I have been a mom for 16 days. 16 amazing, exhausting overwhelming confusing, love-drunk days. So many people have asked me what motherhood is like, and what it is that I do all day with my ‘free time’.
Here are 8 things I have learn about being a new mom:
You have no idea what you are doing. Oh yes, I read the books, downloaded the apps, browsed the forums, joined the groups and asked fellow moms. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and that I wanted a routine, but I never thought further than that until he was here. Suddenly, I had a million new questions – How often must he eat, how much does he eat, why are my boobs leaking everywhere, do I wake him to eat, why is he crying, am I a bad mother for leaving him in his cot while I brush my teeth, if I’m buying premium nappies then surely they can change themselves?!
Your time is no more. We have Carter down on a 3 hour routine – which sounds great in principle. 3 hours in between to do what I like – long walks in the park, afternoon naps and Box Office Movies. Ha! Having a baby is like running a small army. Sure, one has 3 hours between feeds, but if a feed lasts 30 minutes, a burping session lasts 15, a nappy change 5 (I’m getting faster, promise), putting him down to sleep takes 10 minutes (if that even happens) then that leaves me with 2 hours to get myself dressed and ‘presentable’, eat some food, express some milk, sterilize bottles and gear, wash a million tiny baby things and see actual human beings, then your time isn’t really yours, at all.
Babies cry quite a bit. Let it be known that my child (and long may it last) is heaven sent. He is a delightful baby who cries a regular amount. (I’m basing this on a little equation: Regular amount = not wanting to kill yourself from frustration. However, when he does cry it could be for a multitude of reasons. As I am now obviously an exert (being 16 days in and all) I have worked out the following reasons as to why your baby might be crying:
- He is hungry
- He is tired
- He saw the speed of your ADSL line
- He woke himself up and got a fright
- He has a dirty nappy
- He has a clean nappy and prefers the feel of a dirty nappy
- He saw the price of nappies
- He spat his dummy out
- He saw you have that glass of red wine and is now laying a guilt trip on you
- It is bath time
- It is naked time
- The dog farted
- He sharted so loud that it woke him up
- He saw his mom up close for the first time and realized she hasn’t tweezed her eyebrows since March.
They are a lot smaller than you anticipated. When Carter was born – at a sizeable 3.64 kilograms – he was still tiny. We had to rush out and buy newborn clothes for him, which he still drowns in. Note to self – always have a few tiny baby things for your newborn, they actually don’t come out ready to wear 3-6 month baby grows.
You leak milk. Everywhere. Breastfeeding is the messiest activity I have ever taken part in (and that includes the one time I vomited tequila on a friends shoes in the Billy The Bums parking lot.) I doubt there is one surface area in my house that has not been drenched in milk leaking from one of my oversized pendulous bosoms. My poor child is soaked through before he even gets close to my chest. This makes feeding in public a rather risky and messy affair. Praise the Lord the inventors of the breast ump came along before my child did.
Baby blues are a thing. Everything I read leading up to the birth of my child warned me about the ‘day 3 blues’. “Beware” they warned ominously “the 3rd day of having a baby shall be your darkest day yet”. I was terrified and put my husband on high alert (after hiding away all sharp objects in the house. Then day 3 came… with my milk…and went. As did day 4. On day 5, Mothers Day, after a lovely lunch out at a restaurant with my angelically behaved child, my hubby and I climbed in the car to go home and I burst in to tears.
“Why are you crying babe, what’s wrong”
“I don’t know”
“Are you feeling sick?
“Are you sad?”
“I don’t know”
This went on for about 15 minutes while my poor husband tried in vain to gauge just what in hell was going on with me. Turns out I was sad for no apparent reason, and the more I cried the guiltier I felt, so the more I cried. Hormones are bastard things ladies, and if this ever happens to you, know that you are not alone (I know this because I Googled ‘Am I the only new mother alive sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason”)
You will mourn your former life. And that is OK. Everything I do now is with Breitling precision. Need to pop out to the shops? Do it between 1:15 and 1:45. (but get someone to drive you because you’ve still had major surgery and can’t drive yourself). Want a glass of wine? Make sure you’ve expressed some milk, or that you drink it with 2 hours to go before the next feed. Want to wear jeans? Haha, cute.
Having a baby means that your life gets turned upside down and hung out to dry. And that’s OK, because
You will love like you have never loved before. I battle to imagine a life BC (see what I did there?). This tiny, perfect creature has landed in our lives and turned what we thought we knew about patience, tolerance and love on its head. I battle to not stare at him for hours, or rub my hand over his tiny shoulder blades or crave my finger to be grasped in his fist. I miss him in my sleep and I cant stop kissing his tiny milk scented mouth.
I still even find his screams endearing.
Motherhood, you can stay.
I call this one ‘honest parenting’ 😉