I have been told time and time again that life comes to a standstill once a baby arrives. Things are never really the same but frankly I have enjoyed my time off – a concept I had no idea existed or thought I’d ever need. Although making time for yourself while being a parent is a constant battle of balance, there are a few things I have learnt during my little stint with motherhood.
- Ditch the guilt. A happy woman is a happy mother. Most of us are always ridden with guilt about not being there for our children all the time. Remember that is it highly beneficial for your baby to have a happy, stress-free and calm parent more than seeing a parent who is always around. I know guilt is specially true for some working parents. If you are guilty about being at work, you are telling your child that family judges you for what you wish to do with your time and your life. If you want to teach them to support their future families unconditionally, expect it for yourself first.
- Let friends and family help. Trust that someone else will take care of your baby. If your baby is not used to being with them, be smart about it by sending the toys your baby loves or organising trips to the mall or the park with friends/family members so that the baby is not too focussed on missing you and has more interesting things to do.
- Trade offs. We all want to feed each meal to the baby ourself and put them to sleep singing them lullabies like they teach us good mothers should do. But what if you chose to read the new bestseller instead? Make the trade-offs that count and matter to you.
- Don’t try to be always perfect. If you baby is making a mess with a yogurt and spoon, as Sam is doing right this moment – ignore. It is easier for me to clean up, than spend the next one hour trying to refrain him for making the mess and feeding him myself. It is ok.
- Routine. I always insist on a routine for the babies simply because you can plan your life around it, or the routine around your life, it works both ways.
- Have fun. Genuinely have fun with your baby. Instead of trying to have fun doing the routine baby things, try to involve your baby in the things you genuinely enjoy. R is a fan of sports and Sam and him bond beautifully over playing ball or learning tennis.
- Working parent tip. I understand that when there is limited time at hand, things get complicated. You feel like you have to catch up on everything in the few hours you have and make up for lost time. Children are sensitive to your need to rush things with them. So what if your child does not learn to brush his teeth properly in 1 week and it takes 2 weeks instead? In the long run the child models your behaviour – so chose wisely what is more important – the ability to listen patiently at how your child spent his day or more sparkly teeth?