10 Bad Moments New Moms Have (None of Them Mean You're a Bad Mom!)
Dear New Mom –
It’s been about six weeks since that amazing little bundle was born, maybe even a few months. Are you tired yet? If you are, you’re right on track. I’ve been where you are, three times in the last five years, and if you’re wiped out I want to tell you something: There’s more where that came from. But everything is going to work out. You are doing great, even when faced with sometimes scary, tiring, what-the-heck-is-happening moments like these:
- The baby won’t stop crying. Even though you’re holding him, rocking him, shushing him, he just won’t. It’s 3 in the afternoon, it’s 3 AM, it doesn’t really matter because when a baby, your baby, cries like that it feels like someone screaming at you. Five minutes can feel like a very long time. Remember this: he really WILL stop. If you think your head might explode, or your heart might break, fast forward 10 minutes and imagine how you’ll feel when he calms down. This little mental somersault has saved my sanity many times.
- The baby won’t stop crying in public. I once had a lady come up to me at the zoo and try to take the crying baby out of my arms while our screaming toddler refused to get in the stroller. This woman was trying to help but her interference was only one more thing for me to worry about and try to coordinate. That was extreme. When your baby loses it in public, the more likely scenarios are these: Some people will cringe and move away. Some will judge you, “Who brings a baby here?” But most people will understand. (They may even try to give you “I’ve been there” eyes. Don’t hate them for it.) Just do your thing. Babies cry. Even at the grocery store. Even on a plane. Use all the soothing tricks you know and as soon as you can, just go home.
- You start crying. You will cry at some point. You will, and it’ll be because you’re exhausted, you’re hormonal and you’re frustrated. You’re trying to be an amazing mom and somehow somewhere you feel like you’re not. Go ahead, cry if you need to. But remember this, you are an amazing mom.
- Your breasts are still so sore that breastfeeding feels like torture. Mine took weeks to calm down, every time. I have pale, sensitive skin and yowsa, did I dread those little lips clamping down on my poor little nipples when the pain was at its worst. The pain goes away. And more good news, the baby does not. Which leads to…
- You feel like an imposter. When we brought our first daughter home from the clinic I kept feeling like we were babysitting, like someone was going to come and pick her up and take her to her “real” home. It’s been four years now and I’m pleased to say we’ve still got her.
- You run out of wipes or diapers away from home. You’d think that with a diaper bag so big, you’d have a year’s supply but there are now so many things to coordinate before you leave the house these days, it’s no wonder than a couple things slip through the cracks. Be brave, if you don’t have wipes use a Kleenex or even a clean diaper in a pinch. Run out of diapers? Put a fresh burp cloth down there, a d-i-y cloth diaper that’ll last until you get home, if you hurry.
- You didn’t notice that the baby spit up…everywhere. I used to feel like I was toting around a miniature volcano, never knowing when the whole thing was about to blow. And half the time, I didn’t even realize the little guy was in the process of spitting up because his back was to me, or I was distracted by the stroller, car seat, some other factor in life… So bring a rag, or a scarf with you at all times but don’t feel bad about a little spilled milk, so to speak.
- You can’t remember when the baby last ate–or when she should eat again. All the baby books say you should have a chart, with boxes and times and even notes about how much your baby ate and when. You will probably never do this because you won’t have a pen handy when you’re nursing and therefore might need to remember Baby’s last meal by associating it with what time “Dancing with the Stars” started or another more relevant marker. (Note: I actually had a timer with our first baby that worked really well for reminding me of her last feeding.)
- You’re terrified to drive with the baby alone. What if she cries? I won’t be able to help her if I’m driving. For this one, there are only two ways to go: Go anyway and just be prepared for the baby to possibly cry. Or don’t go. I usually went and I’ll say sometimes it was a breeze. Other times the babies cried and it was nerve-wracking torture but I’d still err on the side of getting out and about because I like being active and it made me feel good, even capable. If you prefer quiet time and get more energized by downtime, make THAT your usual mode. Either way works.
- You think you hate your husband. You don’t. Every new mom thinks this. You’re just tired.
You’re in a club now. A wonderful, amazing, life-changing club and every one of us has had these moments, lived through them and lots of us even choose to do the whole thing again. Three times.
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