It’s been an extremely busy week. With a baby we have to be particularly organised, especially as we’re out and about so often.
Normally, although I would by no means consider us expert level, (our lives are and will most likely always be pretty chaotic!) we have, after five months of being parents, pretty much got it down to a way that works for us. The changing bag is our lifeline that contains everything we need and we always ensure we have a supply of ready feeds etc in tow.
However, sometimes, this well oiled machine (‘well oiled’ is probably the wrong term but sounds much better than ‘haphazard whirlwind of chaos’!) goes slightly off track and this week, well…Mummy derailed!
If you had asked me a few days ago,
‘Danielle, have you ever dressed your baby in a plastic bag?’
I would have said,
‘Don’t be ridiculous, plastic bags are not appropriate baby wear!’
On the other hand, if you’d have asked me on Thursday, I…well it’s still no, Scarlett’s not been going round in a plastic bag dress just yet. HOWEVER, whilst Daddy was teaching in one room, Mummy started changing baby in the other, and soon realised that just after throwing away a dirty nappy, I was in fact without a clean one. The system had faltered, the changing bag was empty. Where we were situated, there was luckily a local Sainsbury’s still open but a good ten minutes walk away from my currently smiling and now naked baby.
At this stage I had two choices, 1) run to Sainsbury’s (not to mention first cutting through the very full Stage Combat class) clutching my baby’s bare bottom in the hopes that in that time she didn’t wee or worse all over me…OR (and yes I’m sure those of a more logical mindset could come up with more than these two solutions but these were the only two my brain gave me at the time!) 2) come up with some kind of homemade alternative.
Although option 1 does sound more my style, I went with option 2 and started searching round for something to use.
I’ll cut a longer story down to just the result, after ten minutes and a lot of faffing, my beautiful baby girl had a pack of tissues unfolded and wrapped around her tooshie, all held into place with three nappy sacks tied around her in a loose attempt at a secure (and waterproof!) nappy alternative. The ten minute walk to Sainsbury’s was still cut down to seven minutes due to a not completely convinced nappy creator, and in less than twenty minutes we were back and Scarlett was returned to the traditional undergarment of choice for a five month old. And, amazingly, despite slight action, her clothes remained unaffected!
Was it my proudest moment as a mother? No, certainly not, I tied three nappy sacks round a pack of tissues wrapped round my baby girls bum because I didn’t pack enough nappies at the beginning of the day for crying out loud!
However, I like to fly the flag for equality; ridiculous actions when looking after their children is stereotypically supposed to be reserved for the Dads, but my husband is generally more sensible than I am, (well, he probably could have made a more impressive homemade nappy anyway!) but I’m happy to prove that it’s not just Dads that end up in less than catalogue worthy parenting situations. In fact, I’d like to happily fly the flag to prove that practically no parent in the real world behaves like the catalogues/brochures or books portray. We stumble along as we go, picking up tips, learning from our mistakes and gaining insight from our own very individual experiences. Children are very resilient, and utilising simple bits of common sense, the odd cock up is not going to eternally damage them, the stress from worrying about being a perfect parent probably won’t help though; if I worried about being a supermum from the cover of the fancy magazines, the result would likely be that Scarlett grew up with an eternal sense of panic and an inherited feeling of not being quite good enough. Sod that! The reason everyone loves the Bridget Jones character is because realistically we are all the Bridget Jones character! Very few people really know what they’re doing in life but we’re all still managing. So if I forget a coat for her and it’s colder than expected, she’s not going to look particularly fashionable wrapped in my jumper, but she will at least be warm and safe. A nappy sack isn’t a permanent solution for clothing, but it’s better than leaving her in her own filth or letting her just soil an outfit.
What I’ve really learnt from this experience is not just put more nappies in the changing bag(!), but that really, it’s not about the problems that arise, but the way you deal with them that matters.
Life happens to all of us, with even less control when you’re a parent, but we’re all doing the best we can and sometimes we’ll find ourselves in slightly less than ideal circumstances. But comrades, let’s all admit these occasions happen, allow ourselves to just laugh them off, and give ourselves a break.
It’s been an extremely busy week, and with a baby we have to be particularly organised….but let’s be honest, even with a strict daily routine you can never be totally in control of your day to day. We have the kind of lifestyle where a regular day can easily see my husband in one room being paid to play Zombie warm up games with students, while I wrap my baby up in random items from my bag in another. So if you’re anything like us, and often find yourselves having to improvise solutions, relax, I highly doubt we’re quite as much the minority the glossy magazines make out. And anyway, I’ve heard that shabby chic nappy sack look is all the rage these days dahhhling!