I've been nominated by Hannah over at Obliviously Awesome to do a post on my happiness non-negotiables - the things I absolutely have to have in my life to be happy. 

I'll admit, I was stumped. What DO I need to be happy? Everything I could think of has become a lot less important now that Annika's arrived, and it got me thinking about how my happiness non-negotiables have changed since my Little Bird arrived. 

My pre-baby happiness non-negotiables 

My bed. Man, I loved sleep. My favourite thing ever was to pop on my PJs at 8pm and have a nice early night. Now I still wear my PJs a lot but sleep is a little more elusive. 

Quality time with Matt. And quality time with my friends. I really needed proper date time with Matt when we could talk to each other uninterrupted, gaze into each other's eyes and do now unheard-of things like kiss. I also loved spending time with friends and would have at least two lunches/dinners/catch-up drinks in the diary every week. I don't need to tell you what's happened to my diary now... 

Reading. I've always loved to read and could happily while away a Sunday afternoon devouring a book in one sitting. Since Annika my reading range has been restricted to magazines only, with the occasional dip into a chapter or two of a parenting manual. Baby-Led Weaning isn't quite the gripping read I'm used to. 

Chocolate. I simply had to eat chocolate every day. Even if it was just a square after dinner, I had to have it. Gestational diabetes and my current elimination diet have taught me that, actually, life without chocolate is perfectly doable (if only a tiny bit miserable). 

Coffee. At one point I was on about six cups of the hard stuff a day, and I was never one to refuse an offer to do the coffee run, though the colleague offering would instantly regret their offer when I rattled off my ridiculous order, which got more ridiculous when I was pregnant - "decaf skinny hazelnut cappuccino". 

My post-baby non-negotiables

Annika. Obvs. Not only would I not be happy without her, but I'd probably just crawl into a hole and die. Dramatic, much? Yes. But true. I wake up every day to her staring up at me with those big grey eyes and it totally melts me. It's the best way to wake up and guarantees I start the day with a smile on my face. 

Coffee. This one stays but, as I'm only on the  decaf now (breastfeeding) and with the dubious accompaniment of oat milk (it sort of cooks and undulates in the cup - boak), it's more of a ritual than anything. I still love to start the day with a cup, and still reach for the jar when I'm feeling low on energy; even though it doesn't provide the physical pick-me-up I'm craving, I still derive some psychological boost from its placebo form. I've invested in a fancy coffee machine to make me feel like I can have the posh shop coffees of yesteryear, but the faff of warming/making/cleaning means we only use it at weekends. 

Baths. I used to hate baths and can count on one hand the number I'd had in the year preceding Annika's birth (2). I think it was because I didn't like my body much, and being in a bath, with your flabby bits magnified by water, forces you to confront your body insecurities. Then when I was pregnant baths were off the menu as I was scared off by all the things you read that tell you not to have hot baths when pregnant (and I like them hot). But since having Annika a bath is one of my regular pleasures. I LOVE passing Matt to Annika for an hour while I soak in a hot, bubbly bath with a glass of wine and a magazine. It's pretty much the only uninterrupted me time I get, and I love it. Matt's got into the (amazing) habit of buying me fancy bath treats from Neal's Yard and, weirdly, my body insecurities have disappeared since Annika was born. My tummy is a whole lot flabbier but I do not give a flying f-bomb. 

Chocolate/wine. The chocolate's dairy free and the wine has to be minimal, but mama needs a vice at the end of the day. I don't mind which (preferably both, of course). 

Other mama friends. Be they real, actual friends or people who don't even know I exist but whose blogs I read. Having a baby is a big deal. Even if they slot nicely into your life like Annie did and aren't 'difficult', it's still a MAHUSSIVE change. It helps a hundredfold to be able to share that experience with others. 

And, speaking of Mama friends, I nominate Catherine over at Spot The Girl to write about her happiness non-negotiables. Off you go! 

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