My little man is a toddler but it doesn’t seem like more than two minutes ago that he was a just baby. Everyone says the same thing; to savor every moment as they grow up so fast. Parenting advice is coming out of your ear holes and your little person is taking up all your energy. So my tips are not definitive but as a mummy with MS, here is what I’ve learnt on how to cope.
1. It’s OK to cry
Remember when you feel down, you are not a failure. Whatever helps, just go with the flow. Crying is a stress release. So if you want to cry, have a pity party, it’s normal. Just do it! Probably every parent has been there.
Little ones love routine. The last thing you probably want is having a regimented life when little ones are unpredictable, nights are long and you don't even have enough energy to put on your pj’s. But a routine will pay off. My routine was trying to bath little man before bed, feeding after bath time then bedtime. All night feeding, whatever the time happened in his room, so little man got used to his bedroom even when he was sleeping in our room. The transition from our room to his room was probably easier because of familiarity. Trying to stick to the same time each day helps.
Aside from feeding, pooing and communicating, sleep is what little ones do. You want to work sleeping out, but every little person is different. My advice is do whatever works. We tried story reading at an early age but only recently little man has got involved and it is now part of his routine. I rest when little man sleeps in the day. I’ve tried various medicines, gripe water, baby massage, bottles until I knew what works for different problems. In the early days, we placed a tablet under the crib which played nursery rhymes. Little man hates sleeping in his cot in the day so he slept in the buggy when he was younger and now sleeps on a toddler bed or sofa. For more tips on managing fatigue when you’re an MS mummy, visit my article in 'MS Matters'.
4. Be prepared
Downstairs, there are always enough nappies, wipes, cream, a second changing mat (also one in little man’s room) cloths, an outfit, spare vest, flannels, Calpol, emergency food and monthly stuff for me (including chocolate!). I have a kitchen blackboard to jot things down, which helps me get through the brain fog.
5. Me, me, me!
It took me several months to realize after having little man that I forgot about me. So whether you get a haircut, getting rest because of being a mummy with MS or even painting your nails, it all helps on feeling better about yourself.
Joanne Chapman is a mum with MS who runs her own blog about parenting, Poorly Parents, Mummy with MS. Be sure to follow Joanne on Twitter too!