Looking after a baby can feel like Groundhog Day. Each day the same – wiping down the high chair and mopping up juice for the umpteenth time. Then there’s the repetition of playtime – same TV programmes, books, toys.
Of course being a mum is the best thing that’s ever happened to you and it’s fascinating to see your baby develop. Let’s face it, though, some aspects of motherhood are just dull.
A study of 2,000 mums for homeopathic destresser Bach Rescue Remedy revealed they have just half an hour to themselves each day. No wonder we often feel like our own needs are being forgotten – it’s just that we find it hard to admit it.
‘It is one of the last taboos,’ agrees psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley. ‘We feel we must be gushing with fulfilment all the time and we daren’t admit otherwise.’
The first step, then, is acknowledging being a mum can be exhausting and tedious. You’re not being negative – you’re just being honest. Once you’ve had that reality check, you can refocus on the positive.
‘Have a moan,’ Dr Wheatley says. ‘Then try to see the good side. If mealtimes are a chore, look at how healthy your toddler is because of how well you feed him.
‘If she complains when you get her dressed, give yourself a pat on the back that you’re bringing up a determined little girl.‘Remember life is how it is at the moment, but as your child is constantly changing it won’t be this way forever.’
And when she wants to sing the same song all day, every day, again think positive. Remind yourself that repetition makes her feel secure and it’s how she’s learning.
Of course it’s not just the baby routine that can feel so relentless. It’s the sheer domestic grind, too. You might not be able to totally avoid the household chores, but try to keep them in perspective. Forget being a domestic goddess and putting yourself under pressure to keep the house spotless.
BC (before children) you went to work, read a paper, and had conversations that didn’t revolve around nappies and teething. When you haven’t had any adult company all day, it’s easy to feel isolated.
‘Now you’re at home, try to mimic how you kept things fresh at work,’ says Dr Wheatley. ‘Get out of the house to meet other mums at toddler groups and make some time for yourself by going to the gym (most have crèches). It could be as challenging as working on a new skill or as simple as always making sure you have an interesting book around to read.’
8 boredom-busting ideas
We’re not suggesting you let the house go to pot and leave the kids in their pyjamas all day, but you could try these tips to keep things fresh:
1. Do the minimum required to keep your house running and children fed and clean. You can’t possibly keep the house as spotless as it was pre-baby.
2. Set aside times of the day, such as early afternoon, when you don’t do chores. Otherwise your routine can seem relentless.
3. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not playing constantly with your baby. They need to learn how to entertain themselves.
4. Ditch the baby talk. Just for a few minutes talk about something totally different. Keep your brain cells working by reading a newspaper or book, watching a current affairs programme, doing a crossword or a word search.
5. Include older children in household chores. Give them a duster to play with, or the washing basket.
6. Don’t lose touch with your old friends. They knew you pre-baby and will make you feel like the old you.
7. Commit to doing one new thing each week – whether it’s cooking something new or visiting somewhere in your local town you’ve not been before.
8. Make a ‘date’ with your partner. It gives you something to look forward to and will make you feel like a woman, instead of ‘Mummy’.