Baby groundhog day … you know the feeling. Where every day starts to feel the same as the next one: Get up. Feed. Play. Nap. REPEAT. Over and over, until nightfall.
You’ve got past the newborn phase, and survived the four months sleep regression. Things have settled down, and life with your baby has become more predictable, finally.
Not only are the more stable blocks of sleep allowing you to get some decent slumber overnight, but the chunks during the day mean you’re keeping on top of housework and even getting in a full blown shower every morning.
But … yawn. All that predictability can get a bit dull for a fully grown woman. While babies tend to thrive on routine and the same sequence of events day after day, life can get pretty monotonous when you’re doing the same thing every day.
It’s okay – you can say it: life with a baby can be a bit boring. That’s nothing to feel guilty about, and it has nothing to do with how much you love your baby. You’re still an awesome mum, and it’s totally okay to feel like you need more to keep you stimulated. Making positive plans and looking after your emotional needs can protect you against postnatal depression as well as help you dust off any cobwebs, keeping you inspired, positive and energised.
Here are 7 ways to shake things up at your place:
1. Nap elsewhere
You might feel as though you’re chained to your baby’s nursery during naptime and even feel a little nervous about venturing out when your baby should be asleep. But letting your baby sleep in the pram so you can get out and about during naptime doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, it can be good for your baby to sleep in a different space now and then. With bub asleep in the pram, you can use the time to sit in a cafe reading a magazine or catching up with a friend for proper – uninterrupted – chat.
2. Baby class
If you’re stuck for things to do with your growing baby, why not try out a baby class? You can choose from baby swimming, GymbaROO, even baby music classes. Choose something that you think you’ll actually enjoy going to as well, so you can look forward to it each week. If cost is an issue, check out your local library for baby story time, or your local playgroups for a fun place to let your baby play, while you get to chat with other parents.
3. Mother’s group
If your mother’s group is still meeting each week, make sure you get along to the catch-ups. Spending time with other parents of babies the same age as yours will mean you’re surrounded by people going through the same things as you. You can swap stories, seek out support and even make plans for playdates during the week. Connecting with other people is a great way to keep your brain cells firing and to feel like you are a real person in the world – not just your baby’s mum.
4. Start reading again
If you’re anything like me, your brain stopped being interested in regular books once you were pregnant and you haven’t managed to go back to your reading list since. But now that the pregnancy is done, and you’re through the worst of the sleepless nights, it’s a good time to start reading the books you used to be in to. I totally give you permission to read a book purely for pleasure, that has nothing to do with sleep, routine or parenting.
5. Get creative
This could be a great time to pursue a creative route. Maybe you used to paint, draw or write, but it got pushed aside by life and you never had time to get into it again. This is your time, lady. Get yourself the materials you need and next time baby is asleep, get busy unleashing your creative mind. Feeling inspired and excited can give you some much needed adrenaline and something to look forward to each day.
If you miss your exercise, why not look into the gyms around you with a crèche so you can have your baby cared for while you work up a sweat or chill out with some yoga? Or you could find a mums and bubs exercise class that you can bring your baby to and join other parents with similar goals to you. Fresh air, conversation and physical action: win, win, win.
7. Keep making plans
It’s ideal if you can factor in some weekly activities for you and baby that keep you both excited. Try to factor in something fun to do that gets you out of the house at least a couple of times a week – as an aside to running errands or getting groceries, activities that can be a little uninspiring. Make plans with friends and get out to the beach, the park or the zoo. Having things to look forward to that are different every week will keep you on your toes and energised.