I’m one week in as a new mom… And I’m understanding why so many moms turn into mommy bloggers – at least for a while. It’s because everything is just so new. Throw in hormones and interrupted sleep and we turn to writing as a way to process it all.
Moms, I get it.
But I’m realizing that no matter what, I’m a writer first and a mom second.
Well I’ve been a writer for nearly 30 years. I’ve been a mom for seven days. You do the math.
I will say this… a lot of those mommy blogs I read in the weeks leading up to the birth, hoping to get the insight that would ease the transition from Kim-Alone to Kim-the-Mom, well, they left a lot to be desired.
So for all you soon-to-be-mom’s out there, here’s the REAL lowdown from a Writer Mom.
Three things I wish I’d had before baby
1. Someone to hang out with
The last few weeks of pregnancy are miserable. You’re in a holding pattern and it’s nearly impossible to make plans. Because you don’t know when labor will start! You’re physically uncomfortable and mentally… well my brain was leaping around like a pea in a pot. But my body couldn’t DO any of the things my brain wanted!
Ditch the advice that says to binge-watch Netflix or read a good book. Or even to nap. NONE of that gets you out of your head. It dones’t help with the millions of thoguths (fears and excitement) that are spinning in your brain.
All I wanted was a girlfriend to come over and sit with me. (I didn’t want to go shopping – too much walking!) I wanted to just TALK and be Kim. Perhaps that would have been about the baby – but that that point I was baby-talked out. I wanted to dream about my business and hotdogs and what I’d do for me once the kiddo was here.
2. Pedicure and haircut
Make time for this. Spend the money.
You can still SEE your toes, even if you can’t reach them. And after the baby comes… well it’s been a week and I STILL can’t reach my toes because the c-section is too painful for me to bend that way. I did get a pedicure in the week before the birth – and that was perfect. I wish I’d had them cut my nails a bit shorter though. Those things grow fast and then they hurt. (TMI? Wait until you’re in labor and everybody and their cousin in in your lady bits… TMI goes right out the window. A little toenail talk will be welcome!)
And a haircut. Not a STYLE, per se, but a cut. My hair is well past my shoulders but hasn’t been trimmed in who remembers how long. Here’s the thing… it’s always in the way. And I can’t pull it back because then the ponytail interferes with how my head rests on various chairs.
I’m wishing I had found the 20 minutes to go to a chop-shop and have them, well, CHOP it. Just into a bob – something that will grow out nicely so when I’m ready to style it again, I won’t be left with horrible layers.
But right now, I want something shorter. Easier to deal with (pull back or even NOT) and far easier to wash and let dry. I do get daily showers but they’re not always long enough to wash my hair and I certainly never get the time to dry it.
3. Cleaning service
Nesting is real and it’s really weird. The stuff that didn’t bother me before now drives me crazy. I wish somebody had bought me a couple of hours of a housekeeper. Specifically, for two things:
High areas: tops of cabinets, ceiling fans, light fixtures, cobwebs on the ceiling. All the areas that require a step stool. And pregnant ladies aren’t allowed on step stools. I tried when I hung a few pictures in the living room and it was nerve wracking. I don’t like ladders under the best of circumstances but with questionable pregnancy balance… yuck.
(And don’t get me started on the single drop of spaghetti sauce that is somehow on my ceiling. It’s been there for months and I can’t get to it and it can and does drive me up the ever living wall!)
Low areas: baseboards, wiping down low cabinets, dusting the bottom two shelves on bookcases, hunting down dust bunnies. All the areas that require massive bending and/or kneeling. I could see the dust. I wanted to eradicate the dust. I couldn’t REACH the dust.
First off, to all the moms and mom blogs that told me I didn’t need much stuff for a newborn… you lied.
“Boobs and diapers” really aren’t anywhere near enough.
You forgot about endless receiving blankets because that kid pees on everything and new parents aren’t skilled at diapering.
You forgot about extra sheets for bassinets and cribs – because again, pee everywhere.
You forgot about extra covers for the changing pad. You forgot the changing pad entirely!
So.Many.Clothes. All of Connor’s clothes are gifts or hand-me-downs. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am to them because this kid gets a full “outfit” change at least 4 times a day. Maybe more!
I know that a glide rocker is “sexy” for the modern nursery but I got a La-Z-Boy recliner that can go almost all the way flat. I’ve slept in it every night since coming home because I can’t lay flat with the c-section.
1. Buy the non-sexy items
When I finally sat down and created my registry for the baby, I filled it with super-practical items. I just didn’t want to clutter my house with stuff I didn’t need.
But I can tell that a lot of people who went to that Amazon registry left without buying. Look, I get it. You don’t have to buy a present. They’re great but it’s a personal choice. But if you are…
Buy the non-sexy things.
To my friends who helped me rectify the missing items (see above) I’m forever grateful. I use the swaddle cloths and changing table pad and the mirror for the car daily.
It’s not all adorable onesies and itty bitty toys. They’re great but they don’t help me get through these first days!
2. Cash – for the needs
And when you’re dropping off the bags of cute onesies… here’s a great idea. Slip a five-dollar bill in the card. Put a sticky on it that says “For your needs”. Because as new parents, we’re finding we need a lot – and it’s not what we expect.
Those needs might be for the baby, but they night not. They might be that haircut that I didn’t get. Or the nursing pillow that was on the baby registry that wasn’t gifted that I survived two days without. (Thanks to my folks for the emergency (and secret) trip to Walmart to get me one. I’ve used that pillow probably 20 hours a day since then!)
The needs might be to pay a bill or buy groceries or make sure Daddy has new shoes for his job.
When you’re giving money – know that it’s really appreciated and always needed. But give us the okay to use it for NEEDS. Say that. Overtly and explicitly.
When you hand cash or a check and say “for the baby” our minds decide that it must be for an item FOR THE KID. And if the reality is that we need propane (which the baby will USE in the form of hot water, clean clothes, and the furnace) it makes it hard to justify. Even thoigh you’re really not asking us to justify how we’re spending it.
But in my brain… just give me the permission to use your generous gift in the way that I need. No guilt, implied or otherwise.
3. The right way to “help”
Those Mommy Bloggers tell people to come over and help the new mom. Empty trash cans and fill up the fridge. Make a meal. Run the vacuum. Hold the baby while mom showers. Play with the poor neglected dogs.
It all sounds so wonderful…
Until I think of the list of friends (not family) that I wouldn’t be horribly embarrassed to have them DO those things – let alone ask them. That list is exactly… two.
I love the idea of giving a new mom (new parents) you time. I really do. But I do want to have an outward appearance of having this mom-thing dialed. Not super mom, but at least more of a handle than I have.
Maybe other moms are cool with it. So ask. Because it’s a beautiful, wonderful idea.
Me? I’m hating being waited on hand and foot. I can’t wait to do my own laundry and cook my own breakfast. It’s hard asking my mom and husband for so much help. Or sitting here, helpless, while they just do it.
And one more thing…
Why didn’t a single mommy blog give advice about what I’d need for clothes after baby? The whole “you’ll look 6 months pregnant so you’ll still be in maternity wear” left out a couple of things:
1. C-section = nothing tight around the waist
2. I wore nothing but dresses.
Breast feeding means… those boobies need to be easily accessible. That means a button-down shirt. Preferably a BIG one. The dads to the rescue! Ben and my dad each gave me an old button-down shirt. Whew.
BTW: I’m not mom-blogger. I’m a Writer Mom. Navigating the very-real world of being a writer, business owner, and new-mom. This isn’t about the mom life – it’s about the Writer Mom Life. And how to make that a reality!