Babies, anyone? Engagements, weddings, babies – they seem to happen in seasons. And if ever there was a baby season, it is now. I know of at least 20 (probably more) women that have recently had babies or are due in the next few months. As I’ve been a mom for almost three whole years and now have TWO children, I’m obviously an expert on all things motherhood. But that didn’t stop me from absolutely panicking right after James was born. There he was, this tiny baby, entirely dependent on me. And there I was, struggling to get him to nurse, exhausted (and he was only a few hours old!) and convinced that I would not be able to do this newborn stage again – the sleepless nights, the non-stop nursing, the unexplainable crying. Nope, couldn’t do it.
That moment passed, thankfully, but I think it’s a pretty common feeling among the mommy set. In case anyone needed a reminder, being a new mom is hard. And scary. So I want to share a few things I’ve learned with these new moms and moms-to-be, whether they’re having their first child or third.
1) Step away from The Google. Seriously. Everything you read will convince you that you’re failing as a mother or your child is dying. Probably neither is true. Admittedly, I need to heed my own advice here. I recently convinced myself that my daughter was dry drowning and that my newborn son would be developmentally stunted from lack of sleep. Get this – dry drowning is extremely rare, though the interwebs would lead you to believe otherwise. My daughter was fine. As for my son? Maybe he will be stunted due to lack of sleep. But I don’t need Google reminding me of that. Neither do you. So back away.
2) You may only wash your hair about once a week. Accept this and move on.
3) Same goes for shaving your legs. Not a problem if your baby is born in November. But if you have a spring or summer baby, invest in maxi dresses.
4) Scratch that. Maxi skirts. Invest in maxi skirts. Dresses can be hard to nurse in.
5) Speaking of nursing, everything you own will be covered in breastmilk. But it’s okay, because did you know that breastmilk has magical powers? No, really. If you accidentally spray your baby in the eye with a stream of milk (and you will), don’t fret. You’ll probably have just gifted him with x-ray vision or something, that’s how awesome breastmilk is.
6) More on nursing. You know all those annoying Facebook quizzes that you secretly want to take but are kind of embarrassed about it? Well. They are a very entertaining way to keep yourself awake during those middle-of-the-night feedings Who was your early 90s teen crush? Leonardo DiCaprio! (Duh.) Who were you in a past life? Egyptian royalty! (Seems appropriate.) What movie is based on your life? Clueless! (Ha.) How bitchy are you? 27% (Only 27%? I must have taken that one on a good day.) The list goes on…
7) Sleeping in pee is not the worst thing in the world. (I’m talking about baby’s pee, not your own. If you’re sleeping in your own pee I’ll try not to judge, but that’s kind of gross.) If your baby pees on the bed and it’s 3AM and you are so damn tired your eyeballs hurt, don’t worry about changing the sheets right then. Baby pee is basically water. Just roll over to the other side of the bed and leave it till the morning. Or leave it till the next laundry day, who cares? The infant stage is never going to be the most hygienic time in your life as a mom. Go with it.
8) There will always be a mom crazier than you. If you feel guilty or self-conscious about calling your pediatrician every time your baby sneezes or emailing him pictures of your infant’s poop – don’t. There is bound to be another mom more paranoid than you who is tying up the doctor’s phone line even more frequently than you are. Take comfort in that. I do!
9) You will probably cry in public. It’ll be totally embarrassing but also totally uncontrollable (you know, hormones and extreme exhaustion and all that good stuff), so just let it happen. My *first* public meltdown occurred when I was trying to get James enrolled in our insurance. To make a long story short, I drove around for hours trying to find the correct location to do this (it had to be in-person, and the address given to me by multiple sources didn’t exist). When I finally found the place, the man working there told me he couldn’t help me and to come back at 6AM the next morning. James was less than 3 weeks old, I was running on around 3 hours of sleep, and this guy expected me to show up to this place (an hour away from my home) at 6AM the next morning? Was he on crack? I lost it. Began blubbering like a baby in front of all the other customers because WHY IS THIS MAN BEING SO MEAN TO ME? CAN’T HE SEE I HAVE A NEWBORN AND AM TOTALLY SLEEP-DEPRIVED AND MY HUSBAND IS DEPLOYED AND WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE ME??? Oh, and WHY IS THIS FREAKING ENROLLMENT PROCESS SO DAMN DIFFICULT – IT IS 2014 PEOPLE, USE THE INTERNET! When you have your public meltdown, remember mine and don’t feel so bad.
10) It’s okay to be bitter toward other moms whose babies never cry and sleep through the night at two weeks. You’re not a bad person. You’ll be friends with them again once your baby takes pity on you and lets you rest. In the meantime seek out moms whose babies are also little hellions so you have someone to share in your misery. Solidarity, sisters!
11) If you have two children, they will never, ever nap at the same time. This is truth.
Any tidbits you’d like to add? Comment below!