By Natalie Bascur
It happens so quickly, and before you know it – you’re losing yourself in motherhood. Sound familiar?
So being spontaneous when you have a baby may sound like crazy talk, but it is possible. Yes, you can still have a life when you become a mama.
Because let’s be honest, when you’re in the throes of mamahood (especially in those early months), you probs feel like you’re always missing out on having fun. Especially when childless friends text you to catch up last minute at a cocktail bar or restaurant that is not bub friendly.
You have heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” well it’s time to build your village mama – find your tribe.
You may never be as carefree as you were before you had a tiny human, but you CAN still have some spontaneity in your life. Whoop!
So if you feel like you’re losing yourself, try this…
1 // PLAN AHEAD TO BE SPONTANEOUS LATER
The easiest way to be spontaneous is to think back to before you went into labour and had a hospital bag packed and ready.
If you have a few large calico bags packed at all times with the things you will need for a variety of occasions, then it’s just a matter of chucking them into your existing baby bag when a last-minute invite comes through.
Babies are unpredictable, which can defs add extra stress, but prep work will turn your baby escapades into an adventure and save you from going stir crazy.
Have a list of child friendly cafes in your local area to suggest as alternatives if they work better for you.
And check the weather before you leave and keep in mind that it’s all about balance. As long as your bambino has slept, been fed and changed, that’s all they really need at their age.
2 // DINNER OUT WITH YOUR BABY-DADDY
So, hubby calls from work to take you out for a surprise dinner.
If you have a family member who is available and lives close by, first choice would be get them to watch bub. If not, try and let your baby have their afternoon nap as late as possible that day.
Have a list of restaurants ready to go that have a bit of background chatter, such as Italian or Thai, just in case bub starts to cry. A dark, romantic restaurant will have you on the edge of your seat through most of your dinner.
Feed and bathe bub before you go to get the bedtime routine started and hopefully encourage sleep. Go for an earlier sitting if you can. And bring some toys that can be pulled out when you need them.
It’s hard to break away from your regular routine at first but if you are consistent with it then it becomes part of bub’s routine.
3 // A FEW HOURS AT THE BEACH
If you feel like going to the beach because it’s a nice day, then go mama!
Have a bag ready to go with an umbrella, hat, sunscreen and extra diapers and go! If you’re the food source, bub will be happy when you are close by. If you’re bottle feeding, then just pack a little more than you think you will need.
A good book, water and Zooper Doopers should complete things.
4 // BRING THE PARTY TO YOU
Feel like you’re losing yourself, and losing that connection to who you used to be?
Instead of always waiting to be invited out, try and have friends over on the regular for movie nights, board games, ladies’ lunches or spa days at home.
A ladies lunch can be done relatively easily if everyone is just in charge of one plate to bring.
Take turns at each other’s houses so you’re not the one always stuck with the washing up.
Better yet, try and make the meals quick and casual. No one has time for mammoth lasagne prep anymore. A seafood bouillabaisse in a slow cooker can be left to its own devices and just needs a baguette stick or two to accompany it.
Mix this up with a mobile spa service – these days it’s easy to get massages, mani/pedis and hair and make-up all done in the comfort of your own home.
You will have time to catch up on goss, keep yourself pampered and not have to battle parking spots and prams to do so!
6 // STAY UPDATED
Your life was your life before baby, it’s important not to forget who you are. This is even more important if you find you’re losing yourself in motherhood.
As the dopamine high kicks in, it’s very tempting to stay in the baby bubble – where you’re content, satisfied and high on love.
As well as being a mum though, it’s healthy to focus on staying immersed in the outside world as much as you can.
Stay in touch with what’s going on. Read the news. And try to catch up with your old friends when you can and not just new friends from mother’s groups.
It’s very easy to talk about your new baby 24/7, but it will be hard for your old friends to relate. Plus it stops you getting valuable adult chats in.
As much as you think your bub is the best creation since sliced bread, not everyone will feel the same way.
7 // BUILD YOUR VILLAGE
Have a list of other mums on standby to help you out so you always have a list of back up sitters.
Maybe you get Monday morning to yourself to do a yoga class while you take your friend’s baby on a Wednesday, so she can get her hair done.
Don’t allow yourself to think you need to be confined in the house, sometimes you need to force yourself out. Join online mother’s groups, as mum friends will be dealing with the same stresses and have advice.
8 // YOU DO YOU MAMA
Accept that your life and your priorities have changed. But you are still the person you used to be and not just someone’s mum – you don’t need to be losing yourself to motherhood.
Don’t forget your needs and be patient while you’re trying to find your new normal.
When you create a small human you love more than life itself it changes you irrevocably. Mums do so much, between feeding, cleaning up spills and wiping butts.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the mum that can do everything 100%. It’s perfectly ok to not do it all.
AND don’t be discouraged by a few challenging outings. Your baby is learning as much as you how to co-exist in the new world around them. Trial and error are a part of discovering what works best for you and your fam.