Her fitted crop top shows off her perky breast and flat and toned smooth stomach. Her skin seems to glow in the sun as she carelessly slings her Gucci diaper bag across her shoulder and carefully clicks the break on her $1000 Orbit stroller. She begins to rummage through her bag and produces her perfectly color coordinated and labeled homemade purée for her baby who looks about 4 months, the same age as your baby. You hate HER. And you should she’s a bitch, she’s super mom and she’s probably also a figment of your imagination. Or at least a stretch of it, because there is no perfect mom. Keep that in mind.
YOU are covered in spit up and rock a sweatshirt even though it’s a 70 degree day to cover that zebra striped fanny pack that is now your stomach. You look like you haven’t slept since your 20 week prenatal appointment and probably haven’t. You’re not sure how to even introduce food to your 4 month old let alone how to mash, mix or especially puree it.
Relax! You’re not alone and it’s ok! If ever you needed a lesson in humility this is it. Motherhood as I have learned does not care about your weekly manicure or your monthly haircut, it does not care about your trip to Miami or next Saturday’s party. Motherhood is relentless in its attack on your mind, body and spirit. How do you survive it? Take it one day, better yet one hour at a time and keep a few things in mind.
Abandon all hope of normalcy
You thought that once you birthed the baby you would get a break from your achy feet and back. You thought the sleepless nights you had because you couldn’t get comfortable were behind you. You thought you would enjoy having your body back, and it would be an end to awkward sex with you significant other. Well, you thought wrong. 4 months later your feet will probably still ache your back will still tingle, you will have given up all hope on “a good night’s rest,” your body will be foreign to you and awkward sex, if you’re having any sex at all will prevail.
Remember you are your baby’s bitch
Your life as you knew it, is gone. Mourn it and let it rest in peace. It’s not “over” like TV tells you, but it is definitely a close cousin to over. The pick up and go life you were used to, that carefree Nelly Furtado “Fly like a Bird” time has passed. You are now bound to your baby. You are a one army feeding, burping, changing, rocking, swaying, playing, shit, spit, snot covered machine. If you are breastfeeding you have it even harder I’m afraid, your baby will use and abuse your breasts to the point of a sore, droopy existence. In the first few weeks you will stare at your baby while he or she sleeps just to make sure they’re breathing. As you finally doze off the lightest breath will send a jolt through your chest and raise you like Frankenstein. You live to serve your baby.
Segregate yourself in a group of like minded individuals
Everyone without a baby in the same age range of your own is annoying to some degree. They do not understand though they would like to think they do. They will question you and challenge your decisions about your baby. They tell you that you are over protective or not protective enough, they will tell you to dress the baby warmer or that they are dressed too warm. They won’t understand your decision to not let your mother in law give your baby cereal at a month old, or not to follow your mother’s direction on laying your baby on his or her belly since she did it with you. They mean well but you can’t talk to them without them passing some sort of judgement on you. So make sure you have a group of moms you can turn to. An unbiased group that won’t judge you when you said you went to bed in your clothes even though the baby just peed in your face and it got all over you. They won’t tell you you’re spoiling the baby because you’re comforted with them falling asleep on your chest. You need that reminder that you aren’t alone in this and there are other women that feel the same way you do.
You’re allowed to say f*ck it
You are not a bad mother if you need a break. Let the baby swing for an extra hour. Leave the television on the Disney channel “by mistake”. Let the baby’s dad know that the next bottle is in 15 minutes as you walk out of the door. Whatever you need to do to grab a few minutes of “me time” do it! A sleep deprived, hungry, annoyed mom is not what your baby needs. It is ok to step away and let someone else take over. If you have the help take advantage! Throw your hands up and leave it to someone else for a while. It doesn’t mean you don’t know how to be a good mom, in fact it means you do. A good mom says f*ck it from time to time.
Laugh at yourself
You read every book preparing for your baby, every article, every blog post and you thought you had it down. But then he peed in your face, he pooped while you were changing his diaper, and he is spit up on your silk shirt. And suddenly you realize you weren’t as prepared as you thought you were. Sometime around the 20th time your baby gets ready to pee in your face you will block it with a diaper like a baseball in a catcher’s mitt. Until then try not to take every thing so seriously. As your baby grows every new stage will have its share of moments that you didn’t read about and were unprepared for, sometimes you just have to laugh, so laugh.
It’s all worth it
Sure your vagina will never forgive you, your boyfriend or husband feels neglected, you won’t make next week’s party, everyone has an opinion you didn’t ask for, and your new perfume smells a lot like pee. I get it! Your life has forever been changed and it is a crazy, scary time. But you are amazing! You couldn’t poop, you became acquainted with every crevice of your toilet, your uterus shifted your organs for God sake. And at the end of the day that gummy, drooly, bright-eyed smile you get makes it all so worth it.
You don’t suck as a mom, at least not completely, no seriously you don’t suck! You’re doing the best you can and that’s the best for your baby. So learn, live, laugh, cry and if you can…drink, have lots of drinks.