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Quit Whining, Call Someone Who Cares and Go Away!

Submitted by Danny G., Seattle, WA

There will be more than one moment when you realize that you need help. Maybe the laundry hasn't been done in the last two weeks, or maybe your baby has been colicky for so long that you have forgotten what silence sounds like. Parents often don't want to ask for help for a number of reasons, but sometimes swallowing your pride can make not only you, but your baby feel better.

Rule #1 - Don't Feel Guilty

If you are afraid that people - especially other parents - will think less of you because you have to ask for help, don't be. Every parent has needed a break at some point or another, even if they never ask for it.

Rule #2 - Call Someone your Baby knows

After the first month or two there will usually be a handful of people your child seems to respond to positively. Usually (but not always) these are people who have had experience with babies. Make sure this person knows the logistics of how to take care of a baby in your house. Explain how to prepare the baby's food, where the baby feels relaxed and how the baby likes to be held. Be sure to explain the 80/20 nature of your child's preferences (no baby likes the same thing all the time). Lastly, be sure to set a time for you to come back and let your friend know what adult foods are available in the house (or leave money for pizza).

Rule #3 - Go Away!

Do chores first. But then you must leave. If you have a 900 square foot apartment you will be able to hear the baby when they cry. Get out of the house and do something you haven't done in a while. Go to a ballgame, bookstore, or have a beer (not too many) with friends. If all you want is to sleep for a few hours have your friend who just came over give you the keys and go sleep on their couch. Whatever you want to do is fine, but if you are within earshot of your baby's fussiness you will want to help. If you help, you're not resting.

Everyone needs a break sometimes. If you don't rest you will become more irritable and your child will pick up on that. Don't let your pride get in the way of being a more relaxed parent.

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