It's been a long week here in our house. My daughter and I have both had COVID and whilst one of us has been bed bound for majority of it, the other has been bouncing off the walls after only one solid day of rest (I'll give you two guesses who's who!)
If you've had COVID, you can probably attest to the level of lethargy. I'm completely wiped out by 12:30pm each day and honestly, it feels exactly like my newborn days.
If you've listened to my Birth story interview on the podcast you will recall that I wasn't the greatest planner for my postpartum and so I thought two lots of frozen meals in the freezer would sustain me (ha!) and I refused help from many people because my A-type personality and ego just couldn't get out of the way.
Well Mama, not this time. Whether it be COVID or a cosy new bubba joining your family, here are my top tips for balancing your rest and nourishment whilst entertaining a toddler.
- Prepare like a Dooms-dayer. As soon as I sensed a tickle in my throat I ordered online groceries to be delivered asap. Semi-/fully prepared meals like soups, bolognese and pies from our local grocers which have been a lifesaver when I've had zero energy to prep meals. Think - can I just throw it in oven, boil some pasta or heat it on the stove and I have a meal? Those are the things you want!
- I made a huge batch of chicken bone broth and added this to every meal I could, bolognese, soup or just a mug on its own. Do you remember in the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' how the father would 'fix' everything with Windex.... Well broth is MY Windex. Abundant in collagen (tissue repair), protein (keeps you fuller for longer) and known for its immunity boosting qualities. And when my daughter only wanted to eat Dino noodles for the first two days, I cooked the pasta in broth and relinquished all of my mum-guilt (bye Felicia).
- Make a 'snack shelf' in the pantry and fridge full of food that you're happy for them to eat on mass. This has been a game changer in our house. Set up a shelf with a box of snacks at a height in both places which are accessible by your toddler so they can get to it independently and not be screaming out for food 24/7. Eva's fav snacks at the moment: corn cakes, sultanas, seaweed, dark choc mini rice cakes, chopped veggies/fruit, Tamar Valley yoghurt.
- Embrace a device or tv so you can rest. The downside of COVID is that you can't invite others into your house, which means no extra help here. So, I'm the first to admit that my daughter's eyes are officially at hard right angles, but I've been able to have an afternoon nap each day because of technology, which has been critical to my recovery. If you have a newborn (and no COVID) I would encourage you to organise a consistent time each day for someone to entertain your toddler so you can get that well needed nap.
- Activities with your toddler that don't involve a lot of energy/movement/mess. Despite the sickness or sleep deprivation our children still require daily love and connection. A lot of that is done through play. So here are my suggestions for slow play to conserve your energy: Lego, puzzles, drawing, PlayDoh, watching a movie together or reading a book.
My final words of wisdom, call in your Village! It's too hard to do this all by yourself. And you don't have to. Call your mum, sister, cousin, brother, doula, neighbour, dad and friend. Trust me, they would love to help you.
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