We are due our 4th baby in just 20 weeks time, and we’ve heard the same piece of advice, time and time again- sleep as much as you can before the baby arrives because once the little bundle of joy is born, you will not be getting any sleep for a few years.
This is, of course, a comic exaggeration, but the fact is that raising children is exhausting and takes up a lot of time. There is so much to do every day that it works out to be way more hours than a regular job where you are employed and go into an office for instance. While having children is the greatest joy anyone can experience in life, you will always need a break at one point or another. It may be that you should take a weekend away with your partner and leave your children with a friend or with the grandparents, or every once in awhile you should get a babysitter and go out for the evening. It does not need to be far, or at all extravagant. You could just go to a local restaurant or bar to relax for a few hours. It gives you something to look forward to and if you do not yet have children, you will not believe how much you miss adult conversation once you only have kids to talk to all day.
I must admit, we have only ever done this the once. It was one night away (and technically I was still working) to a hotel in Scarborough. We spent more time driving there than actually in the hotel. we did attempt to go to a gig for our anniversary but both myself and my husband fell really f***ing ill once we arrived at the venue. Massive fail. Over 5 years of kids, and only 1 night off. No wonder we are wrecks.
Going out is one thing, but being able to relax at home is crucial too. When the little ones are asleep, it is time for you to start doing all sorts of other jobs that you still need to do. When they are at school or nursery, you can get things done, but when they get home, you have to keep them safe and entertained as well as helping them with homework, making food for them, and getting them washed and ready for bed as well as the endless pile of laundry and monotonous hovering. You have to find some time for yourself or else you will be overwhelmed. Feeling guilty about this is normal but you cannot do without it. Here are a few ways that you can make a space in your home where you can relax:
- The reality of having children is that when they are born, you suddenly have to share your home with them. This means that they will get a room to themselves, as well as having space to play (and leaving their toys everywhere). You need a space that is all yours too though. A place to sit to watch television or talk to your partner is paramount. Since it’s for you, you should make it luxurious (such as indulging yourself by getting a brown chesterfield sofa). Open a bottle of wine and relax because you deserve it. I like to make sure that once the girls are in bed, the living room is tidied of toys and the days’ mess. I light candles and turn the main light off. We either watch TV or sit and read together. I often knit or crochet, while jay works on his next Airfix kit.
- It is not just a comfortable room that you need though. Raising children is so hectic that you often find that you don’t have time to yourself. It is, therefore, important to set aside time each day for you and your partner. It may just be half and hour when you talk about what you did that day, or you could decide to watch an episode of a sitcom every night on Netflix. Either way, making it a habit that you stick to will ensure that you can still spend time with your loved one. We have some firm fave’s (if sitcom’s aren’t your thing) on Netflix, and I thoroughly recommended American Horror Story, Stranger Things, American Crime Story Breaking Bad and we’ve just started on The OA. You can read about my American Horror Story obsession here.
- Make your bedroom a place to chill without technology. Our days are constantly bombarded with tech. Computers in the office, smart phones attached to our hands 24/7, iPads during the commute and smart TV’s every evening. We took all technology out of out bedroom, and created a relaxing environment to sit back and read in. We do occasionally bring the laptop upstairs (for our Netflix binge) and eat snacks in bed but that is fine. It’s our child free, chill out time.
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