When You're Stressed...
Anger and frustration can contaminate your whole day if you don't press the escape key. When tension starts to mount, try one of these time-out tips.
Get over your spouse spats "Remember, it's not 'your baby' but 'our baby,' and as much as you wanted this bundle of joy, there are some trying times in the best marriages after a child is born," says Farrell. You and your partner need to admit once in a while when you're tired, need a break, or feel like parenthood isn't what you expected, rather than directing negative feelings toward each other.
Go ahead and giggle Laughter is a quick way to evaporate stress, so pop in a funny DVD or scan YouTube for silly shorts after your baby's in bed.
Focus on your furball If you have a cat or dog, chances are it's fallen a notch on the totem poll of your affection since the baby came along. But studies show that spending time with a pet lowers blood-pressure response to mental stress.
Pick up the phone or log on If a not-so-stellar mommy moment has you on edge, "talking about it will help you realize you're not alone, you're not the worst mother in the world, and your child is not the most incorrigible," says Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based psychologist. Besides, one of your friends will always have a worse screwup story than yours.
Say you're sorry You raised your voice, burst into tears, said something you regret. "What you do after the outburst is most important," says Thomas. Hug and kiss your baby and go back to being the comforting parent you are. Telling your child "Mama was mad, but it's okay now" will help you both feel better.
Put perfectionism on hold When your baby dumps sweet potatoes on her head, try to look past your frustration about the orange mess. "We often make ideals, like clean clothes, more important than people," says Cheri Huber, coauthor of Time-Out for Parents: A Compassionate Approach to Parenting. So take a deep breath and grab a sponge: This phase will be over before you know it.