Surviving Life With a Newborn and Toddler

03/05/2016 11:30

I had a baby.

The last time I had a baby was just over two years ago, around the same time that we began watching Game of Thrones.

Interestingly, I can remember virtually every storyline of Game of Thrones and yet I had forgotten many of the details of life with a newborn. Such as...

  • How it is that they sleep for 23 hours a day, and yet you only sleep for 20 minutes.
  • How it is that they sleep for 23 hours a day, and yet flossing your teeth now seems as frivolous as a luxury pedicure once did.
  • The amount of things it is possible to do one-handed, if you really try.
  • That it is not possible to put a bra on one-handed, even if you really try.
  • Just how damn cute they are.
  • How your world shrinks and nothing else seems very important anymore. Except where the biscuits are.
Those of you who read last week's mindful birthing post will know that, after a less than ideal first birth, I was a touch apprehensive this time around. I'm thrilled to report that I was incredibly lucky and had a pretty wonderful experience. So, we were sent home soon after, with a not quite 24-hour-old baby and the toddler.

That first day was a hormonally-charged mix of deep happiness and also a tiny tinge of sadness. My little girl now seemed so big, and I struggled with not being able to orbit around her as I used to. She's adjusting well though, and is 'helping' in small ways - like fishing out my boobs to 'find food' for the baby (quite cute at home; less so on the 137 bus).

On that first day I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to be the kind of mother I want to be, to both these little people. I thought back to a book I read during pregnancy, The Mindful Mother (see the mindfulness books page), and inspired by Naomi Chunilal's words came up with the following plan:

  • To wake up (reality check: 'to get up') each morning, remember how lucky we are, and make a choice to experience the day in a positive way.
  • To accept the tiredness, the sibling juggling, the endless nappies; all of it - without wishing any of it were different, or less smelly. To appreciate all the messy little details, just as they are.
  • To dig deep - to find the energy to play with the toddler, or the grace to ask my husband how he's doing, without entering into a competitition about who is most tired.*
  • To be kind and gentle with all of us, including me. To grab rest when I can, and to find small spaces for small things that I find restorative (fresh air, deep breaths, Pinot Noir).
  • To order more biscuits.
*I am most tired.

This post originally appeared on Parenting Calm, a blog about mindful living and positive parenting - with a sense of humour.

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up for weekly emails here.

You can also follow Parenting Calm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.