With my first Mother's Day looming , I have been thinking about all of the things that I didn't know about motherhood until I became a mother. Like how little sleep you can survive on and still function. And how a long, hot shower can be just as relaxing and energizing as a Caribbean vacation. I knew to expect the diapers and feedings and tons of laundry, but there are some things that never occurred to me would come in handy.
I decided to make a list of things that have made me feel like a successful mom. A Mother's Day guide if you will. Plus I really like making lists.
1. Batteries. What is it with baby stuff and batteries? EVERYTHING requires batteries. Toys, white noise machines, music players, vibrating seats, swings, mobiles and on and on. It seems like I am always replacing batteries in something. There is nothing creepier than a toy that plays music and has dying batteries so be sure to have plenty on hand.
2. Burp cloth/towel/paper towel. Seriously, just when you think you cannot get barfed on 1 more time, the baby barfs again. I've had barf in my hair, barf in my bra, barf on my clothes, barf on my couch, barf in my bed, barf in the nursery, barf on the floor, barf in the tub, etc. Babies barf, a lot. Not to mention they slobber and drool and snot and spit up. Having something to wipe yourself (and baby) off with at all times is crucial to surviving infancy.
3. Singing ability. Or at least the willingness to sing silly songs. Everything I do requires a song. I don't know if it's because I've gone a little crazy being alone with a baby for 5 months or if Beatrice just likes it, but I sing to everything I do. Diaper change, diaper change, little Beatrice gets a diaper change. Or how about this little ditty: Other side milkies, other side milkies, Beatrice gets the other side milkies. That's our nursing song. And I sing it every time I feed her. She laughs. JD even sings it. Singing makes babies laugh. And it keeps them (and me) from crying when everyone is cranky.
4. A friend that doesn't have a baby. This is so important. Having non-mommy friends helps me to not become a character on Sesame Street (see item 3 on the list). Friends without babies have non-baby things to talk about. Mommyhood is great, but before I was a mommy I was a person with hobbies and saw movies once in a while. Having friends that still do those things connects me to that life.
5. Eating dinner while holding a baby. This must be learned while sitting on the floor, standing over the sink, and at a restaurant. I have not completely mastered this but now that Beatrice can hold onto me, I am getting better. Seriously, there is something about my child that needs to come out in the form of tears and horrible crying when I sit down to eat dinner. I have moved my dinner time up to a time that she is not typically cranky (4:45 is the earliest I can go) but it never fails, as soon as I set my plate down and pick up my fork the waterworks start up. So, instead of listening to her wail (or me starving), I hold her while I eat. This continues to be a challenge now that she is interested in everything that goes in my mouth.
6. Get a hobby. Whether it's reading or crocheting or blogging, having something to do that I enjoy has made me such a happy mommy. Not only is it fun, but when caring for an infant who depends on me for everything, doing a little something just for me feels like a luxury. Plus, it makes me a little more interesting, ya know? I want to be a person who has things to talk about and talents and skills that go beyond changing a diaper 1 handed while folding laundry with the other. I want to be able to teach her how to do things too.
7. Take a walk everyday. I love our walks. It gets me out of the house and a little fresh air goes a long way. We take a walk everyday (weather permitting) around 4 o'clock. It is a good break point in the day and when we come back, there are only 2 more hours until Beatrice's bedtime (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Our walks are no strolls in the park though. We hoof it. I walk the kind of walk that requires a shower afterwards. I want to feel the burn and make my body work for that endorphin high. And Beatrice loves it. She kicks her little legs while I push her along. I look forward to our walks.
8. Put your baby to bed early. This may be my favorite item on the list. I have a very easy baby but once 4 o'clock hits, I look forward to bedtime. Not because I don't want to take care of her anymore, but it is finally time to kick up my feet for a minute and eat something slowly or talk to JD without making funny faces (sometimes we still make funny faces but it's purely for our amusement). I can't imagine what it will be like to have her in bed early when JD returns (next week, woohoo!). We can have time to ourselves like in the olden days before there were barf stains on the couch. It is a much needed time to recharge myself and get ready for the next day.
I tried to go for 10, but this is all I can come up with (a fanny pack came this close to making the list because hands free storage is crucial, but fanny packs are so 1988 so I passed on it). I'm sure as Beatrice grows along with my mommy experience, I'll be adding things to my list. For now, I'm happily looking forward to my first Mother's Day with the teensiest bit of mommy knowhow and loads of confidence for the next ones to come. Happy Mother's Day mom!