[This post is a collaboration with SIGG Bottles]
I know I’m far from the only person to see September as the real start of the year – something to do with all of those ‘back to school’ associations, I guess – but this September I’m feeling extra-motivated to make a fresh start, because this month, for the first time since Max was born, I’m starting to see the possibility of returning to some kind of “normal” routine again.
Of course, you’ll note that I’ve put the word “normal” in inverted commas, here. We’re still very, very far away from anything I might previously have recognised as “normal”, but, well, having a new baby is such a shock to the system that, for the first few months, it’s all you can do to just get through each day, and keep your head above water: or, it was for me, anyway.
In my case, self-care was the first thing to go out of the window during those early months, so, now that I’m starting to feel just a little bit more in control of life again (I mean, I managed to change the bedsheets this morning, even although Max is currently going through a phase where he must be held at all times. This is HUGE, people. HUGE.), I figured it was as good a time as any to make a few little lifestyle changes: nothing too dramatic, obviously, but here are five things I’m hoping to get to grips with this month…
Drink more water
When Max was a week old, Terry had to be taken to hospital, suffering from an extreme case of gout.
Yeah: gout. The condition I’ve always associated with Henry the Eighth, and which I assumed was caused by drinking too much port or something, but which actually turns out to be something people with transplants are prone to if they don’t drink enough water. Now, as a kidney transplant recipient, Terry has to be quite careful about staying appropriately hydrated, and, under normal circumstances, he’s borderline fanatical about it. The first week with a newborn was the exact opposite of “normal” circumstances, though, and it quickly became clear that, in our bid to look after Max as well as we possibly could, Terry and I totally failed to look after ourselves, too.
I was lucky: I didn’t get gout. I don’t think I sat down to a proper meal, or finished a single cup of coffee either, though, and, to be totally honest, I’m still not doing great on that front even now. And, I mean, that sounds ridiculous, I know. Before I had Max, I would’ve totally rolled my eyes at someone claiming to not even have time to drink a cup of coffee, because, HELLO, babies sleep! And staying hydrated isn’t exactly hard, is it?
Well, no. But also yes. Because, the thing is, the baby wakes up needing fed and changed, and then, while you’re feeding him, he poops, so you have to change him again, and then, while you’re changing him, he spits up, so you have to change his clothes, and by the time you’ve done that he wants to sleep, but only on YOU, and when he wakes up, he has to be fed and changed again, and it just goes on and on and on, to the point where you basically get used to drinking your coffee cold, and your chilled drinks warm, and you assume that’s the way it’ll be forever. Or at least until he goes to school, anyway.
Enter SIGG bottles – who, earlier this month, were kind enough to send Terry and I a bottle each, in a bid to help cure us of our dehydrated ways.
My bottle is the SIGG Hot & Cold glass, pictured on the right, and, as well as looking pretty when it’s filled with colourful fruits, it also has the ability to keep hot drinks hot, and cold drinks cold, until such a time as you get around to actually, you know, drinking them. It has two filters – a longer one for things like loose tea, and a shorter one which you can use for tea leaves, etc – and you can use it for any kind of drink you like, but, as you can see, my favourite thing to do is to fill it with water and fruit, and then just keep it with me, so I can keep sipping from it throughout the day. Drinking enough water is something I’ve always struggled with, but I’m doing my best to remember to fill this up in the morning, and then keep it in plain sight, so I can at least try to stay hydrated. (Oh, and I’ve also used it for coffee, because, don’t worry, I’ve not turned into some kind of virtuous water drinker: I still love my caffeine.)
Terry, meanwhile, is a tea drinker, and gets a lot of his fluids from the huge mugs of tea that are now always going cold before he gets a chance to finish them. He went for the SIGG Hot & Cold Brushed, which is a super-sized bottle which keeps his tea hot for HOURS, seriously. It also comes with its own drinking cup, which can be attached to either the top or bottom of the bottle, and, as with all SIGG bottles, it’s 100% leakproof, and BPA free, so it’s safe to drink from. And, well, it looks good, too… which is important, obviously.
We’ve been really impressed with these bottles so far, and as we’re obviously REALLY keen to avoid a repeat of January’s trip to Accident & Emergency, we’re very grateful for the constant reminder they provide to KEEP DRINKING, IDIOTS. Yes.
