If you are pregnant and not far from due day, you are preparing all the baby things you will need. I implore you to add yourself to the list. What are you going to need well after baby comes and life settles into its usual rhythms?
As mums we often forget to put ourselves on that list, but it's high time to flick the switch and put us at the top. We need to look after ourselves so we can recharge for those long nights of no sleep.
Here are some helpful hints to help you get ME time when there seems like there are not enough hours in the day.
Prepare your significant other
Sit down with your loved one and talk through what you will have to endure when baby comes. Give them helpful tips on how they can help. Men especially can struggle to know how to best support you, (some men) and it helps by talking this through, making a plan, and putting it out there on the table that you're going to need them.
- Issuing them the early morning feed so you can sleep off the past 12 hours before they go to work. Even if it's Saturday and Sunday that you get a few hours of blissful sleep-in time.
- Having a night off - Preparing bottles of breastmilk or formula, put partner on duty for Saturday night so you can get a full night's shut-eye in another room.
- The partner’s duty at the end of the night is to do a lounge sweep, picking up all the toys; books; and miscellaneous. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a clean house, and the reverse is true: An unorganised house promotes bad moods!
Preparing your wider family/ friends
Pre-book time out. When you are a new mum, weeks fly by and days merge together because you are so tired. Organise family and friends to help babysit.
- Once a month coffee date escapes with a friend. They probably have busy lives too, so schedule that for 10AM on the first Saturday of every month. It’ll be locked in and waiting for you!
- Self-care: Book yourself a massage and have a friend look after baby.
- Schedule an afternoon walk in the bush to escape the four walls of your house.
- Have a friend who is an amazing cleaner or organiser. Ask them to come over when baby is 8 weeks to help re-sort your house out. Some of us struggle with organisation and changing up your interior can do wonders.
- Ask family members to help by preparing a meal once or twice a month. Even if it goes to your freezer, trust, that there will be a day or two in the mix where an already prepared meal saves your sanity.
Take the moments
If you go back to work, time for you can be far and few between. Take little moments for yourself. These might seem small, but the snowball effect is immense.
- If you have booked your bub into childcare, start them an hour earlier so you can go to the gym a few days a week.
- There is nothing wrong with going to bed early. If you need to catch up on sleep then do it! Your body knows when it's recharge time.
- At night, take time out for yourself. It can be overwhelming sometimes to be at everyone’s beck and call. Find a room or corner to chill out in where no one is touching you (for when you get touched out).
- Get yourself a massage gun! These are great for getting out those knots in your back. Grab your partner to administer. Key – Put on the Rugby or a movie and sit down in front of them. They will forget they're doing it for at least 45 min if the entertainment is something they can dig into.
- Middle of night bath nights. Sometimes you cannot get back to sleep after baby has woken. Instead of laying in bed waiting, grab a bath or a shower, light some candles, and put on some soft relaxing music for a while.
After a long day and night with your child, usually, the last thing you want to do is make dinner.
Here are some tips to get around it:
- Buy a large freezer if you can. There will be nights when the last thing you want to do is cook for the family. Get into the habit of precooking meals on a Sunday, (before baby comes if possible). Get a stockade of stews, lasagnes, stir-fry’s, and quiches up your sleeves.
- Plan out your dinners every week: Tacos on Monday, stir-fry Tuesdays, lamb and roast veggie on Wednesday, etc. Take out all the guesswork, it saves time and the 5’o’clock stress out. Everyone loves Friday pizza nights. If you have older children, they can be in charge of that one night a week. It can also be a great way to fit in bonding time together.
Every family is going to be different on what they prioritise and can adapt into the daily grind, but these seemingly small titbits accumulate into your overall well-being. It’s about creating the environment that’s best going to support you; bubba; your partner; and those you call family, to get through the rougher patches of your journey without being worse for wear!