Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the New Mom

Kate & Lydia were very happy to get this hilarious post, as it chronicles the Domestic Enemies of the New Mom. Here's a little blurbitty blurb about about today's Special Guest Writer:

"I'm the New Mom on the Blog. I've always been an avid blog reader, but never really had any inspiration to write my own.

Then, I had a kid.  Now I'm finding inspiration everyday.

I'm a working mom of an almost one year old living in St. Louis and chronicling all of the ways a parent can fail in that scary first year. (For example: locking the baby in a rental car.) I imagine around the time I finally feel like I have the hang of this motherhood thing, my husband will star bugging me for #2. We'll see about that, mister."

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Baby Stuff
For something that comes out weighing less than a Thanksgiving turkey, babies sure do come with a lot of crap. The actual use and implementation of this stuff is often the first moment of panic any New Mom experiences - and often before the baby even arrives. Remember when Rachel on Friends had a baby shower where she held up a breast pump and asked, "Is this a bong for the baby?" Actually happened to me. Only it was with lanolin cream. Holding it up, I innocently asked a room full of co-workers (one of whom was my MALE boss) what it was. And then I received a short lesson on the importance of nipple care in the first months of breast feeding. I also learned why alcohol should always be served at baby showers.

Diapers
The very first diaper change of my entire life was on my son. I know that I am not the only New Mom to have the same complete lack of experience when it comes to diaper changing. And not only was it my very first diaper change - it was also the meconium diaper change. I describe that diaper change as "trying to get the white off rice." It involved several clean diapers, an entire package of diaper wipes, 3-4 washcloths, and a full size towel. Oh, and there were THREE of us working on it. And if the actual changes don't completely baffle you, the sheer volume of diaper use in the first few weeks will knock. you. out. I remember thinking to myself at some point in the first week of motherhood - So. This is my life now. I change diapers. Great.

The Internet
Ha. Yes. I know as a blogger, I am such a hypocrite, but SERIOUSLY. In my very first semester of college, I had a professor give an amazing description of the Internet. She said, "Doing research on the Internet is like taking all of the books in the biggest library on campus, ripping out all of the pages, scattering them in the middle of a large room, and then telling you to go find your subject." She should have also mentioned that some of those "books" might have been written by any old crazy person with a keyboard and WiFi access. I have read some of the stupidest advice from the billions of mommy-centric forums out there. Every time I Google a "new mom question," I find myself feeling even more confused (or downright scared) than when I started. And no matter how reputable the source and how mundane the topic of interest, someone almost always manages to go all Crazytown, USA and start debating about vaccinations, breast feeding, or the dangers of allowing your children to play with toys made in China. (News flash, Crazytown - they're ALL made in China.) Also? I work in a hospital and read charts all day long and I still cannot keep all of your murtherfurking abbreviations straight. DS, DD, FF, EP... How about this? STFU.

Veteran Moms
Don't get me wrong. You Veteran Mommies are often our saving grace with your wealth of knowledge and experience. But, can I be honest with you? It seems like the further away from that first year a mom gets, the more she forgets how difficult it can be. (Probably because she's focusing on how damn hard it is to be the mother of a toddler or 5 year old or...teenager.) A VM is often the person behind the phrase "Just you wait..." And let me tell ya, VMs: that phrase is not nice and needs to be removed from everyone's vocabulary. VMs have a tendency to brush off some of our New Mom problems because they know in the end it will all be okay. And maybe it will be. But, listen, New Moms? We don't know that. And we could use a little validation here. Or at least a hug. Or a drink. Also, if one more VM tells me to "sleep when he sleeps," I. am. going. to. square. up.

Perfect Mommy
Though she is Domestic Enemy Number One to all moms, New Moms seem to struggle more with Perfect Mommy. I think it's because some of us still believe that some day we may actually be able to be her. We try to keep up. Try to read all of the whackadoodle books she suggests, try to keep our house obsessively clean, and take our kids to four different play groups as well as a classical music class. All while managing to keep our hair magazine-perfect. Eventually, we'll pop out a few more kiddos, realize that perfection is for the birds (or the insane), and will kick back with a nice glass of wine to numb the pain of listening to Perfect Mommy tell you for the 800th time about her kid's ability to speak in conversational Spanish. Muy bueno, Madre Perfecto. Pass the T-Box, por favor.

Exhaustion/Mommy Brain
This is another universal enemy, but New Moms also struggle with the belief delusion that it will eventually go away. HA. My baby slept through the night consistently starting at once he turned 8 weeks old, but I'm still trying to make up for those 8 weeks. I'm guessing that I'll finally start to feel well-rested again around the time my son and his wife ask me to babysit their kid. Of course, by then I'll be able to consider myself a Veteran Mommy and I'll be all like, "BRING IT, KIDS."

[Editor's note: Your baby started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks? I'm very happy for you! I'm also flipping you the double birds. xo, Lydia]

The Unknown
The book is called What to Expect, but really it should be called Expecting The Worst Possible Fate for You and Your Family. Basically, all we learn to do is anticipate hypothetical situations for which there is no right/wrong way to act or react. Which really just results in us doing what all moms do best - we worry. Why isn't my baby talking yet? What if it's bacterial mennigitis? What do I do when daycare calls and tells me he's "The Biter"? A Veteran Mommy might have some old tricks up her sleeve or at least has gone through the same situation with another kid or a worse situation with the same kid. A New Mom has no frame of reference, so instead she is sitting in a corner rocking herself and eating her own hair. The Unknown is terrifying.

Doubt
Absolutely everyone, even non-parents, have moments where they doubt themselves and the decisions they are making, but with a New Mom - you're doubting EVERYTHING. I actually remembering making the Sign of the Cross over myself (and the baby, if I'm being honest here) after I gave him his first dose of Benadryl. And that was after I consulted several different moms, our daycare provider, the pharmacist, several nurses in my pediatricians office, as well as the pediatrician himself. All of whom gave me the "go ahead" on a small dose of Benadryl. Then I proceeded to stay awake the entire night checking on the baby to see if he had stopped breathing.

In truth, if I've learned anything in my first short year of being a mommy - it's to know the good advice, know the bad advice, and be totally willing to throw it all out the window and just trust my instincts. The Unknown, Mommy Brain, Perfect Mommies, and sleep deprivation might cloud your judgment from time to time and allow doubt to sneak in, but in the end - the only thing your baby really, really needs is love. And it doesn't matter how "new" you are - you are THE. BEST. person for the job.

Failing all that? Always stock an emergency bottle of wine. Always.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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