"Have kids!" they said. "It’ll be fun!" they said. Come on, don’t be shy, there’s no judgment here. As much as I love my terrible two, I miss the days when I was free to shower and pee without a child watching me. But I like to think I’ve got a few hacks under my belt, which have helped me reclaim a bit of my time back. So here we go:
1. Reclaim your... personal hygiene
While the honesty train is rolling, let’s see a show of hands from those who have swapped baths for rub downs with wet wipes or flannels. Grim, huh? The quick fix to get bathtime back? Let them join in. The 5-month-old sits in her bouncer in the bathroom while I have a bath. I line up the toys around her and this gives me a chance to hop in the tub for a whole 10-15 minutes of pure bliss - before she gets bored again.
2. Reclaim your... inner Nigella
Clingy babies and cooking just don’t mix. Fact. If you’re in my boat you’ll know how hard it is to chop anything while holding a baby. But if you gotta cook for a hangry 5-year-old (or partner) then sometimes you’ve got to get a little creative. My answer: a baby carrier. Stick ‘em in, and you’re hands-free to whip up a storm. Of course I’m not talking about a Masterchef-worthy meal… we all know babies, splashing fat and steam don’t mix - think more sarnies, salads or just leave the gourmet cooking until they're in bed.
3. Reclaim your... social life
It’s all very well and good your mates popping round all the time, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house. I used to take the whole kitchen sink with me when the now 5-year-old was a baby and I visited my friends, but with the 5-month-old diva I’ve learned that a portable playmat is all I need. It means I can put her down on any floor without worrying and because she plays on it at home, it means she has some familiarity in different surroundings too. Score.
4. Reclaim your... living room
Our living room looks like a nursery threw up in it. By bedtime, all I want to do is sit on the sofa with a glass of gin and ignore the toys under my feet. The quick, cool fix? Fun toy storage that's easy to sling their stuff into but looks attractive too. We love Aykasa crates because they come in so many cool colours, stack and fold away too, when you're not using them. Genuis.
5. Reclaim your... sleep
"Dear Sleep, I’m sorry for all the times I cheated on you & stayed out all night, but I’d give anything just to have you back for a few more hours." Agree? You’re obviously a parent with a baby that hasn’t quite mastered the art of all night sleeping. Our lifesaver? A nest-type baby bed. It cocoons your little sleep thief and makes them feel like they’re being cuddled. Perfect for clingy little ones who aren’t quite used to the big space of their cot.
6. Reclaim their ‘newborn’ time
Baby crawling? Mine too. And we all know that brings up a whole host of new issues. Suddenly you can’t just leave them on a playmat & pop to do something. The answer? A travel cot. Set it up in your living room & add in a few plastic balls and their fave toy. It’s a great little way to keep them enclosed and safe while you get on with stuff. Oh, and let’s not forget how handy that travel cot can be on trips away too. #doublewin.
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