Wondering how to accomplish basic daily tasks – such as getting dressed – with a baby in tow? Heidi Scrimgeour brings you a step-by-step guide…
Three days after the birth of my first baby I stumbled into the living room and announced earnestly to my husband:
“Ok, it’s time to figure out how to do this thing.”
I was speaking about parenthood in general, obviously, but eleven years later I’m still somewhat bemused by the whole ‘thing’. But I lessened the effects of baby shock by getting to grips with the basics first. I still might not have much clue about how to raise a fully-functional human but I did suss out how to master simple, achievable tasks such as getting dressed, eating every now and then, and even popping to the corner shop for nappies, biscuits, and perhaps an occasional bottle of well-earned wine.
So here, without further ado, is my advice on how to nail getting dressed when your entire life has been sent into disarray by the arrival of a newborn.
Lower your expectations
Pre-babies, getting dressed meant something very different to me than after I became a mum. Then, I was all co-ordinated lingerie, freshly-ironed shift dresses and an enviable shoe collection. These days I consider it a win if my undies are clean rather than co-ordinated, and I pretty much own a pair of leggings for every day of the week. I’m not advocating letting yourself go, I’m just saying that during the phase of motherhood where getting dressed feels like the pinnacle of possible achievement in your day, it’s ok to relax your sartorial standards just a tad.
Ask other people how they do it
Perhaps the most valuable thing I’ve learned as a mum is that most other mums are only too happy to share their triumphs and their tears with you. Know a mum who manages to look perfectly coiffed and yet doesn’t appear to be pulling that off at the expense of actually caring for her child? Ask her for her secrets. You’ll either learn some fabulous tricks and make a new best friend, or you’ll be able to console yourself in your undressed state with the fact that at least you’re not as vain as that mum.
Take the easy route
Have a bath at night instead of trying to take a shower in the morning, restock your wardrobe with ‘slouch wear’ that you can throw on in a hurry in the morning but which wouldn’t cause you to die of shame if you ran into your boss whilst queuing for Krispy Kremes in your local Tesco Direct, and invest in a bouncy chair / Jumperoo thing / whatever piece of baby-containing contraption necessary to allow you to stand under a hot shower for five soulful minutes without wondering if your baby has stopped breathing or worked out how to open the front door.
And above all else, don’t give yourself grief if some days you’re so busy mothering another human that getting dressed is one task you fail to accomplish. Pretty sure that just means you’re winning at life as a mum.