Now that the littlest EastSurreySlinglets are toddlers and less single-mindedly mummy-orientated, Sally and I have started doing home visit consultations. So far, they’ve all been with families with new babies, and they’ve been amazing. I LOVE them, for several reasons:
- Because we come to you, you’re on home turf. You’re haven’t had to conduct the massive organisational feat that is Leaving The House With A Newborn. You’re not worrying about whether your baby is going to puke on my sofa, if your maternity pad will hold out for the duration of your outing, or where you’re going to change baby if they create one of those craptastic explosions they did last week. You are comfortable in your surroundings and that is an ideal basis for learning. We get into a flow and we achieve all kinds of wonderfulness.
- I get to leave the house without my kids. This is still such a novelty that it’s as refreshing as a spa day.
- I don’t need to have a cleaning frenzy to make my pig-sty of a home worthy of receiving clients.
It’s that final point I want to talk more about here. Because it’s a massive benefit for us as work-from-home mums. But we really, truly didn’t intend to shift that burden onto the families we support. Yet the first few people we’ve visited seem to have spent time preparing for our arrival.
You are not receiving clients- you don’t need to tidy up. You don’t need to brush your hair; you don’t even need to change out of your pyjamas if it’s One Of Those Days. You have a new baby and you are inviting a support service in to, yep, support you, not to create work for you. I’m probably only going to see your living room, and I don’t care if there are crumbs on the floor, vomit-soaked muslins adorning the backs of the sofas and tiny clothes drying everywhere from the never-ending laundry. In the extremely unlikely event that I see your kitchen or use your loo, I promise am not going to judge you for the pile of dishes or the skids in the pan.
You have just had a baby. A new little life has joined your family like a tiny tornado and nothing is the same. Whether it’s your first or your fourth, it is a huge transition and even giving headspace to getting presentable for the visit of a stranger is not your priority right now. This goes for Sally and I; this goes for the community midwife, the health visitor, the breastfeeding counsellor. We are here for you and we are not looking at the crumbs.
You have very limited, precious, tiny quantities of 1) energy and 2) time when someone else can hold the baby. Save them up. Keep the scrap of energy for when the baby is awake again at 3.45am and you can’t settle them and you don’t know what to do or how you’ll cope until the morning and the existential parenting crisis sets in. If someone else can hold the baby, or they are miraculously asleep somewhere that isn’t on your body, I want you to have a bath, read a book, sit and close your eyes, or enjoy having a poo without balancing a tiny unhappy person on your knee.
We are parents too, and we’ve been there. Our youngest babies are toddlers, yet frankly we are still there more often than we care to admit. Let us come and support you without judgement, unequivocally, with love. Step away from the loo brush.