I was reading the latest InStyle Magazine recently and editor, Kirsten Galliot, let us in on the 10 things she’s learnt whilst being in the top job for the last 20 months. It got me thinking about the 10 things I had learnt whilst being in the top job of ‘mother’ for the first 20 months (and lets face it, when you have a baby its like you’ve just been made CEO of a company you’ve never heard of and in an industry you’ve never worked in… and everyone expects you to instinctively know what to do to make it successful. Hilarious.). So here you go – my top 10 of what I have learnt so far…:
Don’t leave the house without…1) looking in the mirror! Try to give yourself some time to get dressed – properly! Your wardrobe style can become a little forgotten as you are more consumed by what the little bub has on (and making sure you get out of the house with all that extra stuff you suddenly need for them…!). Forgetting to get yourself completely dressed before you walk out the door means you’ll either have an embarrassing mishap (I once saw a Mum in the doctor’s waiting room with 2 different shoes on – no kidding!) or you might set yourself up for just not feeling great.
Don’t leave the house without…2) a spare nappy and wipes. Have a nappy change bag always ready to go – and have one in the car, in your shopping bag, and in your every day bag. Nothing worse then being out and knowing the smell coming from your baby’s nappy is also filling the whole room you’re in…
The magic of babywipes. There’s always some new ‘magic’ cleaning solution or sponge that claims to remove all types of stains but really, they should just market baby wipes. I’ve found them to get rid of almost anything when I needed it most. So, I always keep an extra small zip lock bag with 10 or so wipes in my handbag (because I don’t always have the nappy change bag at my side) – its useful for wiping hands, faces, clothes, car seats, removing felt pen from someone’s fabric chair before they notice…These things are like gold!
Learn to pick your battles. This is more once a child is past around 18 months but you’ll learn that some things just aren’t worth fighting over and a day can be long so you don’t want to spend all of it trying to control what your little one is doing.
Don’t leave the house without…3) snacks. My kids hit hunger like an avalanche! They go from zero to hero when it comes to hunger and patience isn’t a strong point. I try to always have healthy snacks ready to go, otherwise you’ll be throwing anything to the wolves to keep them quiet. Sultanas or Arrowroot biscuits always work a treat!
Have your post-maternity clothes wardrobe sorted. Just like your maternity clothes, have a core set of essential clothes that you can throw on quickly and know they will always look good. So many of our maternity essentials and tshirts and tops are designed to be worn during and post-bump – such as the maternity leggings, maternity stretch dresses, the ever-popular maternity jeans and so many of our maternity tops – they all will look just as good after baby as before. Don’t just take our word for it – see our Instagrammer’s #rockmamastyle for proof of maternity clothes looking just as good after baby!
Make sure ‘date night’ still exists. Plan a fortnightly dinner with your partner, preferably somewhere where they serve wine (and this could just be your own dining room!)
Good Babysitters are worth their weight in Gold. Ensure you have the contact numbers of a couple of reliable babysitters – these ‘angels’ are your saviour when you’ve had a tough week and need some time out! Keep a listen out for friends who mention good ones that you might be able to get the number of, or think outside the box and maybe a neighbour’s teenage daughter is looking for some extra pocket money and is perfect for sitting on your couch to ‘mind the kids’ whilst you’re out – it can work out well when you know they can not only call you if there’s a problem, they can call their own parents next door too! Or even better (and cheaper), if you have neighbours with similar age kids, start a ‘date night’ system where you babysit for each other. You’ll feel more at ease knowing your kids know the person who is in the house, in case they wake, and you can save the fee (or as I see it… spend more on that bottle of fine wine…)
Connect with your network of Mum’s, friends and family when you need it. Its easy to slip into a state of feeling overwhelmed, especially with lack of sleep, so advice and support from those who you trust is essential. And trust me, there will be so many things you get concerned with, or are not sure of. And don’t be shy to ask what everyone else is using with regards to the myriad of products on the market. Why waste your money on trying a dozen different water bottles when everyone you know has already done the research for you!
Stand back, pause and take a breath. Remember to stand back and pause when you’re training bubs something new – from using cutlery, to toilet training, to sleeping through the night even. It’s so easy to forget sometimes just how young they are and its easy to get frustrated at their inability to grasp the new task as quickly as you think they should. In the end they will learn and master pretty much everything they need to. Just cuddle them, know you will catch up on sleep/work/cooking/cleaning another time… and be patient. (: xox