This post is a bit of a different one. I actually wrote it before reading this post on pulling up the drawbridge post-birth, but I think what I’m talking about here is very similar. It’s about slowing down, taking time and enjoying being a mama.
I like the house to be clean and tidy, not to an anal level but it makes it a nice place to be which is so important when you spend your days at home. But what I didnt realise was how much I would enjoy slowing down once baby arrived.
Although I still like things clean and tidy, there’s a jumperoo that has pride of place in our living room, a basket of toys, and I think these things symbolise how I have changed as I’ve become a mum. I am just less bothered about the little things I think.
The first few weeks after having Eric I felt like I needed to get out. I didn’t realise that it would get easier, that his feeds would space out, that my supply would even out and expressing wouldn’t be so stressful and worrying, or that he would get into a gentle routine. I thought if I didn’t leave the house then I never would be able to.
I wish now that I had just hunkered down for the first six weeks and just gone out at weekends when I had reinforcements! Instead I ran around going for coffees, going on a baby massage course…all extremely sleep deprived and with a baby that was feeding every hour in the day.
I beat myself up if friends wanted to meet at 9:30 and I found it hard to make it there with baby and I dressed for the day. Eric was still really erratic with what times he would wake up in the morning so it felt impossibly to predict when I would be able to leave the house.
Now we have got into a slow routine. Instead of doing what all the baby books say and starting our day at 7, we start our day at 9 when he wakes up. He usually has one feed before that at about 4am, then sleeps in til 9.
I could use that time to do a million things- shower, work out, make an elaborate breakfast. Instead, I go back to sleep with him. We snooze away happily til 9, then I get him up, change his nappy and get him dressed. Then he has his milk, I go in the shower, get dressed and we start our day. That means we are generally ready to go at 10 if we do things at a leisurely pace.
Instead of thinking that sounds like a ridiculously late time to be ready, I just enjoy the fact that we can sleep in. There’s no older child who needs entertaining, there’s no work or nursery to get to on time. Our days are our own and it won’t be like that forever. You only get this chance once, because once you have a second child it’s a different ball game.
Rather than trying to rattle through a to do list every day, I make a list of things to do in the week and then try to work through it. Some of it I will end up doing on the weekend so I don’t have to drag Eric around with me on those tasks. Other things I can do easily with him in tow.
Some things aren’t so easy, but he still comes with me. It’s a balance, and I try to time things right so that outings fit with his awake and nap times so that I avoid him having little meltdowns, and facilitate him sleeping when he needs to.
I don’t want to be running around and interfering with what he needs to do, for example short car journies will mean he falls asleep then wakes up then falls asleep again which doesn’t make for a solid nap and leads to him being grouchy.
So I have slowed down. I do one thing a day rather than running around all over the place. I know we could do more, we could push ourselves to be running all over the place doing things, but it’s not necessary. Sometimes all we do in a day is a session on the playmat, a walk with him in the pram, some tummy time, read a book and have a bath. Our days are broken up by 5 feeds, meaning 4 feeds in the daytime really, three naps.
I love it and couldn’t be happier. I said to a friend who is expecting a baby that being at home with him is like getting to hang out with your favourite person, who you’re obsessed with, all of the time. I love spending every minute of every day with my little man.
Yes I need a break sometimes and yes I have amazing support from my husband and family, but the fact is that when my baby goes to sleep at night I don’t race back down the stairs to be away from him, I sit next to him to make sure he is sleeping soundly. Because I know that in not many months he will no longer be in our room, and all too soon he will be in his own room, at school, a teenager…they just grow up so fast and I want to savour every moment.
So yes I am slowing down.
I am doing less, completing fewer tasks, getting less done and being less busy. But in the grand scheme of things I am doing so much more, because I am raising my son, and what could be more important than that?