As you’re probably aware, our baby is due any day now. I say ‘our’ because let’s face it, we all feel some sort of parental protectiveness towards Clarinda (my baby couple name for you two lovebirds – awwww). I thought I would send a few tips your way from one working mother to another.
1. Take the drugs they offer during labour. Seriously. Even though we know you’re secretly Wonder Woman, there is no excuse for having to suffer while you push. It makes for a much nicer experience.
2. Watch out for an overload of visitors in those short few weeks after the birth. Most are well-meaning, but unless you’re certain they’re the sort of people that will arrive bearing several frozen dinners, while offering to chuck a load of washing in the machine, vacuum the floor, or scrub the toilet while they’re there, then firmly but politely say no. (Unless you just enjoy their company and their ability to hold a baby while you try to work out if you’re pelvic floor muscles will ever be operational again).
3. Don’t buy all the baby stuff. The worst place to visit is one of those baby fair shows that make you feel like the worst possible parent because you don’t have every gadget known to man, while simultaneously turning you into some maniac that needs glow-in-the-dark wallpaper with puppies on it. Trust me, you don’t. You won’t need 80 percent of what you think you do. Nothing like a wooden spoon and a Tupperware lid to keep bub amused for hours. And you can get stick on glow-in-the-dark stars from the $2 Shop if you really have to.
4. Don’t let the breastfeeding brigade get to you. I’m still amazed by the pressure put on new mums to ONLY breastfeed. It doesn’t work for everyone, and quite frankly, it can feel weird. If it does work for you, that’s awesome. But if it doesn’t, remember that it’s JUST FOOD. You will be providing everything else Clarinda needs – kisses, cuddles, baths, warm clothes, a cosy bed, walks, songs, rocking, and love. The feeding part is all about weight gain for a new baby. And the bonus is that Clarke gets to be part of feeding bub too.
5. Limit activities to five things in one week. We forget that these gorgeous new humans are only seeing and hearing our world for the first time. And those tiny little brains and bodies can get seriously overloaded. They need some downtime away from the chaos and cacophony of the world. So limit the first few weeks to only five events in a week, like coffee out, or a supermarket run, or over to see the grandparents. And then have two days a week at home where you don’t go anywhere. It will give Clarinda a chance to process the noises, sounds and smells she was introduced to without being over-stimulated. Best advice I was ever given.
6. Babies are notoriously difficult to fall into a routine that will comply with your work calendar once you decide to pick up the work reins. And they have an uncanny ability to have a really shitty night every Sunday, just so your workweek starts off with a bang. So don’t sweat it. As a control-freak myself, I found it incredibly frustrating that my 4 week-old would NOT go to sleep when I needed to GET STUFF DONE. So cross that expectation off your list. Buy some earplugs, and let Clarke deal with Sunday night so you are rested for the week to come. Running a country on little or no sleep can be quite stressful. Or so I’ve heard.
Lastly? Ignore the advice that everyone has for you. The three of you will work out what is best for your own little family. Because at 2am, it’s just the three of you dealing with whatever situation is happening. You guys will be great. You’re already parenting a whole country. And we're proud of you!
Jo xSupport Villainesse