How To…

…Stay Sane!

Sometimes life just feels like its on a constant mission to make you crazy and I think things are particularly mental just after you’ve had a child, whether it’s your first, second, third, fourth…(if it is your fourth then you’re actually legitimately insane and you either don’t really, or really do, need to read this article) the adjustment is always huge and things can take a long time to settle.

I have a couple of things I need to do to stay sane, but mostly I’m not that great at doing them, so I thought I’d write it all down…

  1. Self-love! Trying not to make crass jokes about masturbation here, but if that is the thing you do to (quite literally) love yourself then do it (after your stitches have healed). I like to knit. For me. For myself. I have knitted one or two things for my child but honestly I’m only really interested in knitting clothes for myself. So sue me, I’m loving myself with yarn baby!
  2. Meditation! I am a meditation pusher. My mother is a Vitamin C pusher – if there is anything wrong with you from a common cold to a phobia of lemons, she will tell you that Vitamin C will solve it. I’m the same with meditation. People always tell me that they’ve tried it and they didn’t think they were any good at it. Well what did you last try that you were good at the first, second or even third time? People who hate running do the couch to 5k challenge all the time and it’s hard but its good for them and eventually they become a habitual runner. Meditation is just the same. I use apps or I look up meditations on YouTube and I always feel at least five times better than I did before. End. Of. Speech.
  3. Medication! Granted this isn’t for everyone. I have depression so I HAVE to take it. Although not everyone with depression does but I keep doing this really annoying thing where I decide I don’t need medication any more and come off it, then chaos ensues and it never takes long before I’m back on. Now I’m a mother I can’t afford to do that (I did – chaos ensued), so medication is a key ingredient of the sanity cocktail I’ve invented (along with gin, obviously).
  4. Getting Out! If you don’t have a child promise me you’ll do one thing? Next time you leave your house just take a moment to relish picking up your bag or keys and just gleefully stepping over your threshold and out into the world mere seconds later. Once you have children THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. It takes at least two hours to get out of the house these days, there’s just so much detritus that I need to take with me! Including a baby! But my son wants to be out, staring down strangers to the point when they say things like “it’s like he knows what you’re thinking, isn’t it?” followed by nervous laughter. So we spend much time out the house. Sometimes I just get in the car and drive, no idea where we’re going but we always end up where we’re supposed to be. It is hard and you won’t feel like it because you’re exhausted and you haven’t had a shower in five days, but dry shampoo the crap out of life and get out and about, it will make everything so much better!
  5. Eating Well! Before you think I’ve turned into one of those “insta mums” who puts on freshly ironed pyjamas, a full face of makeup and cuddles a neutral-coloured bowl full of fruit and flaxseed, while my husband takes a picture of me not actually looking at the camera and post it with the caption “Morning lovelies! I just love these sunny mornings where I can tuck into a healthy brekkie while my baby sleeps until 10:30am. #perfectlife #valenciafilter #dontyoujusthateme”. Because to me eating well doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthily. It means finding a balance between crying and frantically shoving cake and cheese into your mouth when your child FINALLY sleeps, and only eating salads and porridge oats because you’re trying to lose baby weight while also keeping your child alive with your own body by breastfeeding. For me, eating well has become about compromise – salad is good for your body, but cake is good for your soul. Eat both.

Douglas feels a different way about eating well, he thinks it means you have to wear food like facial hair…I mean, he’s not wrong.

Douglas food

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How To…

…Mum.

LOLS! As if I could write a blog about how to be a mum! I’ve no idea! I’m completely winging it. I haven’t brushed my hair or my teeth, or changed my hair from the “mum bun” it’s been in all night and it’s 2pm! But my baby is happy and healthy and (mostly) clean so as far as I’m concerned, I’m completely bossing this motherhood lark. High fives, no, BIG TENS to me!

I can write about what motherhood has taught me so far.

  1. I suck at being nice to myself. This is a big one. I’ve known for a while how bad I am at being nice to myself and I wrote about that in my pregnancy blogs but motherhood has magnified this problem. I’ve taken to writing down all the things I’ve achieved in a day just before I go to sleep so that I can go to sleep. So that I don’t lie awake beating myself up for not making the best of the day, or not doing that pile of washing, or not spending enough time outside, or enough time inside, etc, etc, etc… I have to remind myself all the time that if I’ve kept a small human being alive, then it’s been a truly great and successful day. The good news is, I’m getting better and better at this.
  2. Childbirth is extremely hard. But not harder than you can handle. Just going to leave that there.
  3. Mothers being discriminated against in the workplace baffles me. As far as I can tell motherhood teaches you time management skills, conflict management skills, first aid, communication skills, multitasking, being flexible and adaptable, problem solving, prioritising, team work, organisation, initiative, self-discipline, people management, skills, skills, SKILLS. If a woman has taken a couple of years out of conventional work to raise her children, employers should be welcoming them back to the workforce with open arms. And balloons. And champagne. And a big fat sign that says thank you so much for bringing your incredible skills to this company, no job is harder than keeping a child alive and bringing it up to be a good person so you’re very over-qualified for this probably quite bog-standard role.
  4. Your body might never be the same again. And people will try and tell you that you shouldn’t care because one look at your baby makes every stretch mark and stone gained (and stitch) completely worth while. This is and isn’t true. It is worth it but looking at your baby’s smile isn’t going to make you feel instantly better about your completely new figure, so don’t feel bad if you’re looking at your child, then back to the mirror, and not immediately thinking totally worth it. Give it time. Things will get better.
  5. Do one thing a day. Only one. At the start I thought that Douglas (that’s my son, my son Douglas) and I could go to the supermarket and pick up something from the post office depot, and go to mama and baby yoga, all in one day. Nope. Bad idea. Sure fire way of running yourself further into the ground you’re already lying on because of severe sleep deprivation. If you’ve got yoga, do yoga and then come home, put the telly on, cuddle your little one, change their nappy and wonder what time it’s okay to have a glass of sherry. The supermarket can wait until tomorrow. The package will still be at the depot on Friday (unless you’ve left it there for three weeks, don’t leave it there for three weeks).

So that’s me! My first blog since having a baby. Apologies it’s taken so long. I’m also doing a Master’s at the moment so if I’m not breastfeeding or cleaning orange-coloured shit off tiny clothes, I’m doing that. And knitting. Always knitting.

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