Eat less junk
OK, standard ‘New Year’s Resolution’ stuff here, obviously, but although I’m back into my pre-baby clothes again, I honestly couldn’t really tell you how on earth that happened, because my diet has been terrible this year, seriously. Once again, I’m going to blame Max’s arrival for this state of affairs, even although I know it’s 100% my own stupid fault. When you’re sleep deprived and struggling to just make it through the day, though, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a nutritious meal, so we’ve been far too reliant on takeaways and meals out lately. We’ve also developed a dangerous habit of just collapsing in front of the TV as soon as Max is in bed for the night, and I say “dangerous” here, because, I don’t know about you, but I’m incapable of watching TV without crisps, or chocolate, or halloumi, or whatever. I should be able to resist all of this, obviously, but, the first thing you learn about parenthood is that the days are really, really freaking long, and, when I finally get to the end of one, I have a tendency to think, “Ah, you know what, I deserve a treat! Ima just have one square of that chocolate I bought this morning!” And then eating the whole bar of it, obviously. Gah.
Anyway, now that we’re cooking for Max, too, we’re already doing better with this, because we’re basically forced to make healthier choices. As for the snacking in front of the TV, meanwhile, well, I currently have a fridge full of kale, and I WILL grill it. Tomorrow, maybe. Once I’ve finished all of the chocolate and crisps, because it would be a shame to let them go to waste, right?
As above, basically. When Max was born, I had this idea that I’d be taking lots of long walks with him in the pram… then, the first time I tried to do it, I realised that all of the footpaths leading out of our village are only paved until you leave the village itself, and then they turn to this weird rubble-like surface, that’s almost impossible to push the stroller over. So, my only options are to either make endless circuits of the village itself, or get in the car and drive somewhere I CAN walk around easily (Or, yes, use the sling. Which I honestly kind of hate. Yes, I know it’s shocking, but I do…), and neither of those options are particularly appealing, so I’ve found it really easy to convince myself I just CAN’T do any exercise, even although it’s blatantly obvious that I totally could if I tried.
This month, however, brings two revelations:
01. The council are paving at least one of the footpaths out of the village, thus making it possible for me to walk to the NEXT village and back safely.
02. It suddenly occurred to me that THE MALL is a place I could drive to and then walk around. And that’s a MUCH more appealing prospect, for some reason. Oh, and I can take my SIGG bottle, and pretend I’m being healthy, when I’m actually just shopping: what’s not to love?
Go minimal at home
I’ve talked about this before, but, since Max arrived, my house has gradually filled up with baby equipment, and, because I don’t have the same amount of time to clean it these days, I have to admit that I’ve really been struggling with the mess, and how it affects my mood. In a bid to try and combat that, I’ve been on a mission to go minimal – or, even MORE minimal, rather. I mean, I know people tend to describe my house as “minimal” anyway, but I think it’s just because our decor style makes it look that way: like anyone else, we have tons of stuff squirrelled away everywhere, and, with more and more of it arriving every week, courtesy of Max, I’ve decided the best way to try to keep the place tidy is by drastically reducing the amount of STUFF we have.
I started – predictably – with a massive closet clear-out, in which I got rid of probably about 40% of my clothes (I guess it helps here that I’ve been absolutely HATING everything I own lately, and not finding much to replace it with…), and I’ve also been doing my best to get rid of at least one thing every day, whether it be something small, like an ancient lipstick I haven’t used in years, or something larger, like the baby equipment Max has already outgrown. It’s a work in process, and it’s going to take a while to get things how I want them, but I just don’t have the time right now to tackle a full-scale clearout, and every little helps, right?
Speaking of STUFF, meanwhile…
Spend money on experiences rather than stuff
I mean, I think I’ll always be a shopaholic (I may be in a bit of a rut right now, fashion-wise, but there’s no amount of slogan sweatshirts that I’d consider to be “enough” for me, and, of course, baby clothes are just SO CUTE that can I help it if they keep on falling into my basket? I think not…), but this year I’ve been inspired to start spending less on material things, and more on experiences. We’d really like to be able to do some more travelling with Max, and, as he gets older, we’re going to want to take him on fun days out, so I’ve been using Plum to add to my savings, and I’m trying my best to spend less on clothes etc, so I have more spare cash for all of those other things I want to do.
In all honesty, I’m not doing great at this – like, I went into Sainsbury’s this weekend to buy some flavoured tea stuff I saw for my new water bottle, and came out with two giant cushions and NO TEA, so that was AWESOME, seriously – but I can but try, right?
So, tell me: anyone else got that ‘Back to school’ feeling this September? What are you doing to make a fresh start?