Some people are calmer than others by nature, of course, but everything changes in your life and all of your normal routines go out the window, when you have a baby that suddenly requires your attention around the clock, so even the naturally calm will find themselves feeling the stress in the pit of their stomach, as well as wonder how on Earth they will get it all done while being good parents at the same time.
So don’t, I say…. don’t get it all done! For those who know me, you will know that I most definitely took my own advice when my kids were babies, and still do now that they’re nearly 7! I don’t stress, I just make sure the most important things are always done (like make sure the kids and their clothes are clean, that they’re fed, watered, get their sleep and go to school on time… anything else is pretty much on a list of priorities and if I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it, no big deal! And guess what, because I never stress about it, most of the other things on the list get done as well.
So how can you make your life a little bit easier and make them flow a little more smoothly? This is one of life’s perennial questions, of course, and one I won’t claim to have the final answer to. What I will do, is offer some suggestions on how you could give yourselves a better foundation every day to stay calm and collected, get it all done and still be the best parent you can be. These are some of things I did to stay calm and sane when my kids were babies and today when they’re 6 years old.
PLAN PLAN PLAN
The most important thing you can do is plan ahead. Plan everything… and make lists. Stress comes when things take you by surprise and the simplest tasks take twice as long or more when you’re stressed.
PUT YOUR CLOTHES OUT BEFORE BEDTIME
Make it part your daily routine to check the next day’s and the next week’s schedule before you go to bed, this could include checking the weather forecast and choosing yours and your baby’s clothes for the next day. Nothing throws a spanner in the works quite like running around half dressed looking for your wellington boots and a replacement for the sweater that goes with your outfit as the one you normally wear with it hasn’t been washed… all the while your baby is crying, of course, waiting for a nappy change and a set of clean clothes. ARGH… it makes you stressed just thinking about it!
GO EASY ON THE CLEANING
I’m not exactly suggesting that you should let your home become a pigsty, obviously, but I do suggest you lower your standards and stick to only daily cleaning the rooms where your baby spend his or her time and to not caring so much that the guest room hasn’t been vacuumed since it’s last guest… how dirty does it really get in there anyway? And if someone comes to stay over, you know what, they won’t mind running over it to help you, they will understand that you haven’t had the time.
SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS
You’ve probably heard that before… but that’s because this can’t be said enough times! The baby will sleep a lot in the beginning, too much even for you, probably. But you have to set time aside to sleep because you can only take good care of your baby if your basic meets are also being met and what is more basic than the need to sleep? Make sure you get enough!
DON’T LET IT GO TOO FAR
Remember, when you are stressed, your baby feels it and becomes stressed and unhappy too. And there is nothing that makes a mother more stressed than an unhappy baby so if you’re not on top of it, the situation will spiral out of control and go too far.