After 9 long, hard months full of anticipation and excitement waiting to meet your little one, post- birth can seem very daunting. Once you have taken your new born home and the visitors start to trail off, suddenly the weight of the task in hand dawns on you and it can be pretty terrifying! Do not panic though, it is completely normal to feel like this; in fact, it would be worrying if you didn’t!
Parenting is a huge responsibility and there is (within reason) no right or wrong way to do it. However, one of the biggest mistakes new parents make is actually worrying too much in the first place: “many new parents have overblown reactions to spitting up, vomiting and other things a baby does, and the baby picks up on that anxiety” says Leon Hoffman, MD, director of the Pacella Parent Child Center in New York. This worrying can take away from one of the most exciting and precious times you can have with your baby, so try to relax! In a bid to ease your nerves and remind you why this is such a magical time, here are some things to expect and even look forward to in your time as a parent.
As new Mums and Dads, you automatically get entered into the Mother’s and Father’s day celebrations, cue another excuse for pampering! The only downside of this will be that you tend to have to rely on the other half of your parenting force for these celebrations for the next few years. Yet the days do signify a sense of achievement that deserves to be celebrated, and, as people spend more on mums than they do on dads (sorry dads!) it is certainly something to get excited about.
When shopping for the best gift, you can always go for something that will help a new mum or dad. This could be a local housecleaning service or some ingenious parenting gadgets that both of you could enjoy. Or, if you wanted to take the focus away from parenting you could splurge to show your affection with a luxury father’s day gift, or some impressive designer stationery for him to use at work.
For Dads, if you’re not sure what to get the mother of your child, while designer clothes may not be the best idea with a new born, you could take a look at other gift ideas such as plus size designer Anna Scholz’s new luxury gifts collection, or a gorgeous Kate Spade changing bag to make her feel glamorous even when she is changing nappies!
So your previous expectations of a holiday being the time to catch up on sleep and relaxation may need to be re-managed. A holiday with children will never be the same again. However, it does offer you some time to spend with your babies and your significant other away from your usual routine (bar feeding times and nappy changes, obviously). While some parents claim that holidays with babies and children are stressful, they don’t have to be if you’re prepared.
Although airlines prefer babies to be over two days old before travelling, which age after that is up to you. In fact, flying when a baby is younger is significantly easier than when they begin crawling, talking and walking. If you do happen to need to travel when children are this more able, many parents (7/10 in fact) use travel gadgets to keep them entertained; while 8/10 download apps on their smartphones for a bit of peace and quiet! If you aren’t able to do this, generally children will find going away quite exciting so try turning the whole experience into a big game to encourage good behaviour.
While going on holiday can seem like more work than ever, holiday season will seem so much more magical than ever with your baby. On average parents spend around £166 each on their babies’ first Christmas, it is the younger mums and dads that seem to get caught up, spending £245 on their little one’s first Christmas gift. To save money however, buying a few bits and maybe wrapping up some necessary items so they can experience Christmas is enough, then you can put any money you have saved into a Trust Fund for them, or save it for yourselves!
Regardless of how much you spend on your baby at Christmas, you will want to capture the moments that’s for sure! It is a good idea to invest in a quality camera to make sure you don’t miss any good bits; many digital SLRs feature high quality video recording which is essential for recording memories. As you can buy so many different festive outfits to dress little babies in nowadays, it could make for a gorgeous family Christmas picture card to taunt them with when they grow up which is definitely something to help you through the sleepless nights!
Unlike the summer holidays, at Christmas you should be permitted at least some time off to spend with your family celebrating together, which makes child care much easier. If home baking and present making aren’t your forte to try and keep the kids entertained, you can always just employ their help with the wrapping of gifts and decorating of trees, and just fake the baking! Biscuiteers also do some lovely Christmas biscuits if you want to keep up that Nigella image!
Back To Work
Going back to work after what is often up to a year off on maternity leave is tough. Many new mums wonder how they could ever go back to that lifestyle, or even be able to sit down long enough to send an email again. Then there is the guilt; understandably leaving your baby in the hands of anyone but you is daunting, but it must be done.
It is important to remember that you are not alone: 67% of working mums experience separation anxiety on their return to work. In actual fact, however, it has been proven that babies that attend nurseries go on to achieve significantly better GCSEs which could earn them an extra £27,000 in their careers; so you’re actually doing them a favour returning to work! If you’re still not sure, have a look around some of the children’s nurseries in your area and speak to other mums there. Many offer an exceptional level of care even from an early age and by seeing this first hand and speaking to others about their experiences it may ease your worrying.
On the career side, with the availability of flexible hours it is incredible how easy it can be to return to the office. Gone are the days where motherhood replaces a career; once you have adjusted to leaving your baby it will feel good to have something else to do and get back into. This being said, flexible hours are still relatively new in business so make sure your company has access to reliable HR advice and that you are aware of your rights as an employee too.
If you are returning to work, even if it is from home, expect to be doing a fair amount of working on-the-go between school runs, appointments and meetings. It is, therefore, a very good idea to invest in a wireless headset that permits hands-free movement which you will be very grateful for. Multi-tasking will soon become your biggest strength and it is better to do this with both hands (legs and feet) where possible. Much like with travel apps to keep your children busy, it is also a good idea to utilise this technology where possible. The dragon dictation app allows you to dictate an email, message or reminder directly into your phone and so can be used through a headset when driving, cooking or even nappy-changing!
Life with a baby can be quite difficult to adjust to, especially at first. But by fitting the baby in around your existing routines as much as possible, rather than the other way round, you can minimise disruption which will make the baby, and therefore everyone else, happier! There is so much to enjoy as a parent: from your baby’s first smile, words and steps, to the last nappy change you ever have to do, that will make the first few months of hard work completely irrelevant. Until they are, however, just think of all the good things you can look forward to!