So, here are a few of the most important things […]
So, here are a few of the most important things I learned on my own during my first few weeks as a new mom:
Disorientation and confusion are common. So is short-term memory loss. It includes:
- forgetting to move the clothes into the dryer
- forgetting how to work the dryer
- forgetting you have clothes
- forgetting to feed the cat
- forgetting you have a cat
- forgetting what day it is
- and forgetting what you were going to do in the room you just entered.
The memory-loss lasts for approximately the entire first year, although there’s a nasty rumor going around that it doesn’t ever go away.
You will have feelings of inadequacy. These feelings are not only normal, they’ll get worse as your child gets older. Just when you think you have this whole parenting thing down, they change up the rules by getting roseola, teeth, or a taste of independence. Remember to always pretend to be adequate and experienced, because babies and children can smell fear.
You will sleep again. I know it doesn’t feel like it. But one night you’ll go to bed at 10:00 PM and wake up on your own at 3:00 AM. You’ll race down the hall to your baby’s room only to see her sleeping peacefully and grunting zombie grunts. Enjoy this time because babies eventually turn two. For whatever reason, two-year- olds don’t sleep, because at 3:00 AM they need a drink. They want to know what the cat’s doing. They have to find that one toy that may or may not even exist.
Babies are very slippery when they’re wet. This caused me a lot of anxiety with my first baby. The ridiculous fear of handling a wet baby quickly transformed into a valid fear of dropping a wet baby. Use towels. Or gloves. Or tongs. Okay, maybe not tongs. Towels are great.
It’s okay to hold your baby whenever you want to. You can’t spoil a newborn, but a newborn can spoil you.
Baby girls can pee surprisingly high. They’re also known to have frequent sneak pee attacks. After I had everything buttoned back up (which takes more time at 2:00 a.m. than it does at 10:00 a.m.), I’d discover everything was wet. Then I’d have to start over. It was like a cruel new-parent version of the movie Groundhog Day. Except, instead of groundhogs it was pee, and instead of Bill Murray it was me—with newborn pee in my hair.
You don’t have to change your baby every time he spits up on his clothes. I did this. I had a lot of laundry. It nearly killed me.
It’s absolutely okay to have no idea how many weeks old your baby is. Without a calendar, calculator, or counting on my fingers, I never knew how many weeks my first baby was. After eight weeks, I didn’t even bother anymore. I just said “two months.” It’s easier for everyone, including the baby. Besides, it starts to get a little weird when someone tells you her son just turned 835 weeks old and will be taking his driving test next week.
The above excerpt is from “New Parents’ Survival Guide,” an essay by Christina Antus published in Martinis and Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! The hilarious, all-too-relatable parenting read is available now in paperback or Kindle at amazon.com.