I had a lot of anxiety about leaving the house with Iya alone especially when she was really tiny. Until she was about 6 months old she would scream in her carseat and wouldn’t stay content in her stroller for very long either. I would always end up carrying her while pushing my things in her stroller. Needless to say, it was really hard to get things done. It wasn’t my productivity (or lack thereof) that was killing me, it was my mental space.
Until I got some hired help 7 months in.. I was really navigating this motherhood thing on my own. Five days a week it was all me all day until the last 45 minutes of Iya’s day when my husband would take over for bedtime. All of this solo time really allowed me to reflect and absorb from my successes and failures; I’ve learned so much and have grown tremendously this past year so I wanted to write down 5 tips for getting yourself out of the house with an infant without crumbling from anxiety.
1. Start Small
I wish I did this more early on to build my confidence.. a quick stroll around the block, a 10 minute Starbucks run. Not only will you grow with every little successful outing, baby will get more and more accustomed to being in their carseat, in their stroller, & outside.
2. Figure out your diaper bag
Are you bare necessities kind of girl or do you need to be prepared for any and every thing? I’m a little bit of both depending on where I’m going and for how long. If I just need the basics for a quick run I like having this portable changing station with me. If I need the works, I make sure i have everything: a change of clothes, snacks (6+ months), nursing cover, diaper bags for soiled clothes, etc etc etc. Know that you really don’t need everything most of the time but it takes getting out often to understand what your needs are – it’s different for everyone! Whatever system works for you just make sure your bag is ready ahead of time! Why add more stress to an already stressful situation needing to run around to get your bag ready on your way out the door?
3. Be flexible with time
I know we don’t have all the time in the world but outside of actual obligations, try your best to be mentally-flexible! Being inefficient is a huge pet peeve of mine so it’s something I had to come to terms with to keep my mood breezy while out — a lot of challenges are seriously mind over matter. It could take twice as long to run a simple errand or social plans could get cut in half because we gotta get out of there. It’s OKAY! It’ll get easier and more predictable with experience.
4. Babies cry. They just do.
I would tense up whenever Iya would cry in public but really… people don’t actually mind as much as we think they do, even on planes! I would always apologize profusely while trying to handle the situation but people have always been extremely empathetic and understanding. Babies just cry, it’s how they communicate so please cut yourself some slack! Your baby is their own little person with their own autonomy, you can’t control everything. Do your best but don’t beat yourself up.
5. Getting out is great self-care
Forget all of the learning that comes with the experience of getting out.. forget all that for now. Getting out of the house, getting some sun, getting some fresh air, is all therapeutic. Self-care only makes us better moms, remember that! I went to see my OB around 8 weeks postpartum because I was having a really difficult time, emotionally. It wasn’t clear whether I was suffering from postpartum depression but she gave me a list of things to do daily – one of which was to get out of the house with or without baby. Five out of seven days there was no option but to go out as a pair but it helped tremendously!
Breathe mamas, you got this!