Maybe it’s a combination of exhaustion and that new-baby smell? Whatever it is, you know you’re deep in the parenting trenches now.
Seven weeks ago, I had a baby.
I had a baby after a 5-year gap of having babies, so needless to say, I’ve been out of the game for a while.
It’s been 5 whole years since I haven’t slept through the night, 5 years since I had teeny-tiny diapers in my house, 5 years since I remembered what it’s like to try to eat a meal with only one hand and someone crying in your ear.
It’s been a long time for me, but at the same time, life with a newborn is a lot like riding a bicycle — it all comes rushing back.
Except for this time, I have to say, there are way cooler gadgets and gizmos around than when I did this the first time. There are definitely some things I don’t recognize about motherhood anymore, but at the same time, there’s also a lot that clearly hasn’t changed.
In fact, the moment I became the mom of a newborn again is the same time that I remembered all of the thoughts that only newborn moms have, like…
“I want to pick that booger soooo bad…”
Listen, I can’t exactly explain why sucking out a giant baby booger with that little bulb syringe thing is so satisfying, but it just is. It’s almost like I can feel my airway opening up too, and I can breathe. Ahhhhh…
“How bad would it be, really, to eat this sub over my baby’s head? A little dropped lettuce wouldn’t hurt him, right?”
If you haven’t picked food off your baby’s head and possibly out of your own bra, are you even a mom?
“I have to pee so bad, but there’s no way in heck I’m risking moving this baby right now.”
Have you ever heard of that show “Man vs. Wild?” The parenting version is more like “Bladder vs. Baby” and let’s just say, eventually, there are no real winners in this game.
“Oh look, my shirt isn’t buttoned up — maybe I should button it up? Nah…”
“How much milk do I have left?!”
Randomly panicking that you’re going to run out of breast milk if you’re pumping is totally normal when you’re knee-deep in newborn life.
Also see: Opening up your freezer several times a day just to check up on your breast milk stockpile for, um, no real reason.
“Please don’t poop, please don’t poop, please don’t poop.”
There is no greater feeling of agony than hearing the horrific sound of your newborn filling their diaper at the exact moment you finally got them to sleep. Sigh.
“CRAP — how old is that bottle I just fed her??”
I mean, how do they come up with these arbitrary numbers anyway? If a bottle goes bad after an hour, what happens after an hour and 10 minutes? What about an hour and 20 minutes? Ugh, I really hope she doesn’t get sick, I’m a terrible mother!
“Maybe if I pretend to be asleep, they will get her…”
Oh, was she crying? I didn’t even hear her… (cue internal evil laughter)
“Why the heck am I waking up drenched in a pool of my own cold sweat (again)?!”
Hormones have a fun way of making you feel like you’ve turned into the most disgusting person alive.
“I am an animal — an actual animal.”
The moment that you catch yourself ravenously inhaling mouthfuls of food like a roving raccoon without actually taking the time to make a plate is the moment you also stop caring — because postpartum hunger is real, my friends.
“How could I have forgotten how amazing a hot shower was?”
Seriously — until you have a newborn, you never truly appreciate how incredible the smallest things in life are.
Like an actual, uninterrupted hot shower. The chance to shave your legs (Both! Not just one!). A full, steaming mug of coffee that you can drink in one sitting. These things are so, so amazing.
Oh, and sitting down — oh my gosh — the luxury of sitting down. How did I ever let myself take those beautiful things for granted before?
“OK, if I go to sleep right now, I might get an hour in before she wakes up, then she will be up again at 1, and then at 3, so all in all, I might get 4 hours tonight.”
Newborn sleep math is complicated. And also super depressing when you count it all up.
“How can someone so tiny hold so much power?”
I mean, really — it’s a good thing babies are cute, am I right?
Chaunie Brusie is a labor and delivery nurse turned writer and a newly minted mom of 5. She writes about everything from finance to health to how to survive those early days of parenting when all you can do is think about all the sleep you aren’t getting. Follow her here.