Before you enter motherhood you look around and think the world is perfectly set up for parents and carers. After all, don’t they say there is one born every minute? Or is that just the TV show?
Well, whilst we do of course have fantastic medical facilities, childcare and health support, there are so many everyday practices after having had a baby that are just so much more complicated than you would expect them to be. And this was a big surprise to me.
If you’re a parent, then I’m sure you’ll resonate with many of the below. And if you’re not, well, then you might be surprised at how the simple can morph into the complex.
- Let’s start with something you find everywhere, but are so much more complicated when you’re a new parent. Doors. Doors with a pram, doors that open in, doors that are too narrow to get a pram through, those strange door-and-a-half doors, getting through doors with a car seat and even opening doors when you have a handful of baby.. all of which are incredibly tricky.
- The second thing I didn’t really think about before I had Amelia is finding toilets you can go into with the baby. Similar to the doors issue above, most public toilets aren’t able to fit a pram and a person in. So “go into a baby change room” I hear you shout. Well in actual fact many of the baby change rooms I seem to find are just rooms, with a changing mat, sometimes including a chair, but often lacking that all important toilet. This means you have to head to the disabled loo first and then go and find a baby change room afterwards. Not a biggie I suppose, but given you are always running about 10 minutes late (I hear it’s a symptom of having a baby) it can be most infuriating. And don’t get me started on baby changing facilities in men’s loos. Oh and I should also just tell you about a recent experience I had at my local baby friendly Methodist church. This baby change had a changing mat and a toilet, however this wasn’t just any old loo.. oh no, this one was for small children (about 3 foot high) and definitely not suitable for adult use. So what does one do in this predicament, use the tiny loo or find another.. well I know what I did!
- “Darling can you just rewind that bit?” “Can you just press pause for a second?” “What just happened?” These are all common things you will hear at our house on a Friday night. Watching film or TV boxset is no longer simple and involves multiple pauses to tend to baby or check the monitor. Who would have though switching off in the evening would be so complicated?! Check out my earlier blog on this.
- Next I want to talk about fitness classes and the gym. Having had a baby most women want to try and get back into shape. But how can they when they can’t find a fitness class which allows them to take baby to. Ok so Oxfordshire does have a few such classes, but nothing like the postnatal classes that can be found in London, such as Buggy’acise, sling classes, baby yoga, baby ballet etc.. I just really feel there is a gap in the market for regional gyms and fitness instructors to tap into. So far I have been to a Buggy Buff class run by Laonie in Witney, and there are a few more I am due to try, even travelling as far as Swindon for Amy’s SlingSwing class, but I do feel my options are limited. Comment below if you have any good suggestions on this please.
- Just need to drop something off into the post office, or pick up a pint of milk? Takes five minutes when you are on your own, but when you are with a baby it’s a whole new story. Dropping something off or running into the shop now involves, getting the car seat out, fixing it to the buggy, collapsing the buggy, putting it back in the car… you get my drift. Nothing is quick anymore and I am quickly learning one never just ‘pops’ anywhere after having a baby.
- Now here’s another one you can’t just ‘pop to’. The petrol station. When getting fuel you either need to take baby in with you or find a pay at the pump garage. I now have a newfound love of pay at the pump and travel a few extra miles to find one for their ease and simplicity. Thank goodness for modern technology.
- Doing a long journey. This is another one which takes careful planning and thought. How long is the journey, where can I stop to feed the baby, does that place have a changing facility, do I have enough nappies, dummies, changes of clothes etc etc. Once again spontaneity has been replaced by planning, planning and more planning.
- And relax… sit down and have a lovely hot cup of tea. Or rather if you have had a baby, make a steaming hot cup of tea and then leave it on the side for half an hour. Again another standard occurrence in my house. Alas who knew drinking a whole cup of tea whilst hot would take such focus and determination.
So yes, some everyday things are just extra hard and time consuming when you have a baby (this blog has only taken three weeks to write for example). But all that aside, having a baby is one of the most wonderful feelings and experiences ever. So for all the tricky doors, the cold cups of teas and the interrupted TV shows I simply wouldn’t change it for the world.. but if I could have a few extra hours in the day that would be most appreciated.