As a mum of one (and a very active one at that!) I’m often asked how I ‘fit it all in’. How do I raise a child, run a business and still find time for myself? Well, as we found out recently, as of April next year, we’ll soon be raising two children! We’re delighted we’re expanding our family, and count ourselves very lucky to be able to do so. But it did spark utter fear as to how we’ll manage, as well as the awe of all those parents who have gone before us who have had more than one child!
1. Take a step back – We’ve all been there… your little one won’t stop crying, or they won’t stop moaning, or you’re completely overwhelmed by the aspects of motherhood that you least expected. Well, it’s totally fine to take a step back. Sometimes that means physically; sometimes that means mentally. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve walked away from a colic-y Joey or a teething Joey, and left my other half or someone else in charge. A happy mum equals a happy baby and I truly believe that that’s why our Joey is such a happy little boy. I’ve been able to ‘take a step back’ thanks to the amazing support that our family and friends have provided. It’s okay to have a cup of tea whilst someone else tries to sooth your little one, or whilst someone else tackles that nappy!
2. Let the washing pile up – I was told this none stop when Joey was little and I didn’t always listen. I used to worry about the state of the house if people came to visit… my appearance or Joey’s appearance. But those precious early days with your little one fly by SO quick. The washing can pile up, the dishes can go unwashed, you can skip another day of showering! Just enjoy the time you have with your lovely bundle of joy that you waited 9 months to meet. You won’t get that time back! And this is something I’ll 100% be living by when baby #2 arrives, so apologies to any friends or family that visit and see me surrounded by a stinky green mist!
3. Ask for help – Whether that’s with something personal, like asking your other half to help you have time to yourself, or whether it’s because you need something doing for you, ask. I learnt far too late that it’s okay to ask for help. I always had in my professional life, but struggled in my personal life. But if you’re struggling to find time to eat, or look after yourself, or even just time to think and be you, ask someone to help share the load. It ‘takes a village’ after all! Danny and I got into a lovely routine with Joey quite early on that absolutely saved my sanity some days – he would do breakfast and bath time with Joey (the perks of working from home!) and I would do everything in between and through the night (not that I always did/do!). But that extra hour in the morning or evening was incredibly helpful and important.
4. Plan, plan, plan! If you run your own business, chances are you’re a pro at this anyway. But when starting my own business, I found finding the time (and energy) really hard. It helped me to map out the week ahead and visualise what I needed to achieve. So each week, Danny and I sit down and go through what we’re up to in the week ahead, and when Joey is old enough, he’ll be joining in too. It’s important for us to be ‘on the same page’ when it comes to all aspects of our life. So if Danny knows I’m at a radio interview one morning for example, he knows that I’ll be having to get ready earlier than expected and asking for a little extra help on the childcare side!
5. Don’t spread yourself too thin – there’s nothing worse that a mum who is exhausted from doing too much, and I don’t mean just the night feeds. I mean if you’re looking after baby, meeting up with friends and family, running a business, doing all the chores… if you’ve got someone else to help then ask for help. But also take stock and work out what’s most important to you at that moment. Are you able to put a delay on certain elements of your business for a while (e.g. increase order/delivery time)? Are you able to cut down the social commitments you have that might be tiring you out? Remember as well as everything else; you need to take the time to enjoy baby, and you can’t do that if you never have any down time!
Of course, these are just some of the tips I’ve thought of as I approach the birth of baby #2, and they are very dependent on my experience of motherhood so far, but hopefully some of these tips can help you or someone you know!