I hadn’t realised how many routines we have in a day until I had children - then I understood how hard it was to complete even the simplest of things when you’ve got a baby or toddler around!
You know, like:
- Getting dressed
- Getting out of the house
- Popping out for a pint of milk… why is it that that becomes SUCH an appealing activity when you can’t do it easily!?
- Being alone, not being alone, popping to a friend, going to work, quickly whipping up a meal, using two hands at once, sitting down to eat a whole meal in one go with no interruptions and, of course, going to the loo alone!
All of that goes out of the window, doesn’t it!?!
And with it, our sense of control and calm…
In comes the overwhelm if we’re not careful. I remember quite early on, we had my sister-in-law to stay with her brother and his children (all adults) and they all wanted to go out, and for some reason, I now can’t remember, they didn’t take the children. I was left with the two of them and while feeding the youngest, my eldest went on a rampage, taking out EVERY toy in the house and creating the BIGGEST mess around! When my husband came back he expressed how surprised he was at the mess...!!!! (You can imagine my response!) Anyway, I just felt so out of control, so overwhelmed, and so useless - so this is my gift for you, some tiny life hacks I learned along the way to help you feel better and prevent YOU from having these horrible out-of-control moments!
Tip number 1:
Make the evening meal first thing in the morning. If you’ve got a slow cooker, fall in love with it and shove everything into that! If not, set the oven low and make casseroles or stews or one-pots that can be cooked slow and low. That fills your house with lovely smells as it cooks and will be a lovely surprise when you’re tired at the end of the day! Do you do this already? What’s your favourite recipe to put in your one pot? Let me know in the comments. This is my current favourite.
Tip number 2:
Babies (and toddlers) tend to run on a four-hour schedule. It can be really helpful to think about the day in 4-hour blocks and plan your day around them. In a single four-hour period, they will eat, sleep and play. How much they do of each one and how long they take to do it depends on their age.
In the beginning, it’s mostly sleeping and feeding with a tiny bit of play, but over time, this swaps and it becomes mostly play, eating, and possibly a tiny bit of sleeping (or downtime). When you look at the day like this, you can have some structure in what seems a chaotic time.
I found working backwards from bedtime gave me something to work towards AND it gave me a baby (and toddler) who went to bed at a sensible time, leaving me to eat that lovely one-pot waiting for me in the oven with my husband! And that is a massive win-win I say!
You can also plan those playtimes as well which will really help you feel that you’ve got some proper structure into the day. So I suggest that you group toys (and things from around the house that become toys) into baskets or containers, so you can easily grab a different one to mix it up a bit throughout the day. I would make the first activity of the day one that you’ve done before that you don’t need to think about or prepare such as tummy time for your tiny ones, or playing with bricks or toys with your toddler. (Or perhaps use an activity from your Oliiki library of favourites). Set this up in the kitchen so that you're able to make the evening meal as they play and still interact and chat with your child.
Make the second play session (the one around lunchtime) an outside time. You could have a walk or go to the park, whatever seems good, but get outside whatever the weather! This will help you and your little one sleep better for having exercise and fresh air. And it will lift your spirits, give your child different stimulation and a different environment to explore and learn from.
For the third activity of the day, use the Oliiki app as a prompt for when you’re getting tired as then it saves you thinking, and you’ll know that you ARE giving your child a brilliant, simple-to-execute activity that will help them grow and develop, and you won’t even have to have thought about it!
Tip number 3:
Find some time for you! The research is showing us that we don't do this BUT we also know that it's super important for your baby's life outcomes, so don't put this one on the backburner! Rather, pop a date in the diary with yourself and give yourself time to exercise, meditate, read a book, chat to a friend, go for a walk; do anything that directly looks after you!
Here at Oliiki, we think this is so important that we're excited to launch our new Wellness Wednesdays. Each week on our social pages we'll be sharing tips for you! These tips have been shared by some amazing experts in their field. This week our guest is Jane Wake, The Mother of all Fitness, with a background in sports science, pilates, pre/postnatal exercise and personal training, spanning 27+ years! There isn't much Jane doesn't know about fitness! She answered a few of our most burning fitness questions over on Instagram. Let me know in the comments if there's anyone or anything you'd like us to focus on in our upcoming Wellness Wednesdays.
Finally as a bonus tip:
Find the tiny wins, all day, every day! Like I always say, your tiny wins build to big wins! When we find the tiny wins, we get a boost; that boost helps us feel fabulous, and when we feel fabulous then we can help our children feel fabulous, which in turn helps them reach their full potential.
You may already have the Oliiki app, but if you don’t, you might find it useful to help you in those tired moments. It's a bank of simple, age-appropriate activities to do with your baby each day that are easy to do around the home. You'll find though the activities may be simple, the learning they are providing your baby with is not! And we've made sure that we've included a whole heap of information for you as well so that as your baby is playing and learning, you are learning too, which in turn will help you feel fabulous! So if you haven't found the Oliiki app yet, download it and take advantage of our 7-day free trial!
What tips would you share with others to help combat the overwhelm and that feeling of being out of control with your baby? Drop them in the comments below and we will create a list to share.