‘One more week of freedom’ and ‘another few weeks before all hell breaks loose’. Those are the words of two of my friends who are expecting their second babies this month.
The thing about second babies is that you know what’s coming, unlike the first time round when ignorance is bliss.
That said, BB was three by the time Little B finally came along and I’d totally forgotten what it was like to have a newborn again. The first six months with both of them are a bit of a blur (and not because I drank too much wine).
On reflection there are a number of things I could and should have done to make things easier, so I’ve compiled a little list on how to survive the first six months of motherhood for my expectant friends (and surprisingly it doesn’t involve wine!)
1. Accept help. I was so intent on proving I could do it all in the early days that I didn’t accept help when it was offered, to Misery Guts’s exasperation. But then the grandparents go home, your other half goes back to work and you’re on your own, and then you really won’t get any help. So make the most of it.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know, I know, this is easier said than done, especially if you already have older siblings at home. Looking back I wish I’d climbed into bed, even for 20 minutes, when Little B was napping and BB was at nursery.
3. Don’t play the hostess. I know everyone’s visiting your house to meet the new baby, but remember you’re the one who’s just produced a human being and probably hasn’t slept for more than a few hours since. This is probably the only time you can legitimately sit on the sofa and issue commands, so make the most of it!
4. Make time for you. This is a hard one, but it is possible with a little pre-planning. I couldn’t wait to get back to running and swimming, which needed military-style planning between feeds when Misery Guts was home from work. If reading is your thing, try and factor in a 30-minute window when you can go into your bedroom, shut the door on everyone else and have half an hour with your book. Or do the same with a bath. Or if you used to enjoy going out to bingo with your friends, try out an online site like GameVillage bingo instead.
5. Fresh air. As well as being good exercise, there’s a lot to be said for blowing away the cobwebs with a good walk. It always seemed to stop mine crying, and probably stopped me from crying too!
6. Cake. My residing memory of maternity leave is coffee shops and cake. This is literally what got me through the day, and I shudder to think how many cups of tea and pieces of cake I got through while putting the world to rights with other knackered mothers.
So that’s the advice I’d give to my expectant friends. Is there anything you’d add? How did you survive the first six months of parenthood?
This post was written in collaboration with GameVillage Bingo.
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