Ok, so I’m a little bored and I’m never ever bored. I hate saying it and I hate feeling it. But this lockdown has got me in a funk for sure. Maybe I’m just fed up. During the first lockdown I had a new-born. Boris shut shop on the entire country when Indy was just 2 weeks old and back then I obviously had other distractions. This time, the restrictions are getting to me. I want to start living now, I want to do all the things I planned and envisioned with my baby who is now 10 months old. Indy knows little more than the four walls of our house and the faces of mine and her Dads. We briefly dipped our toes into the world of baby classes – baby swimming, which was stop-start, and soft play (a handle of times when I felt brave enough to head into a potential covid cesspit) has been brought to an abrupt end. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, I fully support the lockdown, I want to squash the spread more than ever. It’s just meh! Oh and lockdown parents, I bet you have had the occasional wonder about whether this lockdown will affect your baby’s development? Yeah… same!
I hate ranting as much as I love it. It sorts me out because afterwards I feel I’ve shaken some bad energy off, which I have done now. So, thank you for indulging me for a second. It’s true though, even the most strong-minded and robust of people are finding this moment in time challenging and frustrating. It’s nothing we have ever faced before. And as I stumble through this lockdown life from feeling sorry for myself, bored, sad and annoyed to finding the positives and realising actually my situation is privileged in many ways. The number of times I’ve had to stop and put my big girlie pants on. Firstly, my baby is thriving, she is healthy, happy, walking and into everything. My other half is a key worker and has kept his job throughout lockdown, I’ve been on maternity leave but more recently managed to head back part time to my radio show. I’ve had childcare in Indy’s grandparents when we’ve needed it and my support system are great- we zoom and facetime and when allowed my friends and family are within walking distance for a coffee. My community is solid and protective, and we live in an area where we can enjoy beautiful walks. Ok, I feel instantly better when I appreciate what I do have in life.
If you’re ever on a dip day (or feeling like I did in my first paragraph of this blog) and need a boost, below are some tips I’ve found on various mum groups online that have worked out great for me as a new first-time mother. Hopefully on those bad days you can implement a few into your life.
Get worked up– Running around after your baby can feel like a work out in itself, but if you want to do some more structured exercise, get onto YouTube- you will find thousands of yoga, HIIT, fitness workouts for whatever your ability with different durations. If you wear a fitness tracker, you can still aim for 10,000 steps a day by walking or running around the garden or climbing stairs. We have a park at the end of road so each morning we venture down for some fresh air. Thankfully I love walking and listening to music or podcasts. I make it a mission to get out at least once a day. We upgraded the pram this year to a sturdy pushchair because we have done so many miles. Making a goal, small or big will honestly it will do wonders for your mental health.
Take a break when you need it – Build these in so you know you have some time to yourself to look forward to. When you have a new-born or young baby this might just be brief – 20 minutes to have a shower, a sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit while baby is sleeping.
Make the most of what social contact is allowed – I know we are up to our eyeballs in restrictions right now across the board, but if your situation means you have a support bubble and can meet outside and you think this would be good for you and your baby, wrap up warm and go do it! Think about where you can meet outdoors that has some cover for sheltering if it rains, take something to sit on, all that stuff for baby and reconnect with friends and family.
Family and friends video calls– It’s important to stay in touch with the outside world, so phone, message or video call with friends and family. Pour a glass of wine when the baby goes down and get the girls together for a catch up on Zoom. It’ll keep you feeling more positive and they’ll be glad to know how you’re doing.
Arts and crafts- I think everyone has pretty much had a lockdown birthday about now. Indy is a bit older so gets excited when I lay out all the paints on the table. She doesn’t actually do that much apart from look eagerly at everything and then it’s a carefully designed mission with her dad and I to make as little mess as possible while dipping her foot or hand in paint to make a print for a birthday card. Top tip- keep wet wipes near. There are SO many cute ideas online to create with your little one’s prints. Home-made is special and at such a weird time for people its sure to raise a smile. I sent my friends a few cards the other day just to say we are missing you.
Make a photo album or memory book– That beautiful baby memory book that you were given when your baby was born but you just haven’t had time to fill in? All those photos that are piling up on your phone or computer that you keep meaning to print out? This might be the best chance you get before normal life resumes and before you know it, your baby is ten years old. You could select photos to put into an album with an online photo printing company or stick keepsakes into a book before they get lost or forgotten. Your baby might enjoy helping you while looking at old pictures of themselves. Yep, this is the rainy day.
Have a toy stock take (a baby version of a spring clean)- Empty out the toy box and sort toys into piles that your baby likes playing with, has grown out of or hasn’t had a chance to play with yet. Put any toys you no longer need in a bin bag to clean and for the charity shop.
Let your baby loose on the toy mountain and they might rediscover some old favourites they’d forgotten about. Not to mention you’ll have a tidier toy cupboard, and you can do your bit for the environment by passing on or selling old toys. While you’re at it, you could go through old baby clothes too.
Enjoy (some) screen time- Don’t worry, it’s ok, I get it. If you’re going to be at home with your baby and not seeing other people, putting on the TV for short periods might be an inevitability just so you can get things done. Or even just go to the loo in peace.
Now you’ve got nowhere else to go and not much else to do, this is a great time to actually sit down and watch TV with your child. Your baby will love having you there alongside him, and you could talk about what is happening.