I'll admit that my motherly instincts didn’t always feel instinctual. In fact, they felt more like a combination of nature, trial and error, desperation, and love. Thankfully, I had some key resources to lean on, like my partner, my friends, a lactation consultant, my own mom, and even my phone’s alarm clock. Some of these helpers were more present than others at various newborn stages, but all of them played an important role at times, especially the alarm clock. I learned firsthand why new moms love to hate their alarm clocks.
Of course, as far as instincts went, I always wanted to meet my baby’s needs and dry his tears and comfort him in whatever way he needed comfort. I just didn’t always know how. The alarm clock gave me some clear reminders, though. I used it to help track feedings, including the amount of time in between them, the amount of time spent doing them, and even the amount of time my son nursed on each side. I used it to wake myself up from the most gut-wrenchingly short naps. I used it to wake up from the, like, seven minutes of overnight sleep I’d get.
Still, and despite how crucial it was for as a new mom, my relationship with that stupid app never progressed past “frenemies.” Here’s why:
Because It Dictates Everything...
It’s like the bells we all knew and loved in middle school, signaling when it’s time to change classes, go to lunch, go back to class, or finally head home for the day. Only, instead of occasionally meaning we can go scope out our crush’s locker or pass a note to a friend in the hallway, it means we need to rip ourselves from the heavenly confines of sleep to thrust a nipple into the mouth of an 8 pound monkey in a swaddle. Not the same thing.
...And I Mean Everything
I think I drew the line at managing my own meals and showers with my alarm clock. But seriously, I probably could have.
Because It Makes You Wonder If You Should Be Listening To Your Baby More
I had some breastfeeding issues that required me to steer my son’s feeding schedule for a number of weeks, as opposed to always waiting for his hunger cues to show. I knew the older he got, the better he’d be at communicating his needs. At the time, though, I didn't get to listen to him as much as I wanted to.
Thankfully, this phase was short-lived since eventually we got through our breastfeeding issues and things happened more naturally, but until it happened, it was a concern.
Because It Reminds You How Much Sleep You're Not Getting
The mental math I can’t help but do when I put my head on the pillow, knowing I have to get up in a certain number of hours, never yields happy results. I’m always left with a sadly deficient number of hours that, if I didn’t have an alarm to countdown for me, would be simply better left unsaid.
Because It Makes You Worry Your Baby Will Have Weird Associations With The Sound
This thought crossed my mind every single time my alarm would sound to tell me to switch breasts while breastfeeding. Thankfully, my son is almost 3 years old and does not seem to recall this at all. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.
Because It Never Goes Off For Something Fun
Maybe I’ve been using my phone alarm all wrong. I typically set it for important things that I don’t want to forget, but maybe I should consider setting it for enjoyable things, too. Like, “Oh, it’s time to re-watch my three favorite videos of my son that are saved on my phone,” or, "Well would you look at that, it's time to scour the internet for an appropriate Zac Efron gif to send my friends because it’s Wednesday.”
In fact, let me set my, "Surprise! Time to read more inspirational Michelle Obama quotes!” alarm.
Because It’s Not Like Alarm Clocks Are Fun In General
Alarm clocks are pretty much the worst on any given day, so of course they’re going to be extra terrible when you have a newborn. When I was looking into sorority rush in college, I swear I remember some of the houses claiming that they offered “wake-up duty.” As in, it was someone’s job to stir other members at a specific hour of the morning. Ultimately, I didn’t join a sorority that offered this, um, benefit, however, I think there's something to the idea of "wake-up duty" and doing whatever we can to lessen our need for alarm clocks. Have I mentioned they're the worst?