What can I do to keep from feeling overloaded and overwhelmed

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Being the parent of a baby is a big responsibility and puts significant demands on your time. Many parents experience feelings of overload during the first year of parenthood, even when they just focus on caring for their baby. It can be exhausting to stay up with a sick infant at night, to get a colicky baby through a tough afternoon and evening, or to keep a crawling and curious baby from hurting herself. When you try to combine those parenting demands with other responsibilities, such as meeting sales quotas at work or keeping the bills paid and the house in order, life with a new baby can sometimes seem overwhelming.

Is it possible to balance all of these demands on your time? Is it possible to be the parent you want to be, be successful at work, and continue to pursue those extra activities that give you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment? The short answer is "yes." You can be a good parent, an effective employee, and a contributor in the activities you care about. But you'll need to set your standards for yourself at a realistic level.

The key to balancing parenthood and the rest of life lies both in being organized and in setting appropriate expectations. If you try to do everything you did before—just the way you did it before—and take good care of your baby, you're bound to disappoint yourself. By developing techniques to manage time, to manage stress, to get help, and to find time for yourself, you will somehow manage to do all that you need to do.

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