While I’m writing this letter, my baby is falling asleep in the bed next to me. She’s tired but happy, and she’s softly talking to me and nudging me with her foot while I type. She is at the age where she plays quietly in her cot until she falls asleep, and it always makes me giggle to find her fast asleep, snuggling a plastic cow, or a rattle, or, the other night, her baby wipes container.
We’re not too far from the silly season, the time of year when everyone is stressed out and doing too much. If you’re pregnant and due around Christmas, you might feel extra-stressed at the thought of all the holiday obligations on top of preparing for your baby’s arrival. If you’re a new parent, you may be thinking about how to manage your baby’s sleeps with visits to family. If you have more than one child, the stress factor is even higher. And it’s only November!
Earlier today, a friend and I were talking about how babies are always in the moment. When they’re hungry or tired or bored or they have a full nappy, they tell you about it, and they don’t stop telling you until you do something about it. Yet we, as adults, are expected to endure and put on a face of stoicism when we’re hungry or tired or bored or we need to go to the loo but there’s none handy. It’s not socially acceptable to start screaming for food in the middle of the movie theatre, or lay down and take a nap while at a holiday meal.
This year, as the silly season gets underway and our evenings and weekends fill up with commitments and tasks, perhaps we should vow to be more like a baby and be “in the moment”. I’m not talking about telling your boss that he’s boring the crap out of you and walking away. No, what I mean is, why not make the decision this year to spend less time doing the things that make you want to cry like, well, a baby?
Now is the time when the invitations are going to start coming in, so now is also the time to start as you mean to go on. Say no to things you really don’t want to go to. Put boundaries in place. Be honest about what you’re capable of. Vow not to push yourself beyond what feels comfortable and good. If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re stressed, take a break.
I know it feels easier said than done. But then I look at my sleeping baby and I think, actually, it’s not that hard. She does what feels good without even thinking about it. And as her mum, I do everything I can to make sure she feels comfortable, safe, loved, relaxed, and happy. Isn’t it important that I feel that way too?
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