Time. It’s a funny thing. You never think you have enough of it, then something happens and you have even less. But you cope. Then something comes along taking more of it, and you wonder where you’ll find it. But you do.
Most women are familiar with the daily struggle to fit everything in. Then a baby comes along and you wonder what you used to do all day. Where you used to need hours to get ready for a night out, now you can do it in minutes. For the first few months of motherhood, simply finding the time to wash your hair seems a struggle, but, somehow, you manage.
The thing is, there are shortcuts. Nobody need know about some of them, but others can be a lifesaver in a busy mum’s schedule, so we’ve handpicked a few that really will make your life easier and maybe even give you back a few precious minutes. What you do with those minutes is up to you. Us? We’re spending ours on a long, hot bath!
If you’ve wrestled one too many times with a buggy full of changing mats, blankets, waterproof covers, spare warm clothes and foot muffs, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s finally an answer to the common parenting annoyance of ‘too much kit’. The award-winning BundleBean is a waterproof nylon shell backed with cosy fleece material that keeps baby snug inside his pushchair, away from the elements. Available from Asda, the BundleBean’s unique zip-seam feature means it can be taken in place of a dozen other items. It fits onto any pushchair, car seat, bike seat or front-style baby carrier, or opens it up as a change mat, play-mat or picnic rug.
For mums who like lunching, the brilliant Totseat is a must-have. This washable, squashable high chair rolls up into a little ball, then can be opened up and fitted onto any chair to make it suitable for little ones aged between six months and about three years. I like to call it the straightjacket for my little boy, who loves to grab at whatever he can (usually knives, my food, china plates). It keeps him safely tied up supported, while we eat, but means he can join in mealtimes and we can eat anywhere, even if they don’t have highchairs, or they’re all taken up by other families.
So, now you’ve got less in your essentials bag, but you want to do some shopping, and said bag is still bulging out of the bottom of the pushchair. Never fear – the Hamster buggy bags are here! Battling with those clips you buy in Boots that clip on the handle is never fun, and neither is the countless amount of times you arrive at the till with a basket full of shopping, only to realise they’ve flown off and flipped someone in the face back in the cheese aisle.Luckily, the Hamster bags are a lot more secure and hold more too. Saving you time waddling down the street doing a better balancing act than a German gymnast on the tightrope. And contrary to first impressions, they don’t tip the buggy over either. Meaning your little angel stays facing forwards, not skywards, as you grapple for change for the parking meter!
Finally, when you’re all lunched out, have done your shopping and are back home. Who wants to spend hours lulling little angel to sleep when you could be indulging in a nice crisp glass of white? But getting them off to sleep is often easier said than done, so there is an array of sleep aids on the market. I must admit, I’ve tried most of them, but found the best to be the Magic Mitten. Costing £29, the Magic Mitten is an ingenious handheld mitten with an inbuilt MP3 player which plays white noise at a safe level direct into your baby’s ear. The Magic Mitten is one of those products designed by a parent, for parents, so is easy to use and turns itself off after ten minutes to save battery and allow baby to sleep soundly once they’ve drifted off.
The other sleep aid I fund surprisingly successful was Ewan the Sheep, part of the Sweet Dreamers. We didn’t get Ewan until my son had just turned one, but we wouldn’t dream of being without him now. Well worth the £29.99 price tag. Ewan is a cute and cuddly sheep that emits soothing noises at a low base frequency and has a calming pink glow. Noises include actual recordings of sounds from the womb, and heartbeats, as well as vacuum cleaner, rain and harp cycles – so you’re bound to find one to suit your little one. And don’t just take my word for it – Ewan is the sleep aid choice of celebs, with stars including Lily Allen, Una ‘Saturdays’ Healey and Amanda Holden among his legion of fans. Creator Lynda Harding has also offered one for King in waiting Prince George – after Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, lamented the sleepless nights he and Kate are currently suffering.
Having a baby is never easy, and the little buggers angels have a habit of turning what used to be simple tasks into missions harder to accomplish than climbing Everest. But with a little planning, and a bit of shopping around, it’s possible for every mum to find little gems like these to help make life that little bit easier.
We’d love to hear what gadgets and gimmicks you’ve found that take a bit of the bother out of motherhood, feel free to comment below on your best finds. But don’t take too long. Make the most of your spare minutes – they might not come along again for a while!