It seems a bit strange writing a post advising others on how to cope with motherhood when some days I feel like I’m drowning under all the pressures to be the best mum I can without losing myself along the way but I’ve definitely come a long way in the last 10 months.
In the beginning the biggest thing that shocked me about being a mother, apart from the lack of sleep and the human leech attached to my chest, was the fact that I went from being totally independent and being able to do whatever I wanted to, to having to schedule bathroom breaks and mentally prepare for moving myself and baby downstairs for the day.
Gradually things do get easier and you adapt to a new way of doing things. I went from having to pack an entire baby bag with everything I could possibly think of to take with us if we ever went out to now just having a little pram organiser with both mine and Adam’s things in it. I can even manage a cheeky shower or bath while Adam sleeps and I’m finally back to cooking us hot meals much to my husband’s delight!
The first thing I would say is ACCEPT THE HELP!! Naively I flounced around in pregnancy thinking I was going to be super-bloody-mum and that I’d be able to do everything all by myself whilst keeping a tiny human alive. Oh how wrong I was! When you’re aching from the physical trauma of child birth and all you want to do is lay your head down and let your body recover, the sound of a screeching newborn wanting to constantly feed is not what you want to hear. I started off telling my mum that I’d be absolutely fine to begging her to come and stay so I could have a hot bath and home cooked meal, so if somebody offers to cook you a meal or enjoy some newborn cuddles while you take a nap just let them!
This sort of extends to my next point which is to make time for you. My husband has offered on numerous occasions to watch our little boy while I just pop out for a walk or to grab a cup of coffee but I always make excuses for not going. Do as I say and not as I do and take the time to be you, not the mummy you but just you because if you’re like me there will be the odd occasions when you really long for those carefree baby free moments.
Make sure that for at least 10 minutes a day you are doing something that you would normally have done which doesn’t include doing the laundry or washing the dishes. I used to love reading but when I had Adam I’d be lucky if I had 2 minutes to go to the bathroom without a screaming baby let alone the time to get lost in a good book but I’ve found some ways to fit in a bit of reading time around all the joys of motherhood. Sometimes I will read a book on my phone while nursing Adam to sleep or while he naps. Or I will pop my headphones in and listen to an audio book while doing some writing. Try and find that one thing you enjoyed before becoming a mother and indulge in it every now and then without feeling guilty about it.
Try and remember that once you have a baby this doesn’t totally mark the end of your life as you knew it before. Before becoming a mummy I would enjoy taking my book and finding a cosy corner in a cafe to read whilst nursing a steaming hot mug of coffee or taking my laptop with me and doing some writing while having lunch. I can still do that now that Adam is a bit older however there is no book in my hand or laptop and instead of a hot steaming mug I have a half drunk mug of a cold decaf but none of that matters because I now have my little best friend with me who grapples with me for my tuna panini and literally go everywhere with me. If like me you’re blessed with a child who will instantly nod off in the car then wrap your little one up and strap them into the car, take a little drive and once they’ve nodded off you can stop by a cafe and grab a quick coffee to go. I’ve had a few days of resorting to this method when I just needed a minute to myself and lets just say Mcdonalds drive through Toffee Nut lattes are my new favourite guilty pleasure. Top it with a good book or podcast on my phone and I can very quickly recharge, leaving me ready to tackle the rest of the day.
I hope some of these tips have helped some of you new mummies out there and if anybody has any more tips for keeping sane with a baby please do let me know in the comments below!