Many new parents have a network of family and friends nearby. Having a grandparent or a friend available to watch your little one while you run errands or have a bit of grown-up time is priceless. But if you come from a small family or your loved ones live far away, you may want to create or expand your village of care.
If you are juggling all of the parenting things, the bökee is here to help. We created our unique bottle prep tool to make life a little easier. In our humble opinion, the bökee definitely belongs in your village! It’s the helping hand during bottle prep that you often find yourself wanting while managing a hangry baby!
Avoid Burnout by Staying Connected
Parenting is one of the best jobs in the world. It’s also one of the toughest, with no sick days or holidays and very little recognition. Many parents rely on their village to give them a break now and then, and this respite is critical to maintaining good mental health.
It’s not impossible to parent entirely on your own. But managing all of your children’s needs, your household, and any other jobs you have with no reprieve can lead to parental burnout.
Some symptoms of burnout include:
- Physical or mental exhaustion - or both
- Poor sleeping habits
- A lack of fulfillment that regularly affects your mood
Even the most ambitious parents need a chance to take a break and engage in some self-care. But if you don’t have help lined up, how do you do that? How do you build a village as a parent when you don’t have family or close friends nearby?
How To Create a Village for Yourself
Some people seem to make new friends everywhere they go. But for most of us, it isn’t that effortless. If you have a newborn or toddler, the idea of putting additional effort into anything besides your child may sound overwhelming.
Fortunately, some great options are available that allow you to parent your child while you meet others in similar situations.
Many communities offer a variety of classes for you and your child to attend together. These classes offer healthy activities for you and your little one to enjoy. And they also give you the chance to hang out with other moms and dads. You can be with other adults who are experiencing many of the same things you are.
Classes might involve:
Connecting with other parents in these groups is an excellent way to find camaraderie that can grow into friendship. You may end up with a new mom or dad friend to hang out with through these sessions. And the great part of this arrangement is that if you’re in the same class, you probably have similar schedules, making it easier to set up babysitting swaps.
Local Groups for New Moms
Many hospitals offer facilitated support groups for new parents. These groups meet on a regular basis and offer the chance for parents to share their experiences and receive support from each other in a judgment-free environment. Some groups are specifically for moms, while others are for moms and dads.
You can bring your little one along, so you won’t have to worry about childcare. The other parents won’t bat an eye if you need to feed or change your kiddo. And they certainly won’t care if your baby is fussy or crying, making these groups ideal for parents who are just starting to venture out with their babies.
Connections you make in these support groups can develop into lifelong friendships. One group of Oregon moms who met in this type of setting in 2003 built a tremendous village for themselves.
Nineteen years later, they are still great friends who meet for dinner once a month and take a girls’ trip every year. They have been each other’s support systems through all the ups and downs that parenting brings.
Sometimes, getting out of the house with your child just isn’t in the cards. Luckily, many social media-based groups provide support to parents. While an online group might not always result in hands-on help, the social connections you make in these groups can alleviate the feelings of isolation that often come with parenting.
One great benefit of social media groups is that they are often geared toward specific needs or experiences. There are groups for parents of children with special needs, moms of preschoolers, parents of twins, and many other designations. A few popular and well-known groups include La Leche League, Mothers of Preschoolers, and Mommies of Miracles.
Not everyone is comfortable asking friends to help with their children. If you aren’t ready to bring new connections fully into your village, you may want to consider hiring help if your budget allows. Parents naturally worry about who is caring for their child. Hiring a nanny or babysitter lets you verify credentials and experience. Let’s face it. It’s pretty tricky to ask friends for their credentials tactfully!
One way to find help-for-hire is to ask for referrals from other parents you know. This step can be a perfect way to use those support groups and mommy-and-me class connections. Ask for referrals to people they trust so that you can find the help you need.
You can also hire help through sites such as Care.com. The advantage of this option is that the organization performs a background check and pre-screening on each caregiver before you ever lift a finger. That service provides significant peace of mind to many parents.
When You Find the Help, Learn to Accept the Help
Once you’ve found people who can support you and your parenting journey, you have to intentionally choose to access it. Some moms have a hard time accepting help. Perhaps they don’t want to burden a friend or feel their child is too fussy. There are many reasons we use to talk ourselves out of accepting the help that’s available.
But keep in mind that you will have more of yourself to give to your kiddos if you refill your own cup now and then. A burnt-out parent can’t function at their best. Rest, respite, and downtime are all crucial for parental well-being.
Maintain Your Village
It can be difficult to establish new friendships, especially when you feel like you’re running a marathon every day as a new parent. But once you get those relationships going, keep investing in them as long as they feel right.
When you have other parents you trust in your village, you can enjoy babysitting swaps for date nights, doctor appointments, or just having a well-deserved break.
At the bökee, we know the challenges of managing life with little ones. We designed the bökee to give you a helping hand, whether you’re filling a baby bottle or opening your child’s medication. Grab yours today because every parent deserves all the help they can find.