Seth MullinsRate this article:

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