So, it has been three weeks since I hung up my work satchel and donned the (even more) food stained cardigan of a full-time SAHM.
Things I have learnt so far:
1. Get out the house EVERY DAY. Without fail, unless one or both of you is poorly. Even in the rain. Suddenly the scales of trying to combine work-and-motherhood-perfection have been lifted. So many previous days off were spent in the house, alone, eyeballing the baby. No wonder I foundered. Butterfly minded small people need distractions and changes of scenery. Mamas need space.
2. Find a plethora of free and low cost things to diversify things you can go to regularly. This week we have been to the park, the beach, a free science museum with hall of mirrors and small soft play area for under 5s, a parent and toddler group and our usual signing class. We seem to be gingerly finding a routine of doing an activity or outing for one half of the day and being at home for the other.
3. Set a goal time to both be dressed. This sounds really silly especially with a nearly-2 year old, but I have found it helps. Unless we have to be out earlier, our goal is for at least one if not both of us to be dressed by 9am. Invariably, at 9:01am I jump into the shower whilst Numtums distracts Wriggles. It is not the end of the world if we are still in jimjams, and sometimes a lazy morning is just what is needed. Not every day though. Or it will drive me mad.
4. Socialise. Even if you think you want to be a hermit. It doesn't mean you are sidelining your child. My best moments this week have been when in the company of friends. Judging by Wriggles' giggling, I think she would back me up on this point.
5. Try to hang the washing out on the same day you have done it.
6. Ditto the washing up.
7. Even if you are tired, lunch does not = a packet of biscuits. There is a lot to be said for (very vague) meal planning. An area for definite improvement!
8. No one really cares if one or both of you is not wearing matching socks.
9. All mothers will occasionally loose their rag. It does not make you the devil incarnate. Breathe in and count to 10. Glare at toy Rabbit. Glare at small child if necessary-she probably has her back to you terrorising the bookcase again anyway. Stomp off to another room for a few seconds. Having an emergency chocolate tin really helps. Toddlers, it seems, were invented to try the patience of a saint. All this hard work of winding you up will be undone in an instant once they reach out sticky hands to loop round your neck.
10. Ignore all nosey bats. One mile in each others shoes and all that.