There are a lot of ways I can describe the first few months of being a new mom, including but certainly not limited to: hectic, exhilarating, unnerving, mesmerizing. New motherhood is the most ridiculous time you're likely to experience, too. It feels like you’re making it up as you go, because, well, you kind of are. Even though I read the books and talked to other moms and did my online research, nothing really prepared me for becoming a mom. I just had to accept that it was all kind of over my head, but that millions of women had done it, too.
Motherhood sure felt impossible at times, though. Being responsible for keeping a person outside of my body alive is quite a thing to reckon with. I never really considered how I was going to be a full-time working parent without feeling like a total sh*t about giving either my kid or my job the short stick at any given time. That feeling was pervasive when I returned to work when my baby was 3-months-old, and lasted until… actually, it’s still there.
But I learned to manage the roller coaster of feelings better, and now that I’m 10 years into the whole parenthood thing I can say that while those feelings don't disappear, they do become a lighter burden to carry. With this perspective, and because I've seen some sh*t in the decade that I've been a parent, I can honestly say that the first six months of motherhood are the most ridiculous, and for the following reasons:
Because You Eat Whatever…
As a new mom, I had a hard time planning ahead if it was for anything that didn’t concern the baby. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of prepping something satisfying when I had a few minutes for me to eat later. So I ended up grabbing whatever I could shove into my mouth with one hand — pretzels, grapes, cheese sticks — while holding the baby to feed her with the other.
Since the baby would eat whenever she felt like it, I adopted the same policy. Waiting for dedicated mealtime, like a person without kids, was never going to happen since I was likely nursing during normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times.
Because You Sleep At Odd Hours
I was still up with a nursing baby, even at six months postpartum (which made getting up for work a few hours later that much more painful), so I slept whenever I damn well could.
Because You Live In One Outfit
Going by the photos from that time period, for the first 12 weeks of my child's life, when I was home on maternity leave, I wore the same black sweatpants and green ringer t-shirt of my husbands. Even after I went back to work, I would immediately change into my “momiform” when I got home, because I didn’t want any baby byproducts getting on my business casual outfits.
Because You Finally Realize How Much Your Hair Has Grown
In preparation for my second kid, I went for the typical “mom cut” so I wouldn’t have to deal with my hair. But with my first child, I just kept my long hair up all the time. That way she couldn’t pull it and it wouldn’t get too knotty, and I could camouflage it’s dirtiness. But when I eventually put my hair down, OMG. I had no idea what pregnancy and postpartum hormones had done to the top of my head.
Because You Consider Creating A Spreadsheet So You Can Commit To A Shower Schedule
Enjoying a shower was an event, especially because my attempts to do so adequately were quickly thwarted by a screaming child who had woken up too soon from a nap. I seriously considered having someone come over on a regular basis once my husband went back to work, just to ensure I could have 20 minutes to myself in the bathroom. This was not a financially sound plan, so I just did a lot of sponge bathing.
Because You're Constantly Entertaining Visitors While Looking Your Worst
I never had so many friends and relatives in my home on an ongoing basis as I did in the first few months of motherhood. Everyone had to come to see the baby, and not me, which was a good thing because with my unwashed hair and rumpled clothes, I was not much to behold.
Because You Worry You Might Have Given Your Child The Wrong Name
I was so stressed out that my partner and I had chosen the wrong name for our daughter. I couldn’t get used to saying it. In hindsight, I was just acclimating to having a brand new human being full-time in my home, so no matter what her name might have been I would have been freaking out about it for a few months.
Because You're Thinking About Your Boobs More Than Your Romantic Partner
Everything in those first six months of motherhood was about my boobs. I kept track of feeding times, and sides, and length of the feeds, and pumped when the kid went to sleep for more than three hours (in those first three months) without eating. I kept checking for leaks. I slept in ways to avoid pain when I would get engorged. I had never paid so much attention to my breasts in my life, and none of it was for fun reasons.
Because The Love You Feel For Your Newborn Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Known
It blew my mind, how much I loved this brand new kid. It was truly… ridiculous.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.