Wednesday, December 2, 2015


It might not be the most popular or easiest thing to admit, but when my daughter was born, it felt like I had been run over by a herd of rampaging cows, followed by a fleet of steamrollers. I am not talking about the exhaustion that comes from being woken up every two hours to breast feed, or even the aftershocks of the birth itself. Rather, that feeling of having lost every part of your previous identity, your freedom to wash at a relaxed pace, go to the toilet, pop to the corner shop, share the responsibility of feeding and nourishing a new life. I expected my life to change. I felt the 'rush' of unwavering love. But I also sat up for hours on end, unable to sleep, as whenever I managed to close my eyes, my bundle of joy would wake up and it would all start again.

My lovely daughter has always been hard work; all babies are different and mine was the variety that only slept on us, when she slept at all; had problems feeding, and took an age to finish nursing, to the point that when she did sometimes finish, she was hungry again within 15 minutes. She didn't like being held or near anyone but us. She didn't like the heat in summer. She didn't like being in new places. I think the adjective we found for her was 'sensitive'. At 6 months I have a whole bunch more, and before you get too worried, she is slowly helping us to return to normality. So from somebody who had to go to the toilet, while holding a sleeping infant on more than one occasion, I thought I'd let you know 5 ways in which I regained a sense of 'me' and 'time to myself'.

These ideas of course apply to everyone who feels that they are so busy that they can barely allow themselves more than a 4 minute shower, not just mummys.

1. Every time the baby sleeps do something for yourself FIRST. When our darling mini Craftbot heads to bed now, even if just for an impossibly short nap, I do NOT reach for the housework, ironing, or even think about emptying the dishwasher. I boil the kettle, do a quick bottle wash and sit down with a cup of tea, a snack or lunch, and I read a magazine, catch up on some TV or do some crafting. Once the tea is over, if there is time left over, I might chuck on a wash or think about what is for dinner, but mostly I utilise the time to switch off. Housework (or a form of it) can take place when there are two hands on deck at the weekend. If you have a child or baby that actually allows you to sleep at the same time, then by all means do that too.

2. Pamper yourself. Be it making sure your toe nails are looking tip top in the latest shade or polish, chucking on some concealer and mascara to make you feel more awake, or massaging in a conditioning treatment, it is massively important to treat yourself once in a while. I don't bother with make-up around the house, but I like my tootsies to have a fresh pedicure every couple of weeks (and by pedicure, polish off, trim, polish on). For those people who manage to put on a full face of make-up every day. Good for you and congratulations on having incredibly patient kids!

3. Shower. Until recently I managed this with the Minibot by laying out her play jungle on some towels on the floor and nipping in the shower, while talking to her. This cunning plan has since been foiled by her need for me to be with her ALL.OF.THE.TIME. at the moment, so I am back to what we did when she was a newborn: showering the minute my husband arrives home from work. Nobody quite believes you when you say it is hard to find time to wash, or how fantastic that feeling is to be detached from your little human under some warm, running water-but it's true!

4. Have one hour a week where you go out and do something. This was actually almost a rule of my home visitor. At first it was her after-birth exercise class, which we get to do in Germany for a few weeks to help the important tummy and pelvic floor muscles to bounce back. Now, I have joined a choir. It is very important that you pick something out of the house, so that you can 100% switch off and see real people in real life. If it's your job giving you time problems, this is even more important. We work to live and not the other way around.

5. Light a scented candle and breath. Candles are my new chocolate. Thanks to my pre-diabetes diagnosis (read more about that here), I have had to be increasingly creative with my treats. When I was in New York for my honeymoon last Christmas I picked up a couple of candles in Bath and Body Works (one being 'Leaves'.....oh I wish someone would send me another one of those...anyone?). Lighting it makes me think of the wonderful, romantic time we had, AND it just smells like Autumn. More importantly, it doesn't smell of poop, or puke, or stale milk....If you really need to switch off, just stare at the flame and concentrate on nothing else for a few minutes. Even the hubbie tried doing this and like it!

How do you switch off when you have a spare 5 minutes? I know some people who relax by cleaning - are you one of those? If you are, I envy you! Leave a comment on here, or tweet me your relaxation tips. I look forward to reading all of your ideas, in my next 'down' time.


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