God this is hard. So hard.
I think a good support network can definitely help with this one as babies can literally take over your life. Whether that be your partner, parents, or friends, having someone who can give you half an hour to grab a shower is a blessing.
Finding time for yourself when looking after a baby can seem impossible. I mean, you’d really like to enjoy a hot cuppa but when are you supposed to do that? Or get out in the garden and start your weeding ready for planting? Or even just having a nice kip?
In my situation I’ve found that a lot of the childcare duties end up being my responsibility. It’s not my husband’s fault, it’s just that as I am home all day with Baby B I am (as he once said) more in tune with what she wants when she is getting a bit grumpy. This means that even when I’ve handed her over for him to play with/feed/change etc he will be looking to me as a guide for what he can do to keep her happy. This makes it very difficult to switch off from being ‘mum’ even on my downtime.
Sometimes getting out of the house and leaving baby with your other half can help (if you’re ready of course), or even just leaving and going into the other room to have a read for an hour. It can be so helpful for you to just have this time to reboot. Looking after a baby 24/7 can be incredibly draining (particularly if they are going through a difficult patch) and for your own mental health I would recommend finding something that you can do for yourself.
For me, it is a mix of cooking/baking and gaming on our Xbox. I also enjoy getting out into the garden so as the weather improves I hope to do more of that. Now the cooking/baking/gardening I can actually do with Baby B in tow, she enjoys watching me do different things and it stimulates her for me to explain what I’m doing as we go along. The gaming though I really need to have my hands free! At present my favourite game is For Honor, it allows me to ‘battle’ other people which can be really helpful with stress relief.
I used to enjoy reading as well, and if I got back into it I probably still would. I’ve got a number of unfinished books ready on my Kindle which I really should crack on with but sometimes I find it a bit daunting a task to tackle – plus I have a tendency to fall asleep with it in my hands!