Raising Mabel – New mum, new skillz

Over the last few weeks I have found myself in some fairly hair-raising situations. Some of them have been really quite amusingly horrendous. The trouble is, when you’re all alone apart from the wailing 5 week old on your hip, there’s nothing else for it – you just have to find a way through. There’s no one to turn to for some commiseration, you just have to grit your teeth, force a smile and think, ‘in half an hour I’ll be able to laugh at this’, (maybe a little longer depending on the severity of the incident). Finding solutions to getting around seemingly impossible tasks, remaining unscathed against all odds, has started to become quite an art. Such is the feeling of unbelievable accomplishment at times, I wish I had a video camera following my every move so I could show my husband when he gets in from work and say, ‘Look. Just you look at what I managed to survive today.’

Every day mothers the world over battle through tremendous adversity in the form of a stack of what once were the most simple of everyday tasks. To celebrate such feats I am dedicating this moment to some of the new-found skills I am proud to have acquired and which I’m sure many of you mums out there picked up long ago. When you have one of those ‘power to the mum’ moments this week, feel free to add it to the list.

NB for any of you who are unfamiliar with the following tasks – many are harder than they sound. Believe me.

In chronological order.

1)   Showering in 45 seconds flat whilst simultaneously attending to a baby on a mat outside the shower door/bouncing a baby bouncer with one wet foot protruding from behind the shower curtain.

2)   Applying a full face of make-up with one hand (baby in the other). Particular achievement it found in applying mascara whilst bobbing up and down at a rapid pace.

3)   Making/eating cereal with one hand whilst standing, baby on hip. The ironing board makes a useful higher surface under these circumstances. The key to minimal milk dribblage lies in getting the bowl as close to your face as possible with no hands. Intense.

4)   Getting baby, handbag/nappy bag, blanket, coat, brolly etc singlehandedly down 3 flights of stairs to the bottom of the hall and loaded onto the pram without dropping said baby. It is important to note that, unless you fancy carrying the whole lot up again, only one trip is possible. If you accidently leave something in the flat, even if it is your sanity, it stays in the flat.

5)   Changing a nappy in public in the pram/on a bench/on pretty much any available flat surface, whilst avoiding any ‘al fresco’ canon-like explosions that may emerge from her bottom, and whilst trying to keep her (and your own) dignity intact. Taxing.

6)   Pushing the pram with one hand whilst talking on the phone/opening doors/carrying shopping/hoovering/blow-drying your hair.

7)   Bumping a pram up 2 flights of stairs without waking the baby (or breaking your back).

8)   Carrying the baby on your front in a sling, whilst also carrying your handbag. Then managing to retrieve your purse from your handbag when attempting to make a purchase. This had me foxed for at least 5 minutes.

9)   Standing on the moving subway with a baby strapped to your front whilst bobbing up and down to stop them crying, without falling over. Unfortunately ones dignity is hard to salvage with this one. Just try not to make eye contact with anyone.

10) Typing an email with one hand. Make that your left hand. Slow.

These are just the first ten that sprung to mind. Sometimes it feels like every moment in any given 24 hour period holds it’s own Everest. But instead of throwing myself off the Forth Road Bridge, I’m just going to give myself a pat on the back and a big well done. I think we all should. And then pour ourselves a large glass of wine.