If you’ve just had a baby you may well wonder how you and your infant will ever be able to leave the house before 1pm.
First time around there were so many bits and bobs to collect up, so much stress over feeding times, showering arrangements, teeth brushing, changing the baby’s entire outfit after she shat up to her hairline. Twice. There were buggies to assemble, muslins to gather, breast pads to replenish. It all just seemed so much.
Second time around you wonder what the Dickens you were playing at.
What on earth were you doing, faffing about the place and failing to make it a 10.30 appointment?
What changed? Certainly, the first time around I felt like I’d been involved in a serious car accident after 54 hours of labour (which some of you will fondly remember me live-tweeting back in 2009. Ah, memories!) And there was the luxury of taking a long morning nap after the 6am feed, which doesn’t happen when a toddler’s on the scene.
But that’s not all. It’s more than that. Something more fundamental….
I seriously lowered my standards.
Seriously lowering your standards is the key to a more peaceful experience the second time around. Making Joanne Mallon’s “Good Enough is Good Enough” your mantra will save you stress – and an awful lot of time.
These aren’t time saving tips for dealing with your child more efficiently like some kind of Wonder Parent, these are time-saving tips for helping you to function as a human whilst caring for people who don’t even have enough self-discipline to put their shoes on without stopping 10 times to draw a picture/pick at the wallpaper/admire some dirt/hide My Little Ponies in my shoes/generally dick about.
Katie’s top time-saving tips for new mothers
1. Showering is now optional
Got a new baby and baffled as to how you’re supposed to get ready fast? Easy: just accept that showering is now a luxury to be enjoyed but rarely. Once I would have wrinkled my nose at such an unsanitary suggestion, but these days I often have a shower before bed (whether I need it or no) – or don’t have one at all.
I wear Mitchum 48-hour roll-on deodorant after showering AND top up with a Mitchum spray first thing. I’ll probably die of armpit cancer or something, but at least I’ll smell Powder Fresh.
Remember: Baby wipes are your friend.
With a little time you can reduce your hair washing requirements to every other day, every three days or even once a week depending on your hair type. Anyway, no one can see the grease when it’s all scraped up in a frizzy ponytail. So beautiful!
Remember: Dry shampoo should be sprayed at least 30 centimetres from the head unless you think grey streaks make you look refined.
3. It’s all about the hair oil
I haven’t done a scientific study on this one, but Moroccan Hair Oils and their ilk all promise to reduce hair drying times and I’m totally convinced they’re right (plus, they help make my hair look less like Worzel Gummidge).
Also, get a decent hair dryer to dry hair faster. And, if you can afford it– and don’t feel queasy about the embalming fluids– a Brazilian Blow Dry.
4. Need a treat? Get your eyebrows done
I used to love having facials and getting in a bit of pamper time. Now I get edgy wasting a whole hour and a half while someone covers me in goo, prods me and chatters inanely – I get enough of that from the children. But eyebrows are super-quick to do, make you look really groomed and usually cost about a fiver.
The cheap nail bars or threading stations in shopping malls are my favourites. The staff in salons always spend the whole time lecturing me about pre-booking (I want to run in when I get a spare second, not plan my life around it) and trying to shame me into buying laser treatments for my disastrous face.
Remember: Patience is a virtue for people without children.
5. Get dressed immediately
If you get up and you’re not totally revolting, put real clothes on immediately. It may turn out to be your only opportunity for a long while and wearing pants makes you feel more in control of your destiny (it’s just an illusion sadly).
Remember: Tracksuit bottoms now count as proper clothes.
6. Hide make-up everywhere
However, this doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Why? Because I’ve got BB creams, concealers, mineral foundation, tinted moisturiser, spray foundation and pansticks scattered round every room in the house. And blusher. To hide the sallow, sunken, sleep-deprived resignation.
7. Put a toothbrush in the kitchen
If I miss that brief window of opportunity to brush my teeth in the bathroom, I can spend the rest of the day looking for an opportunity to take a two-minute time out with the Sonicare. Now we all have a toothbrush in the kitchen too, making basic dental hygiene less of a pipe dream.
Also, I brush my teeth in the shower – two minutes longer to enjoy the watery loveliness, whilst also ACHIEVING. It’s all about achieving.
Remember: No one is listening to you with that food stuck in your teeth. Or without that food stuck in your teeth, come to think of it. You’re a mother now.
8. Wear a bra to bed
If you breastfeed you’ll probably wear a comfy feeding bra to bed. This time, I decided not to give up when I shut down the milk bar. I bought myself an array of in no way sexy, but incredibly comfy Belvia bras in pastel colours (see my Belvia bra review on Dork Adore).
Why? Well, I also treated myself to a wide and varied selection of PJs that look like they could actually be real clothes. Now when I answer the door at midday, still in my jammies, I don’t have to pretend to have the flu. Also, I can ignore the total devastation that now exists where my breasts used to be.
I went round to a friend’s house (midday, still in her jammies, filthy woman) and discovered she’s kept the whole bra thing going too. You feel more in control when you’re wearing a bra (it’s just an illusion sadly).
Remember: we’re not talking Carrie Bradshaw style fully wired night lingerie here. As far as I’m concerned, once I’m through the front door my day bra is OFF.
Wow, reading this back, I am essentially a slattern. What are your time hacking tips, fellow lazy parents? Share yours so I don’t feel so disgusting.
(This column is an edited version of the one I already posted on www.dorkadore.com because I’m now too lazy to even write new articles.)