New parents amongst us will vouch that those first few months with a brand, spanking new little ‘sleep thief’ are nothing more than a bid for survival. Despite all the wonder and joy of finally meeting and getting to know your baby, in the beginning it can be a never-ending cycle of feeding, crying (you and the baby), rocking (ditto), all manner of bodily secretions (again, mother and baby) and not much getting dressed, bathing or constructing full sentences in between. But then a few weeks (or months) down the line, in a bleary haze, you see there’s a twinkle of hope. The crazy gets a little less crazy, and maybe, just maybe, you realise, you might be doing ok at this parenting thing*. Here are a few reassuring signs you’re on the right path.
You finally leave the house with make-up on
It’s a day like any other and baby’s gone down for that ‘ahhhhhh’ morning nap. All essential chores are completed before you have to wake her up again to drag her out to baby massage or baby sensory or some such thing. But this time you find you have a spare five minutes to kill. ‘Hey’ you think to yourself ‘I might stick on a bit of lippy today, and – why not? let’s go mad – how about some mascara and bronzer too?’ Before you know it you’re heading out with a full face of slap on and glancing in the mirror going… ‘Wooooah! Hold the phone…check me out, I Am Gorgeous! Hubby’s in for a treat tonight’ winking at your reflection and giving a little hip wiggle just for good measure. (At this point, it’s best not to reflect on how dog tired you looked before said transformation).
The mysterious Amazon Prime packages stop appearing
You know the ones, the desperate purchases blearily made at 2am, in an attempt to get baby to sleep and SAVE YOUR SANITY! In the early days, a parade of multitudinous shaped brown boxes, housing the likes of white noise machines, dummies, musical sea horses, colic remedies, and countless books on sleep training your precious bundle, come knocking at your door (most notably following a particularly heinous night’s sleep, or lack thereof). None of which seem to make a jot of difference in aiding baby’s slumber. Thankfully for your bank balance, once you stumble out of the newborn period, perspective is restored and these erratic purchases dwindle considerably. (That is, until you start your baby on solids and suddenly you are duped into buying all manner of unnecessary items to enable you to put food into your baby’s mouth).
Your boobs no longer spring a leak if you hear so much as a dog whimper
If you’re breastfeeding your little bambino you’ll know in the early days how ridiculously sensitive those mammories can get. Nights wearing a fully reinforced maternity bra complete with breast pads, plus boobs slathered in lanolin nipple cream, are standard bedroom attire else you cause a veritable tsunami all over your nightie, your bed linen, and your husband too for good measure, at the merest sniffle from your baby in the Moses basket next to you.
It’s no longer a toss up between cleaning your teeth and getting dressed when your baby finally goes down for a nap
Miracle on miracle you have time to do both!
You actually look forward to a nice home cooked meal rather than a takeaway
Pre baby, admit it – you secretly couldn’t wait for that watertight excuse to have endless takeaways and veg out in front of the tele with a nice bit of naughty chow and no washing up to do, weren’t you? But these days you relish having half an hour to yourself and the wherewithal to prepare a lovingly made dish that doesn’t contain ghee or MSG. Or to be honest, even just being able to boil an egg with beans and toast would be an amazing culinary achievement.
Sometimes you leave the house wearing an outfit that isn’t covered in sick/poo/snot *delete as appropriate
That Unidentifiable Sick Smell (USS) has finally disappeared
You know the one. The curdled, milky smell that follows you around. All day. You sniff your clothes, your baby and all surrounding furniture but it’s impossible to locate where the offending pong is coming from. Maybe I imagined it? Yes, I’m sure that’s it, the lingering odour must be permanently stuck to my nasal hairs. There is no sick I’ve missed. Finally, at the end of the day your partner points out a big globule of matted, mucusy white stuff in your hair where you now remember your baby yacking up earlier that morning. Nice. Thankfully those days are becoming a distant memory.
Your evenings bear a fleeting glimpse to life without children
Well alright, I don’t mean you’re knocking back bottles of alcho-pops down the local bar and then off to boogie the night away in some cheesy club, rounded off by a late night kebab. But you do at least get to watch a whole episode of Death in Paradise and actually find out whodunit. Sometimes you even get the crazy notion that you might get a BABYSITTER in for the evening! And you wistfully imagine a romantic night out with your spouse, supping cocktails and gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. In reality, you’re down the local with half a pint, sharing a packet of nuts and comparing your baby’s developmental progress on Babycentre whilst simultaneously checking your phone for updates from the babysitter. At 9pm you yawn theatrically, saying ‘wow, what a crazy night. Best not leave the babysitter too long’.
You actually put on a load of washing that doesn’t consist solely of poo stained babygrows, sick covered sleepsuits and a few emergency pairs of your underpants and socks…
(…there comes a point when you really can’t just keep turning them inside out). Don’t kid yourself, ironing is not going to be on the agenda for years to come. But clean jeans and t-shirt to boot (for a morning at least) is frankly #I’mwinning!
You drink an entire cup of tea
That’s still warm(ish).
You finally have time to unpackage all those baby clothes you’ve been given as gifts
Only to discover they’re two sizes too small for your baby.
You get to read that novel you’ve been dying to read for ages
Ha! Who am I kidding? No, that isn’t gonna happen yet. But you do go as far as withdrawing a copy of it from the library and letting it gather dust on your bedside table for weeks. Until it’s well overdue and you defeatedly return it and pay £3.20 for the privilege of having said book and never getting chance to read it. *Sigh*
You find time to write a blog post about surviving the newborn period
*A big fat disclaimer. Every baby is a complete mystery unique. Results will vary. Some babies don’t play by the rules and once you think you’ve got it sussed, they turn everything on its head and regress in the sleeping, feeding or crying department, and thus it dawns on you that you haven’t got a Scooby what you’re doing. Case in point – Baby Girl has recently decided sleeping’s for wimps. And evenings have now returned to an endless cycle of rocking, shushing and patting. Time to cancel that babysitter. Sad face. Still, mustn’t forget the joy of toddlerhood is just around the corner….and I’m sure that’ll be a picnic!
The Mum Conundrum
pic: by Matt Molinari (cropped) , https://www.flickr.com/photos/picmatt/