How to survive new motherhood when you’re an introvert

When everyone you’ve ever met wants to meet the new baby, you may have to draw boundaries. 

How to survive new motherhood when you’re an introvert

Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, just surviving the first few months of your baby’s life as a mom can be quite the adventure. You’re exhausted, your entire body is sore, you’re riding a roller coaster of undulating hormones—and there’s a precious, tiny creature who demands the vast majority of your time, energy and attention.

If all that weren’t enough (which it definitely is), you also have to deal with the seemingly endless parade of well-wishers and looky-loos.

Even the most extroverted of new mothers can be put off by a house full of family and friends wanting to hold the baby. But to an introverted new mom, it’s practically torture. What’s more, voicing your true feelings after having a baby can be incredibly difficult. You don’t want to appear selfish or stand-offish—and you certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings—but there are so many things you wish you could say to the friends, family and absolute strangers who just can’t seem to take a hint.

If you’re looking for some tips to take care of the loved ones who are pushing boundaries or overstaying their welcome, look no further!

How to handle hospital guests

Having a baby is a truly joyous occasion. That’s why it’s no surprise that all your loved ones are so eager to see and hold the baby shortly after it’s born. However, bringing a baby into the world is also stressful and exhausting. As an introvert, the last thing you want is a veritable crowd of people strolling through your hospital room when you’re busy trying to bond with your little one. So many visitors (whether expected or not) can be overwhelming.

Don’t feel bad if you’d rather not have visitors while you’re in the hospital—it’s not in the least bit unusual. Let family and friends know ahead of time that you’d prefer visits to wait until after you’ve returned home. Hospital staff will also be happy to help. You can request that no information be given over the phone and that no visitors are allowed into your room.

If you’re OK with a few visitors, you can ask that they don’t stay too long—15-20 minutes should do the trick. Let them know that you are recovering and need rest, and that there will be plenty of time to see the baby in the near future.

Ask your significant other (or whomever is acting as your support) to work as a gatekeeper of sorts. Have them screen guests and notify them of approved visiting hours, time limits and so on.

How to handle visitors at home

Once you get baby home, you’re bound to have a lot of people who want to drop in unannounced. Ask friends and family to text or call before coming over. Point out that you’ll have unpredictable sleeping patterns, and that they may disturb your sleep or recovery if they just stop by at any random time. It’s also helpful to mention that you don’t have a lot of energy, and that you may only be up for a half-hour visit or so. If your guests are a bit oblivious, you can usually get them to leave by saying it’s nap time and mentioning how you usually sleep when the baby does.

If you’d prefer to have your visits take the “one and done” approach, consider having a sip and see party, an open house style event where friends and family come see the baby. You can put out drinks, snacks and even craft projects—this allows friends and family to take part in decorating the baby’s room. In one afternoon, you can get all the visits out of the way and look forward to some peace and quiet.

If all else fails, put a sign on the door, disable the doorbell and put your phone on vibrate. Your comfort and bonding time with baby are what’s most important.

How to handle unwanted advice

When it comes to babies, everyone is an expert. Family, friends and even complete strangers will practically line up to give you advice on anything from the benefits of breastfeeding to the controversy over swaddling. And then there’s the judgment—there isn’t a mom alive who hasn’t felt judged at least once. This unsolicited advice and scrutiny can work to undermine your confidence and stir up the kind of emotions that make you feel like garbage (not to mention make you see red).

Figuring out how to stem the flow of this advice in the moment isn’t always easy, so it may not hurt to memorize a few of these helpful one-liners:

“That sounds very interesting. I’ll discuss it with my pediatrician.”

“Thanks for letting me know how you do things. I’ll consider that.”

“Every baby is different, so that might not work with mine, but thanks so much for sharing that with me.”

“Thank you for telling me that, but this is the way I prefer to do it.”

“It’s true that babies haven’t changed much in the last 30 years, but what we know about them has.”

“Great! Thanks!”

If you truly want or need advice, you can turn to a trusted source. Just remember that, in the end, nobody knows your baby better than yourself.

Know that many emotions are natural

In those first few weeks and months after having a baby, you’ll be cycling through a lot of different emotions, some good and some bad. It’s 100 percent OK if you don’t feel like everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time—this does not make you a bad mom!

However, if you find that your emotions are hitting extremes and getting in the way of both your daily life and bonding with your baby, it might be time to talk to someone. Overwhelming spells of sadness, anxiety, or anger can be a sign of postpartum depression. An average of 15 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression, making it the most common complication of childbirth. If you suspect you may be be depressed, you don’t have to feel ashamed or alone. The best thing you can do is to talk to a professional and get the help you need.

Though it can be a pain at times, being a mom is bound to be one of the most amazing journeys of your life. As an introverted mom, you have so much to offer your little one.

So cuddle that baby close, pour out all the love you possibly can, and don’t let anyone get in your way!

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

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