It's a cliche, but parenting really is 24/7, 365 (and sometimes I feel like a 24 hour diner, but that's a whole other post). You find that with this little human relying on you for, well, everything, your pre-baby coping mechanisms just don't cut it anymore. Tough day at the (baby) office? Put down that bottle of wine, pappa bear! Need to run off a tough (night) shift? Hang up those runners, mamma bear! So I can't drink... I can't buy 6 inch heels and dance away the blues... No nipping off to the movies to cheer me up... CBF exercising... What's left? Here are seven sanity savers, in no particular order, that should get you to at least 8 and a half months (that's the extent of my parenting experience):
- Sugar: I prefer mine in the form of chocolate, but take donations of muffins, cakes and biscuits. There is some piece of research out there suggesting that mums who gorge on sugar will cause their children to become obese adults. Firstly. I'm guessing the researchers aren't mums. Secondly, they're always trying to blame mums for something. Thirdly, and I say this to my adult son: "Join an gym, go on a low carb diet and pass me that block of chocolate".
- Caffeine: Those all-nighters I pulled at uni were barely even pre-season training for this mum thing. Think of how much coffee you used to consume when you were cramming for exams. Now double it. That's how much you need as a new parent. Now slice that number by three quarters. That's how much you can have. Now quit doing pointless Maths and go put the kettle on.
- The Internet/Social Media: As long as you don't google symptoms, the internet is your friend, particularly during those feeds when you aren't gazing lovingly at your baby. Pretty soon you'll have more DIY and "I'm so making this" pins on your Pinterest boards than is humanly possible to complete in one lifetime, let alone with a new baby. Sure, you could pick up a book, but it's taken 8 months for my brain to thaw, and more often than not, I'm feeding in low light (someone suggested I read the Game of Thrones series. See point 5). Cut yourself some slack and read articles on buzzfeed.com about how much cabbage celebrities eat.
- Other parents: Chose wisely. If you have a child who doesn't sleep well, surround yourself with other zombie parents. Got a fussy eater? Seek out other skinny kids with worried looking mums. Does your kid like to experiment with new things by sticking them up his nose? Make a bee line for the baby with bright blue snot. Don't mix with people who respond to your "My baby doesn't..." stories with "Oh really? Mine does, and has done since...". There's no way the judge is gonna let you off fly kicking another parent in front of their small child. And who has time for court appearances and publicity anyway (fly kick-incidents in suburban playgrounds get the media all riled up)? After all, you now fit into advertising's "busy mum" category.
- TV shows: It's important to distinguish between watching television and watching TV shows. You want something on DVD that you can pause for those times when you baby needs your attention. So, you know, every four minutes. You can try to watch movies, but trust me, after 4 hours you'll be confused as to why that chap in the cape is getting his butt kicked by the chick he was dating 3 hours earlier.
- Long showers: Hand your baby to someone else (you know the rules: no strangers who don't at least look pleasant), shut the door and turn your bathroom into a sauna. I recommend sitting on the floor of the shower and either staring into space or having a little cry. Suspend your usual concern for the environment, housework, other people etc and stay in there until either it runs cold or you are at risk of losing 7 kg and aging 43 years.
- Hobbies: Chose something that doesn't have small parts, that can be interrupted frequently without effecting the quality of the outcome, and that is rather cheap in case you get bored of it, or forget to apply for Centrelink (*cough*). But not a blog about muddling through parenthood; that's my shtick (yeah, I'm rockin' the Yiddish). Oh, and FYI: Facebook is only a hobby if you are Mark Zuckerberg 10 years ago.