Work, party or play, you can do it all, and more – even if you have just had a baby.
For the longest time, I got the jitters whenever someone said that it was high time I had kids. Forget the basic maternal instinct or the biological clock, my biggest concerns were very practical.
Who would take care of the child? Would I need to quit my job? What would happen to my precious career? And most of all, what would happen to my social life? Would I have to stay home all the time, just looking after the baby? Would all my late night movies and fun weekends be gone?
I wasn’t overreacting. I had heard stories more like horror stories! from people who had had children and whose lives had come to a standstill for the initial few years at least.
So I didn’t want a baby just yet. Then one day, to my surprise, I found I was pregnant. Completely unprepared for this, my reaction went from surprise to shock to panic. Hell, was I losing it even before I had my little one in my arms? I was a nervous wreck till something clicked in my mind.
“Isn’t this my baby? I asked myself. “So why will he/she not be the way I am? And why can’t I do and enjoy all the things that I love to do, with him or her?”
Now my baby Tara is exactly one year, one month and three weeks old and I can say with all conviction that your child can never be a reason for your life to stop. Instead she or he is just one more reason to party for and with!
So keep this basic checklist in mind and go, have a ball.
1. Take a conscious break of a minimum of an hour from feeding, cleaning and fussing over the baby, especially during the first three months. This is a must. Get up, take a break. This is a crucial period in your life, when your baby suddenly takes over your life completely. Most women go into bad post partum depressions in this period. So take a break from baby. Go for a walk, buy grocery from a nearby market or just have a quick, healthy dinner or lunch out. But do it. Leave after feeding the baby and making him/her comfortable for the next couple of hours. Get someone responsible in the family to watch over her or him.
2.Start taking the baby out. Really, this one’s not a big deal. In fact, you are far more at peace if your child is with you. Start with smaller outings. Feed the baby well and change her or him into fresh diapers and clothes. Chances are, the baby will be so comfortable that she or he will simply snooze.
3.Keep a baby bag ready always. Pack some basics – diapers, a baby cloth (to avoid laying the baby on unclean bassinets), a wrap (for sudden temperature changes), baby wipes, tissues and a set of fresh clothes – and you are ready to go.
4.Wear comfortable clothes. Unless you are going to a formal party, wear your most comfortable pair of jeans or tracks, a skirt or whatever works.
5.Don’t carry a heavy purse. A sling bag with essentials like your wallet, cards, etc is best to carry along with the baby and the baby bag.
6. Carry finger food for the baby. It’s necessary to make sure the baby is fully fed. But it isn’t necessary to stress about his/her meals and meal timings. So please don’t insist on the ghar ka dal chawal when out. The kid needs a break too. Pack some semi-mashed cheese wheat pasta, or boiled eggs or grilled fish to feed your kid on the go. If your baby is teething, keep some biscuits handy.
7.Keep milk handy. Formula milk is always a better option when you’re out. Fill two or three bottles with powder milk and carry a small flask of warm water. If you can’t carry water, don’t stress, bottled water is a good option.
8.Sure, going to a disco, a lounge bar, etc, may get a little inconvenient, but a get-together at a friend’s home or your own is always a great option. Take your baby along. With loads of people to watch out for them, kids tend to become far more receptive and social than those who don’t go out. Lounges and discos can always happen once in a way, but on those days, keep the little one home.
9.If you feel babies can’t be taken to cinema halls, come watch a movie with Tara. I’m a hardcore film buff and I refused to let my de-stress mantra become a stress point. So Tara goes with me always. Of course avoid very violent films that may have disturbing sound tracks. Go for a night show, close to the baby’s sleep time. Feed the baby well and take him/her. Carry a feeding bottle just in case. For those who are still on mother’s milk, it’s the easiest. Block a comfortable seat and once the lights are out and your baby wants milk, feed him/her. Cover the ears a little and hold him/her close, nothing can be more comforting for the baby than mum’s lap. The baby will soon be asleep and you can watch the film in bliss.
10.Work, don’t stress. For working mums, life can be guilt ridden after having a baby. But really, no time is a good time to leave your child and go to work. So start as early as you need to. I started full time work when she was all of four months old. Manage your time a little. While the child gets used to not being cuddled all the time, the mother too gets a breather, which is welcome. Life without the angst of blaming sacrifices on the poor child is far more pleasant.
And finally, get your support structure in order. Those with parents at home are lucky but for others like us, a good set of domestic helpers, a good security system, and great neighbours who will keep an eye on your home when you are away, always count. Be a little more social and keep relationships intact. Your child will be the life of the party.
From HT Brunch, December 18
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