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    Blogs — AuthorURL:https://www.onco.uk/pages/marie-oneil

    Give me 10 minutes

    Do you have Whirlwind-itus?

    Since having a baby I have developed a strange condition. It's not life threatening, thankfully, and I'm hoping its manageable. On talking to other parents I don't think I'm the only one struggling with it. I've looked up my symptoms online to try and identify it but my search has come up blank. So I'm self-diagnosing. People, I've got 'Whirlwind-itus'.

    It used to take me about a week to wash any of my clothes. I would check the weather on-line to try and plan a good time to do it. I would take the clothes out of the washing basket and move them incrementally closer to the washing machine at a rate of approximately two metres a day. When finally close enough, the washing would then go in the machine where I would promptly forget about it. I would then forget about it some more. The forgetting (or wilfully ignoring) stage would go on for a few days until I ran out of pants/tights/work appropriate clothing and actually turned the machine on. It would then go out to dry (after a another delay, obviously), dodging rain showers (the weather check earlier in the week now obsolete) taken in when still wet and sometimes, in low moments, dried with a hair-dryer so I had something clean to wear to work.

    Now, due to my new condition, when A is asleep, things get done. She fell asleep the other morning and in the space of fifteen minutes I had eaten breakfast, emptied the dishwasher, put a nappy wash on (There is always a nappy wash to do in my house), hung some clothes away, put away the drying up, replied to some texts and I'm pretty sure if she had slept any longer I could have taken a crack at brokering peace in the middle east.

    I whirlwind. The minute that little girl closes her eyes I'm off, Tasmanian Devil style around the house; eating, cooking, cleaning, carrying, building, welding, talking, painting – doing anything and everything in that small, unknown amount of time that she sleeps Some days I marvel at my efficiency. Turns out my mother was right all along – Imagine what I could do if I only applied myself! (Big up Martha) But more recently, it's left me feeling frustrated. In that small sliver of time, that miniscule window that I get to myself all day, I choose to, what? empty the dishwasher? That seems a bit sad to me.

    I get stuff has to get done; the older child has to be picked up from school, the fire that's just started in the corner probably needs to be put out. However, now when A sleeps, (sorry, I mean, If A sleeps, there are no guarantees in this house) I try to just stop. Breathe. Resist the urge to carry out major house renovations in forty-five minutes. Maybe just have a cup of tea. Read a book. Sit. I don't want to go off on a well-being tip (I'm sure there a millions of other much better written blogs dedicated to that), but there is definitely something about using this precious time as a parent, to do something for yourself, to not try and fit in a weeks worth of housework into half an hour. A wise man once said to me 'Its not about the length of time,  it's about the quality' (It was my neighbour Vince, he's lovely) and I really think he is right.

    It's tough, I admit. To sit and write this I had to stop myself doing another million things. A sleeps for random lengths of time of at random times of day. There is no pattern to it. But I am trying to enforce a pattern. A pattern of stopping before I whirlwind and asking myself if it is really what I want to do with that time.

    Ironically I better finish this and call the G.P's while she is asleep – I'm hoping they can give me some drugs for this condition at the very least.

    cloth nappies, nappy bin

    Do I have time for washable cloth nappies?

    We use washable nappies.  When I tell people this (or they notice, sly eyed across a baby massage class), I am met with a range of reactions; from bewilderment to amusement, intrigue to (mild) disgust.  The most common response however is 'I wish we could use washable nappies but...'.  I would like to take the 'but' (pun intended) out of this sentence. Sure, there are things to consider when making the move over to washables but in the year when disposable plastics are firmly in the spotlight, disposable nappies and their environmental impact (spoiler alert; they're  not great) are sure to take a hit.  So get ahead of the curve and jump on the washables train....

    You will wash them.  A lot.  But that's OK – you do heaps of washing anyway with a baby as one of their favourite pastimes seems to be being sick. We do a nappy wash every other day generally but this fluctuates and should get less as A gets older.  You will also need space to dry them.  Obviously when the weather is glorious, as it is now, everything in the house gets washed (Oh hi Christmas Jumper on the line) but when normal service is resumed (I live in Manchester, an area not known for its dry climate) you will be drying them in the house.  Invest in a new airer.

    They are expensive, but they are an investment.  Obviously I speak from a place of privilege here and totally accept that not everyone has £100 to drop on nappies; a £1 pack of nappies from Aldi is accessible and do-able for most  However there is a active second hand market so you can easily pick some up on the cheap (and sell them on when you are done with them) and they will do for more then one baby so the savings really add up in the long term.    But we are missing a key point here – people want to buy you stuff when you have a baby  – do you really need another baby grow they will wear for two weeks and then be sick on (see above)? When people ask what you want or need for the baby maybe you can ask for nappies or some pennies towards some – let Great Aunt Mabel* get you something actually useful, something you will use every day, that will grow with your baby, save you money and save the world (OK, maybe not the whole world, but your little corner of it). We bought our nappy set as we were very kindly given a voucher for Mothercare and they had an offer on.  We are suckers for a deal.

    But the main and possibly most important point that I would like to make is that, in my experience, washable nappies work.  They are far superior to disposables at containing whatever surprises your baby has in there for you which in turns leads to less ruined outfits due to leakage.   The last time I used disposable nappies I had to change A's outfit four times.  Four. When I complained to my friends about this they rolled their eyes, a pitying look given – Outfit changes seems to be the order of the day with disposables.  I accept that disposable nappies have a place in your repertoire– when you can't, for whatever reason, carry around dirty nappies or when you don't have access to regular washing facilities (on holiday or when travelling for example).  But why not use them for just that? The odd occasion when you need them for that convenience.  Because that's what disposable nappies and all one use plastics are; convenient.  But, as you all know, convenience is killing our planet. 

    Give washables a chance.  Lots of companies offer a try before you buy system.  If you are really lucky you may even have a nappy library in your hood. Let me know how you get on.  Maybe one day I'll be giving you a sly glance in baby massage checking out your baby's nappy.

    *You might want to help Great Aunt Mabel out and send her a link