Life happens: Day in the life of a new mom
For those of you in the betting pool who picked that I would fail as a mother within a month, bad news: Riker is still alive. Not even maimed yet, or as far as I can tell, permanently psychologically damaged (granted, that might change once he finally learns to read and goes through all my old pregnancy columns. "Really, mom? My nickname in utero was Demon Wizard? Really?").
However, now that we have made it to the one-month mark fairly unscathed, the real test of parenthood is beginning. All the visitors have left. My husband has gone back to work. And I am now solely responsible for the lil' Nipple Slayer ("Really, Mom? Really?") for most hours of the day.
Now, I was never one of those people who thought that stay-at-home moms had it easy. Nor did I think working moms were walking on down Easy Street in their pantsuits. And this is because ( brief pause while I dust off this here old soapbox) I believe myself a true feminist who recognizes that women should not be judged for their life choices just because it isn't the same as your life choice (steps down and gently places soapbox back in its hiding place in the closet, right beside seven years worth of BUST magazine).
But now that I am a few days into this new visitor-free, husband-less child care routine while simultaneously still working from home writing my (Warning! Warning! Shameless self-promotion ahead!) award-winning newspaper column, I feel I can fully empathize with both sides.
In fact, just for fun, let me take you through a typical day of mine.
It usually begins at 4 a.m. That is - if my son decides it starts at 4 a.m. He could also decide to start it at 2 a.m. Or 3:17 a.m. Or if he's in a really festive mood, we simply blend the previous day into the next day with no discernible break in between.
Still half (occasionally all) asleep, I attempt to change his diaper, which he has turned into a fun game I like to call "Let's Poop and Pee as Much as We Can in the Tiny Window of Time Between Removing one Diaper and Thrusting the Other One Underneath my Tushy."
He usually wins.
He also almost always wins what I call the Bonus Round, which is when he manages to pee on me no matter where I'm standing at the changing table.
We then eat breakfast, and by we, I mean him, and by breakfast, I mean he gnaws on my breast for 35 minutes like a starving, feral piranha. Repeat three times until midmorning when I finally get 47 free seconds and use it to eat my own breakfast of a moldy blueberry muffin, daintily crammed into my mouth whole.
After that, I usually kjfjfjfjfffffffffffffffffffffffffff .
Oops, fell asleep on the keyboard. Sorry about that. What was I saying?
Well, anyway, at some point, he finally falls asleep again, which is when I put him down in the crib for a nap, which is apparently the international baby sign for wake up immediately and start crying hysterically.
I pick him back up and try to calm him while at the same time trying to clean my house at least a little bit, considering I haven't seen the dog in about three days, and I suspect he's stuck underneath the world's largest pile of burp cloths.
At some point, I will actually get to go to the bathroom, which is when I notice I have run out of maxi pads, and with necessity being the mother of invention and all, I make the executive decision to use one of Riker's diapers until such time as I can get to the store (which I'm guessing will be in June).
By now, I'm lkkdkkkkk .
Oopsie. Fell asleep again. Um, where was I?
Well, it doesn't matter. Let's just say at this point, I realize I have a looming deadline and need to finish (re: start) my column. So I put the baby in the magical vibrating bouncy chair I got at my baby shower and proceed to write exactly one sentence before I start to feel guilty because the baby is just sitting there, staring at me, doing nothing.
And all the stupid baby books say you have to stimulate your baby constantly, or else he'll end up as a drooling vegetable by the time he's an adult - or worse yet, an employee for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
So I then pick him up and try to write with him in my arms but this, as you can imagine, is less than slddddddd.
Ah, where am I? Oh, sorry. Happened again.
Well, at this point, we've reached what is usually called "the witching hour," which is when your baby decides to cry for three hours straight for no discernible reason. Although, if I had to discern the reasons why he was crying, it would look something like this:
Ten percent because he's hungry.
Ten percent because he needs his diaper changed.
Eighty percent because that spot on the wall he's been staring vacantly at has suddenly done something to offend him.
And now, it's the end of the day (the term "day" being subjective to my son's whims, of course), and I still haven't showered, I have a tiny diaper shoved in my underwear, and my column has exactly one sentence written and this helpful note below it:
"Something funny about soapboxes here."
So to all you mothers out there, I feel your pain. But let me share with you the one piece of advice I received that has truly saved my life and works whether you're a stay-at-home mom or working hard at the office or doing both like me. And that advice is dffffggggggg.
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.