White Furniture, Frozen Peas, and Other Mommy Mistakes
Ah…look at those two fools. They think they’re prepared for parenthood because they own a home, have solid careers, are in their late twenties, and happily married. Here’s a glimpse into the hot mess that awaits them. This is their house before they left for the hospital:
Here’s what it looked like a week later:
Yep, the smiling mother-to-be in that photo is me. Moments before that snapshot, my husband said, “You’re lucky to be getting a 14-week maternity leave. You’ve never had that much time off of work before.” My first mistake was being too stupid to recognize that comment was a blaring red flag. Below is a mere sample platter of the blunders that followed as I muddled through my first year of motherhood.
#1: When filling out the forms for my son’s birth certificate, I wrote my own mother’s name in the space designated for ‘mother’s name.’
#2: I assumed my husband was familiar with postpartum breast engorgement and sent him to the store for a few packs of frozen peas to ease my sore boobs. He returned with boxes of frozen peas instead of bags. “What the hell do you expect me to do with these?” I screamed. My bewildered hubby incredulously declared, “You said to buy frozen peas and that’s what I bought! These were on sale!“
#3: I heeded the warning from a nurse who told me newborns are prone to catching colds after a bath. Taking no chances, I warmed up my son’s bath towel in the dryer before draping it around him. This went on for months until my friend happened to be over and witnessed this absurd scene. Shocked, she blurted out, “Did you give birth to the prince of England? This is ridiculous!”
#4: I was convinced my son was going to die in his sleep. Not on my watch, I thought. I slept on the floor of his room so I could check his breathing every few minutes. Sleeping on thin carpet in 3-minute spurts after a C-section is not a recipe for a speedy postpartum recovery.
#5: I thought my husband would help with nighttime feedings. Instead, he took a whopping two days off of work after our son’s birth and claimed he couldn’t handle nighttime shifts because he wouldn’t be able to function professionally. Somehow, that applied to the weekends as well. Imagine how delightful it was to stagger into our room on 30 minutes of sleep and find him lounging in his boxers watching The Price is Right.
#6: I tried to tackle unfamiliar tasks in an anxiety-ridden state.
To maintain a happy marriage and avoid public arguments over the nutritional value of Marshmallow Fluff, my husband always did the grocery shopping. Alone. Two weeks after giving birth to our colicky son, I was desperate to escape and insisted on going to this foreign land, known as the local grocery store. I ended up scaring the other customers and confusing cashiers when I mistakenly pushed my way through a check-out line under the guise of a self-proclaimed frozen pizza emergency.
#7: I believed my friends who had recently become moms when they said crap like You’re gonna love the newborn stage. You’ll be tired, but you’ll run on pure adrenaline. Sometimes, I would just stay awake rocking my baby long after he fell asleep because he was so yummy!
#8: I didn’t push for the anti-anxiety medication I most definitely needed. Here’s how my 6-week postpartum doctor appointment went down:
OB/GYN: Do you ever think about hurting yourself or your baby?
OB/GYN: Wonderful, you seem like you’re handling motherhood well.
#9: I didn’t accept the help I truly needed.
My best friend, Stacy, came to stay with us for a weekend. After 35 days of non-stop screaming (mostly from my baby), I was deliriously exhausted. Yet, when Stacy ordered me to sleep while she handled the nighttime shift, I lurked outside the nursery, spying on my bestie who eventually admitted, “your baby fights sleep like the devil.”
#10: Once I finally got my son to stop screaming and sleep, I adhered to his nap schedule as if the fate of the free world hinged on my baby getting to his crib at the precise optimal moment. Bill Clinton was probably more relaxed during his impeachment trial than I was if we missed our “napping window.” I conducted sacred pre-nap rituals that would put any secret society ceremony to shame. My protocol included books, songs, mirrors, and white noise.
Fortunately, I shed most of my anal retentive tendencies by the time my son turned one. Although, I may need to reprise my neurotic mother extraordinaire role as I buckle my seatbelt to brace for the teenage years. My baby boy turns 13 in February.
- This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with scleroderma (except the hyper-link I just added)
- Truth be told, I recently gave my blog a makeover and my friend Scott Kempler (Kempler Creative) created a great new logo. I wanted to show it off, but am currently suffering from writer’s block. I decided to feature this piece just for shiggles.
- Since you’re here, check out the little video I created to promote my book. Yes, I can find all kinds of ways to procrastinate 🙂