Even when you’re sharing a house with a brand new baby, it’s hard to believe how impossible it is to get basic tasks done. Most of us spend the months before birth thinking, ‘I’ll finish off that book/hang that picture/sign up for that tap dancing course when the baby arrives,’ only to find ourselves begging our other halves to come home from work at 3.30pm so we can have a wee and a sandwich.
But fear not. These revolting life hacks will ensure that basic living standards are maintained (well, kinda) ’til you’re out the other side of the ‘adorable barnacle’ phase of babyhood.
Bring the day to your duvet
If your baby is up for most of the night and ready to start the day at 5.05am, you need to bring the day to your duvet. A TV or laptop screen, a few baby toys and a pile of toast will buy some time to lie around in a daze without actually getting up.
Get medieval with the dirty nappies
Being cooped up in a house that smells like a nappy bin is no fun, but making it all the way out to the wheelie bin with stinky nappy bag every time your darling child unleashes hell into their Pampers is harder than it sounds. Plop the offending item on the doorstep. Chuck it into the garden. And remember, ferrying the pile to the big bin is a lovely way for your other half to get involved with the nitty gritty of baby care when they come home.
Sack off table manners
Prepping food can be tricky when there’s a newborn stuck to you. Even eating cereal is tricky (and usually results in a solid minute of panic when you think the baby’s suddenly developed the world’s worst case of cradle cap that turns out to be five soggy cornflakes). Give up on the niceties of plates, cutlery and sitting down and make sure you’ve got stuff prepped that can be eaten with one hand – sarnies, quiche, fruit, cold pizza. Living off biscuits is fun but not really sustainable for the whole fourth trimester.
Tune in to trash TV
If you’re knackered and finding it hard to follow your own thoughts, let alone a complicated storyline, embrace all things daytime, soaps and reality shows. That’s what it’s there for. Even hours of music videos can provide just enough stimulation to get you through the day, and babies seem to really like trashy pop music.
Embrace the Cupboard of Shame
If you don’t already have a corner where you shove things you just can’t deal with right now – a cupboard, the broken shower cubicle, the spare room – now’s the time to get that party started. The nursery, all beautifully decorated and actually not needed for six months while the baby’s in your room, is a good spot. Too-big baby clothes, maternity clothes you need to give back, the congrats cards that you can’t bear to throw out – you can always Marie Kondo the flip out of them in six months’ time. ‘Til then, adios those mini guilt mountains!
Despite getting less sleep than ever before, new mums spend a lot of the day wearing PJs. And when you’ve got a cranky baby who catnaps, clusterfeeds, clings or all of the above, getting your entire, baby-free naked self into the bath or shower can be mission impossible. Break it down into manageable chunks – a tooth scrub here, a facewash there, a quick hairwash over the edge of the bath when the mum bun’s gone feral – and don’t feel bad if it gets to 8pm before you’ve managed much more than a squirt of dry shampoo and a swill of mouthwash, the baby couldn’t care less.