Are you doing too much while on maternity leave?

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Maternity leave is a time that's sure to be extraordinary, joyful, exhausting and frustrating -- often all at the same time. There's so much to do that many moms take on more than they can handle.

When friends and family come over to "help out," do you find yourself cooking a meal for them?

Resist the temptation to be the perfect hostess at this time in your life. If people want to help, let them. But if they're hungry or want a meal, recommend a local restaurant.

Do you insist on using cloth diapers and laundering them yourself?

While your concerns about chemicals and dyes are valid, cloth diapers aren't a necessity, unless your child has had an allergic reaction to disposables. Otherwise, as long as your baby is clean and dry, you can step away from the changing table.

Are you making all the baby's meals from scratch using fresh, organic ingredients, and serving yourself and the rest of your family microwave pizzas and ramen noodles?

If you enjoy all that cooking and find it relaxing, then keep it up, but if it's adding stress to your life, try to rebalance things a bit. Many healthy babies have been raised on store-bought baby food. As long as you make nutritious food choices for your entire family, everyone should grow up big and strong.

Do you enlist the help of family, friends or a babysitter so you can take some time to read a trashy novel or surf the Internet for celebrity news?

Of course you feel guilty taking time for yourself -- that's part of being a mom! But in the long run, giving yourself a chance to relax and recharge will pay dividends for the entire family, in the form of a less-stressed you.

Are you obsessed with designing and sewing all of your baby's clothes, because that's what your mom (or mom-in-law) used to do?

If you're doing this for fun or to maintain a connection with your own childhood, that's great. But if you're tiring yourself out trying to live up to a standard set by a previous generation, perhaps a visit to the mall is in order, or maybe a local thrift store.

Do you accept your spouse's offer to do the dishes, even though you know you're the only one who can load the dishwasher properly?

If you're lucky enough to have a spouse who offers help, take it! New moms need all the help they can get. Try to curb your tendency toward perfectionism and let your spouse pitch in -- even though you may be scraping bits of food off the washed dishes the next day.

Do you give up time you could use for sleep to read to the baby in a foreign language, to give your offspring an edge in becoming bilingual?

If activities like this serve as bonding time between you and your little one, there's no harm in them. But there's no need to begin prepping your kids for academic excellence when they can't even feed themselves yet. Your sleep is probably more important at this stage than worrying about your baby's foreign language skills or ability to compose a sonata.

When the baby takes a nap, do you grab some shut-eye as well?

Sure, it's much easier said than done, but this often-repeated advice is essentially sound. It's a great idea to perfect the skill of napping briefly at the drop of a hat -- or the drop of a rattle, as the case may be.

Are you constantly scrubbing the floors to eliminate any trace of germs that might make the baby sick?

Of course a clean environment is important for your baby, but you don't need to obsess over it. Do your best to keep things clean, but remember you're not living in a hospital operating room -- your child will survive contact with a few germs every now and then.

Is spending regular one-on-one time with your spouse a priority?

It may seem impossible to take time and energy away from the baby's needs, but your spouse needs you, too. A strong relationship between parents will be a good thing for your baby as he or she grows up -- and it's important to devote some attention to the person who helped you become a new mom in the first place.

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