Since my son was born, my world seems to have been flipped upside down. I spend most days treading water, trying to keep from drowning in all of the responsibilities while still maintaining my sanity. The other day was especially hectic: I woke up late for work, had nothing to wear, no time to get ready, had to get my son fed and ready, drove him to daycare, forgot his bottles, had to drive home and back, gave him a hug praying he wouldn’t spit up on the only clean outfit I could find and then make it to work hoping I could settle in to my desk before my boss arrived and noticed how late I was. Then it hit me…this was my morning every day; chaos has officially become a habit and after speaking to a few other new moms, I learned that I am not alone. With the passing of Easter this month I came up with my own Ten Commandments (or rules) for motherhood.
I. Thou shall not sleep
The advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” has to be some kind of cruel joke to a new mom. When was I supposed to do laundry or take a shower? Even if I did try to nap when he fell asleep, he would always wake up as soon as I hit dreamland, leaving me feeling even more exhausted then before. At 4 months, we moved my little one to his own room and he started sleeping through the night. I was so excited I thought I would finally get a break but I was so paranoid about SIDS that I spent 75% of the night watching him breath on the video monitor…no rest for the wicked.
II. Thou shall not eat a hot meal
The entire time I cook dinner, I do not hear a single peep out of my son. He has to have some kind of radar to know when I am about to sit down to eat because that’s when the screaming starts. I will say I am getting pretty good at keeping food on my fork as I try to move it from my plate that’s sitting next to me on the couch.
III. Thou shall not enjoy a shower
If I had a timer in my bathroom I would say I get about 5 minutes in the shower before all hell breaks loose. I am just starting to relax and pretend I am standing under a waterfall on an exotic island (I mean you have to have an imagination to get a break these days!) when my husband starts yelling from the other room that my son “has a stinky” and “will you be much longer?” I try to pretend the water is too loud for me to hear him but that usually only buys me another 2 minutes.
IV. Thou will have no beauty regime
Since going back to work, I have found it nearly impossible to drag myself out of bed early enough to make a good effort on my appearance. There are some days I wake up, wipe the smudges from under my eyes, add another layer on top of yesterday’s makeup and jet out the door. The ponytail has become my best friend and if I am lucky enough, there is some clean laundry still sitting in the dryer from a week ago. I put on the least wrinkled option and throw on a jacket to try to mask the disheveled look.
V. Thou shall have no shame
Giving birth at a teaching hospital and having 10 strangers in the room at the time really helped me put my modesty on the back burner. Since then, I have encountered many instances that would have horrified my pre-mom self. For example: the other day my husband handed me my son and as I picked him up he pointed out something on his leg…I wiped it away not thinking twice about it until I realized…it was poop…I think the scariest part about it is that it didn’t even phase me. I have been pooped on, peed on, puked on and have used my bare hand to wipe away so much snot from my son’s nose that some days I feel like I am on an episode of Fear Factor.
VI. Thou shall master multitasking
It took me a while, but I have finally developed a way to get three dogs fed and exercised, cook dinner, clean and get a bath ready all at once. I have learned how to hold a bottle with my chin, open the baby gate with my foot and carry a car seat and 10 grocery bags at the same time without even tripping up the stairs. With all of the practice, I have recently considered joining the circus as a balancing act.
VII. Thou shall do what is convenient
I remember prior to becoming a mother, I would park my car as far as possible from the cart return at the store. Now, I get as close as I can so I can grab a buggy and put my little one straight in it. I have also found that all of those cute little outfits he received before he was born don’t hold a candle to a plain onesie (with a zipper because those snaps are a nightmare!).
VIII. Thou shall offer attention to no one but baby
I promised myself before my son was born that I would try my best not to spoil him too much and make sure that he learned to be independent. That was thrown out the window as soon as he understood how to throw a tantrum. He seems to do perfectly fine if I am not in the room but as soon as he sees me, and realizes I am talking to the dog or one the phone and not giving him my undivided attention, he has a meltdown.
IX. Thou shall not go unnoticed in public
I used to give evil and judging stares to the family at a nice restaurant whose children were causing a scene…until I became a part of that family. I try my best to plan nice dinners and grocery shopping around the time my son should be napping but it always seems to work out that on that particular day, there will be no nap and I have to rush through what I am doing to get my screaming baby out of public as soon as possible.
X. Thou shall love unconditionally
The love I have for my son is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. It is difficult to put in to words how you feel about your children and I didn’t realize how empty my life and heart were until they were filled by my son. Sometimes I just sit and watch him sleep and wonder how in the world I got so lucky. At the end of the day I can honestly say I would give up every hot meal and stay awake until I collapsed for him. All complaining and jokes aside, becoming a mother is single-handedly the best experience I have encountered and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life watching him learn and grow.
Do you have any “commandments of motherhood” you’d add to this list? Share with us in the comments!