I woke up the other day and realised I had a toddler. Err when did this happen? It feels like only yesterday I had a tiny baby and now she is a lot bigger and takes a lot more thought to entertain. Add into the mix the summer holidays, and none of our usual clubs are on – oh man, what do we do? Six whole weeks to fill and she is no longer happy with a day playing in the living room like she was as a tiny baby. Shizzle just got serious: we need to “do some stuff”.
Sound familiar? Here are my top three tips for sailing through the remaining few weeks with zen-monk-style calm.
1. Use social media for inspiration, not perspiration
It’s all too easy to have a quick scroll down your Newsfeed and see all the fun summer holiday things everyone is doing with their babies and children, and all too easy to feel that you should have thought of that too. Everyone else seems to have this motherhood thing nailed, right? Wrong.
Those pictures and statuses are someone else’s story, and they are just a captured moment in time. Anyway, for all we know, that grinning, ice-cream eating bundle of cute toddlers in a Boden-shoot picnic scene was a screaming, sugar-high bundle of crazy for most of the day except those two minutes. So rather than think less of your life and see it as a comment on what you should have done, take the objective inspiration. A picnic! What a fab idea – you could do that tomorrow. If the weather is rubbish, you could make an indoor picnic with blankets and cushions and fun finger food. And if there’s screaming, there’s screaming!
2. The best-laid plans of mums and babes go oft awry
Things don’t and won’t always go to plan. That is no comment on you or your mum skills. In the words of Forrest Gump, “sh*t happens”. When it does, the trick is not to create a story in your head about why or what that means. Simply accepting the fact that the plans haven’t worked and it isn’t ideal is actually much easier to handle. Keep an objective eye, remember how awesome you are generally, and find a new plan. How? Well, here comes my little brand tip: forget the DJ, the other day amazing new app Bubele saved my life. When a whole day out to Countryfile Live with a friend and three under-5s ended after half an hour thanks to a mahoosive traffic jam, we had to fix it quick. Traffic stalled, I tapped into the Bubele app, handily separated into themed sections – how super! – and found that the local farm centre had its new season Maize Maze open that week. Problem solved – we about turned at the next junction and had an ace day! No negative mummy story (“should we have left earlier?”), just a saved day out, a lighter mind, and, as it turns out, a lot of fun on a bouncy castle.
3. Plan a little, not a lot(tle)
Someone once told me that if you’re busy, it means you’re an optimist. That’s definitely me! I always think I can fit more into a day than I actually can. However, one thing I’ve learned since having a baby is that a day with one thing planned is my optimum, with a little space for spontaneity or delays. Two things planned is manageable, and feels sufficiently full. Three things, and then stuff starts to get crazy and I don’t feel like the best version of me. It can be tempting to feel that more things means more fun, and that more fun things means you’re a more fun mummy. Giving yourself a bit of space to do just one thing and do it well means you keep some headspace for yourself, and everything feels a bit more achievable. Odds are you’ll all have a much more fun day after all.
Hopefully these little tips will help you plan some fun for you and your kiddlywinks, and keep a kind, healthy mum mind in the process. Boom! Maybe a few of these morning hacks will help you start each day in a calmer place too?
*This post was written in association with, but not sponsored by, Bubele. However, the opinions are all my own and I genuinely resorted to it for Countryfile-gate. If you’d like to try the app, you can download it from iTunes here.*