Just over 4 weeks ago, we welcomed a little girl in to the world. Our first daughter and a sister for Max.
Olivia Grace Bragg.
We are all absolutely in love with her. Including the two-year-old, much to our relief.
You might be pleased to know I’m not going to share the gory birth story. Quite frankly, I don’t want to relive it (the day itself was enough for me!) and birth stories are not what my blog is about.
We’ve experienced dozens of glorious first moments – the time Max met his sister, when we brought Olivia home, watching Max cuddle and kiss the new baby, introducing her to both sets of grandparents and our friends…
But I won’t lie. Life in the past month has been a challenge.
In actual fact, it’s been bloody hard.
Anyone who has littles ones will know the drill. And anyone who hasn’t, will surely have heard friends with little ones complain. It goes something like this:
- I’m so tired. Do you know sleep deprivation is a form of torture?
- It’s really tough dealing with two year old tantrums. They are another form of torture.
- Postpartum days/weeks are frustrating. And no, I didn’t look anything like Kate Middleton when I left hospital. If only I’d had my own glam squad… Who am I kidding? It wouldn’t have made much difference.
- Mum guilt is truly awful. There’s guilt for paying less attention to your older child and guilt for forgetting the new baby is there. It’s a vicious circle.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we are renovating our house…
So add in to the mix, a kitchen extension that’s progressing at a glacial pace, a skip’s worth of dirt and dust in your house and squeezing your family (plus in-laws) in to just three rooms. Yes, I’d say it’s been a challenging month.
The reality of life today is that so many women share their experiences of early motherhood as idyllic. Some people present this time with glossy photos of everyone looking radiant and an emotional outpour of only positives. But I’m not about to sugarcoat the early days of motherhood.
Here are a few of my tips on the best ways to survive:-
- Plan, plan, plan. For a few weeks before the birth, I was busy bulk buying nappies and wipes so Ralph wouldn’t have to worry about rushing to our Sainsbury’s Local at 11pm when we ran out.
- Batch cooking meals has made life easy. It’s all too tempting to reach for the Dominos app but nothing beats having home-cooked meals.
- Time tends to disappear but getting outside for some fresh air every day, even if it’s just for a walk round the block, really does help. It’s such a lovely time of year with all the blossom, tulips and magnolia out.
- I hate to say it but sleeping when the baby sleeps is one of the best tips. I found it very difficult to sleep on demand last time but I think this just takes some good self-discipline. There’s a small window of opportunity (just an hour and a half) when both my little ones are asleep so I practically skip in to bed with happiness the second both of them are snoring.
- The first time round, we rushed in to inviting friends and family over which, as lovely as it is, can be exhausting. We’ve limited our catch ups the last few weeks to give ourselves some breathing space.
- Squeezing in some ‘me’ time has been hard but just 20 minutes in the bath or watching an episode of Sex and the City makes me feel refreshed. I’ve snuck off for a quiet cup of tea on my own quite a few times.
- I hate asking for help but without the support of friends and family, I don’t think we’d have coped at all. We’ve relied heavily on our parents, whether it’s taking Max to the park for a few hours or feeding him dinner. Chatting/complaining to friends has eased the stress and kept us both sane.
- Lastly, DON’T renovate a house late in your pregnancy or in the first few months after having a new baby. Don’t even entertain the idea. If you are for some mad reason, planning major work on your house during this time, DON’T listen to your builder when they give you an initial timeframe. Double the timescale at least. Or better still, postpone the work for as long as possible. Alternatively, move out.
Thanks for reading.