When I pictured myself as the mom of an infant, I imagined that I’d morph into some multitasking machine, the baby resting on my hip while I cleaned the house, paid the bills, and carried on interesting conversations with my husband.
In other words, I thought life would go on as it had before, only now I’d take my beautiful baby along for the ride.
Oh, how incredibly naïve I was. The baby years were so far from that fantasy, it’s totally laughable when I think about it.
My babies did not just plant themselves by my side, melding into my life seamlessly. No, they were loud, nursed around the clock, and demanded my undivided attention most of the time. I couldn’t even really put them down when they were sleeping, at least not in the first few months.
Life as I knew it was tossed out the window. My babies were beautiful, for sure, and those days were infused with more love than I could have imagined. But nothing was the same — nothing, down to the nitty-gritty details of life.
Now that my kids are bigger, I can do many of the things I couldn’t do then (or at least most of them). But I was totally blindsided at first, and I want all the moms of babies out there to know that all of this is absolutely normal.
Having a baby means that your life will be very different for a while. Yes, you’ll feel like you can’t accomplish any one damn thing. Yes, it’s totally disorienting and weird. No, you are not alone. And yes, it gets better (at least somewhat).
Here are a few things I bet you’re having a little trouble accomplishing:
1. Eating With Two Hands
I must have eaten over 700 meals with a baby in my lap. And neither of us would come out of the ordeal unscathed. Each meal would end with at least one of us covered in crumbs.
2. Leaving Your House Without Two Hours of Prep Time
It seems absurd looking back because it wasn’t like I had so much stuff to pack, but getting out of the house was always a huge ordeal. And the baby always seemed to poop about three minutes before it was time to leave.
3. Forming a Complete Thought
Forget about the words that finally escaped my mouth (trust me, they made little sense in those early months). I couldn’t even follow my own thoughts. Mom brain is real, folks.
4. Cleaning Yourself
I used to take a shower every single day. I thought it was gross not to. With a newborn, I was covered in spit-up, breastmilk, probably a bit of baby pee, and I was sweating buckets (no one warned me about those crazy postpartum sweats!). It seemed perfectly acceptable in those days to clean my entire body with a baby wipe and call it a day.
5. Cleaning Really Anything
I’d wipe half a kitchen counter and then the baby would need to nurse. I’m not the kind of person who can deal with tons of clutter or filth, so it literally would take me a week to clean my tiny apartment. By the time I was done cleaning, it was time to start again.
6. Making a Phone Call
Some family members got really pissed that I wasn’t returning their calls. But I just had a baby. Phone calls get relegated to the very, very bottom of your list then. Sorry.
7. Reading a Book, or Watching an Entire TV Show
I used to love reading a good novel. Confession: I didn’t read one for four years after my first child was born. And TV shows? You’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal to get through a 30-minute show, right? Yeah, that would take at least three nights to finish when I had a newborn around.
8. Remembering What Day It Is
At first, you have really no clue what day it is. And it takes a while to get a firm grip on whether it’s morning or afternoon. My first son was born at the beginning of winter, and I swear that the first time I walked out the door, it was spring (that’s only a slight exaggeration).
Do you know part of the reason why it’s so hard to get anything done? Besides the fact that you don’t ever sleep (and shut up with the “sleep when the baby sleeps,” most of us can’t actually do that), it’s virtually impossible to do much else but stare into your baby’s eyes.
I would spend hours a day just looking at my babies, taking in every little detail. Yes, it was a time suck and made it impossible for me to get anything done. But I have zero regrets about that, especially since my boys fly by me so fast now, I’m lucky if I get a quick kiss on the cheek.
So hang in there. Vent about it all as much as you want. Try to remember to laugh at least a little bit too. And remember that they’re only that little for so long, and soon enough you’ll be able to complete a sentence in less than 20 tries and without a baby simultaneously barfing on you.
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