As you may have rightly guessed, I am currently a stay at home mum with the sprog who is 11 months. I never thought that I would spend more than 6 to 9 months with my baby. I always thought she would go to Nursery once she was weaned on to solids, but that hasn’t happened. I think that in many ways, we are quite lucky to be able to give her the foundation that we think she needs before handing her over to early years experts at Nursery. Of course not every family is able to do this, and there is no right or wrong way. If a mother has to return to work, then another primary care giver must be found.
Being at home provides me the opportunity to spend ample time with my baby. It can be both satisfying and rewarding, but also exhausting at times. There are days when I just want to send her to Nursery, and there are other days when I cannot stop smiling at her big bright smiles and precious antics. It’s great to spend the day when she eats what I feed her, naps when she should, and plays away if mama has to tackle a few tasks around the house. Not so great when she cries all the time, and is generally cranky as babies can be sometimes.
The one thing that keeps me sane, is a routine. Within that routine, a list of games and at least one trip out of the house keeps things manageable and interesting for the sprog and myself. Below is a typical routine for weekdays.
6.30-7.30am: I can hear her humming and sucking on Peter Rabbit, I have an hour to have a shower and get ready for the day.
7.30-8.00am: Go down to her room, morning cuddles, nappy change and go to the kitchen for milk.
8.00-8.30am: Read a story or just play.
10.00-12noon: Wash and get dressed, have a small mid-morning snack, go to a baby class or sit and play session run locally. She naps in her pushchair.
12noon-2.00pm: Might go home and have lunch, or go into town to run errands. Have lunch on the go.
2.00-4.000pm: Sing and play. She cruises around the house, exploring things, while I run errands next to her. Then offer a mid-afternoon snack and water.
4.00- 5.00pm: Convince her to have a nap. In the last 3 days, this has now become increasingly difficult. I think she may be dropping the afternoon nap.
6pm-7.30pm: Finish dinner, play, do her bedtime routine including a nice warm bath, lights out, go to sleep.
Now this is only the perfect scenario, there are days when we end up staying indoors although I try to keep these at a minimum because she is much easier to manage and less bored when she’s been outdoors. There are days, like yesterday, when she is so cranky as a result of the missed nap, that she won’t stop crying. Other days, she chooses to cling to the back of my legs and thus I am unable to do much around the house.
Whatever the case, the best advice I received regarding looking after babies is to establish a routine which includes leaving the house at least once a day, and I am glad I listened. Going out makes a world of difference to a baby’s temperament because the fresh air, and the world out there, feed their curiosity and they sleep so well afterwards, at least our baby does.