A family hold hands, while paddling in the sea

6 Tips For Handling Feeling Overwhelmed As A New Parent

Feeling overwhelmed as a new parent? We are joined by Nikki, The Scottish Soul Sister. Nikki is a coach and speaker who supports maternal mental health with simple, sustainable self-care. Read on as she shares her tips for new parents.


Whether you are a birth Mother, a Father, a foster parent, an adoptive parent, a step-parent, parenthood is an exciting new step in your journey!

It can be hard to verbalise the emotions that come along with looking after this new addition to the family and it can be a rollercoaster.

I know, I am on the parenting train too. My son is now six years old and I still find myself in awe of how much love I feel for this little dude (which at times has him squirming away from me as I try to snuggle him and sniff his wee head like I did when he was a baby). Navigating this new chapter, whilst amazing, can throw a bit of overwhelm into the mix.

Expectations of ourselves as new parents (along with expectations of others and the roles they play) will shift the dynamics within your household. There’s less focus on yourself as you immerse fully into caring for your new baby. And let’s not even go there about the huge amounts of ways you can compare yourself with others online. It can all contribute to feeling overwhelmed as a new parent.

A close up of cute baby toes

So, How Do You Manage Feeling Overwhelmed As A New Parent?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you. No sugar coating. No scaremongering! Just some tried and tested tips and tools to accompany you on your parenting journey.

All of these are based on the really cool concept that we each have six human needs: certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution.

Being aware of these helps to build a foundation that supports our wellbeing not only on a daily basis but particularly during a big life change such as becoming a parent.

So here we go: Here are the main pillars to help manage that bubbling overwhelmed feeling as a new parent.

1. Certainty

Get organised. Together as a family create a schedule every week to manage the day-to-day tasks. Discussing the expectations of who does what and exploring if external resources can be utilised for a while, to assist with perhaps cleaning and/or cooking?

Create meal plans or order some if feasible and clear some of that brain space that gets taken up with the daily question ‘What do you want for dinner?’ Arrgghhhh!

2. Variety

Being a new parent can feel a little isolating and often comes with other significant changes such as perhaps no longer working or shifts in your routines. Look at this as an opportunity to explore new routines, meet new people perhaps by attending some group activities in the area.

Be aware of falling into the trap of ‘bouncing back’ to your pre-baby life, instead consider opening your arms and welcoming a little evolving instead.

3. Significance

As I said above, if you are no longer working or taking art in previous activities you may feel less significant. Friends and family may have shifted some of their attention from you to the cutie-patootie you have introduced into their lives.

Aim to ensure you feel heard and seen by keeping communication open with your loved ones. If this feels challenging then reach out to a coach, therapist or counsellor to have a safe space to share how you are feeling (IMHO, we need to normalise having these people in our lives the way we do hairdressers, doctors and dentists).

A mum feeds her baby, sitting on a bed

4. Love And Connection

As a new parent you will often read about ‘date night’ and maintaining connections with your partner and whilst I agree with this I would like to suggest that, as well as focusing on loving and connecting with others, you love and connect with yourself.

Engaging in a little personal development and making sure your days are peppered with the things that bring you energy and joy will assist in you having the capacity to share yourself with others.

This goes for dads too! All you couples out there must remember this is not a competition about who does the most, who is the most tired or any of the other sneaky little narratives that can wiggle their way in. You guys are a team.

5. Growth

As you busy yourself looking after your new gang member, please be aware of stimulating your own brain.

Being a parent is emotionally and physically challenging but not so much academically. It can be easy to be so focused on meeting the needs of your baby that you no longer read, listen to music or podcasts you enjoy, study or challenge your brain. But it is a great idea for you to do it. Even if it is for 10 minutes a day, use that grey matter!

6. Contribution

This one you pretty much have in the bag. You are raising another human. Contributing to mankind: job done!

However, should you feel this need is not being met by all means go ahead and do some volunteering, donate to something worthy or even share a skillset with someone (if you are a whizz on social media for example, give a mate a few pointers for their small business).

A women hold hands with a toddler as they walk on a beach

Nikki – The Scottish Soul Sister

So, my lovely new friend, I hope that this helps you to understand that just like a jigsaw takes lots of small pieces to create a full picture. This list is not exhaustive. There are so many ways in which to navigate feelings of overwhelm. We too require lots of small pieces to meet our own needs as we parent. This is not about removing the challenges, it is about having a toolkit we can rely on to help us navigate those times.

Be kind to yourself, you do not need to resist feeling those emotions, go with it, we are so often bombarded with statements like ‘just think positively’ and ‘be grateful for what you have’ that we are diminishing the fact that all of our emotions are telling us something, instead of being fearful about them, get curious about them and you may realise that you simply have a need that is not being met and needs a little boost.

Nikki, The Scottish Soul Sister, is a Coach and Speaker supporting Maternal Mental Health with Simple, Sustainable Self-care. Read more tips on her website.

A photo of Nikki, Scottish Soul Sister, our guest expert who wrote this blog

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Guest Author

Guest Author

This blog was written by a guest author. That means it was either created by an industry expert, medical professional, or someone from within the parenting community. You will be able to find out more information about them within the blog. Thank you so much for popping in to give it your support!