When I was pregnant with my first baby, I knew that life was about to change in a BIG way. That’s no secret. I think everyone knows that becoming a parent is pretty much the biggest life changing event there is. I knew that my life would never be the same. I expected everything to be different, and I was perfectly fine with it, I was excited about it.
I prepared myself, and my husband, for a life and a future that revolved around our baby. I knew that every decision we made, be it big or small, would be based on how it would affect our children. And clearly, the late nights with friends, the freedom of doing whatever we want, whenever we wanted, and the days of having extra money were long behind us.
Having a baby changes your entire life, your future, your goals, your reason for waking up in the morning… everyone knows that. But what nobody warned me about, what I think nothing could have ever prepared me for, is the way that having a newborn flips your entire life upside down. By entire life, I mean every detail of every day.
Every single second of every minute is disrupted by this tiny little person who looks so sweet and innocent, but sometimes seems like his only goal in life is to prevent you from achieving whatever simple task it is that you have decided to attempt that day.
Some moms do a good job at pretending to have it all together during those first few weeks with a new baby. They look great, they smell clean, they even appear well rested. They clean their houses, cook meals for their husbands, and arrive to social events on time. It boggles my mind and makes me wonder where these ladies are hiding their maids, chefs, nannies, and hairdressers. I’m in awe of these moms.
Because for the rest of us, this is just not reality. For the rest of us with a newborn, reality is feeling like there are simply not enough hours in the day to do ANYTHING, but tend to our new baby’s every need. Simply making it to the restroom in time is an accomplishment. Every little ordinary thing that we would typically do for ourselves in a normal day BEFORE baby, suddenly feels like an unachievable goal.
Here are 7 normal daily tasks that feel like a major accomplishment once you add a newborn to the mix. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
7 Showering Daily
Before baby, I took showering for granted. Showering was something I had to do everyday. I typically waited until the last possible second to get out of bed and rush through a quick shower. Oh, if only I had known then what I know now…I would have taken long, luxurious, uninterrupted showers every single day. If I could go back, I would set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier, just so I could stand under the hot water without a care in the world.
Because nobody warned me that when there is a newborn in the house, a long shower isn’t an option. Simply finding the time for a quick shower between a newborn's cluster feedings and diaper changes is a challenge. If you are home alone with the baby, you're faced with making the ultimate decision, do you dare lay the baby down once he’s finally sleeping comfortably?
And if you do lay him down, where do you put him while you shower? Do you bring him into the bathroom with you and risk waking him? Or do you leave him in another room, sprint to the bathroom, and shut the shower off every 30 seconds because you imagine you hear him crying?
You can't relax in the shower because your mind keeps hearing your baby cry, even when they aren't
My goal was always to make it to conditioning before I heard a baby crying. If I could make it that far then I knew I would at least get to finish my shower before running wet and naked across the house to tend to my master--I mean my sweet newborn. So, it's no surprise that putting ourselves through this struggle every single day just seems silly.
We start aiming for a shower every other day. We stock up on extra deodorant and perfume to get us through the longer stretches where baby is particularly clingy. And we become experts at showering with the curtain open while simultaneously entertaining our babies. Get used to it, 4 year olds don’t like it when mommy showers either.
6 Going to the Bathroom Alone
Unfortunately, unless you are willing to wear a diaper, going to the restroom when nature calls simply isn’t negotiable. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Newborns are experts at needing something at precisely the exact same time that we realize we need to use the restroom. Whether they're nursing, finally drifting off to sleep peacefully on your shoulder, or choosing that exact moment to explode their diaper, they love to need us when we need the toilet.
It is for this exact reason that moms quickly become accustomed to having company in the bathroom. Whether or not you choose to take on the task of juggling your new baby while actually using the restroom is up to you. Just know that at some point in your life as a parent to little people, you will become quite skilled at unbuttoning your pants and pulling them up and down with one hand while holding a sleeping or nursing baby or toddler with the other hand. I know, ew germs, right?
Trust me. You’ll do it. Even if you do manage to escape to the bathroom alone, your new baby will likely start crying before you’ve finished your business. Maybe your partner will keep him occupied for you until you get done, or maybe he will be kind enough to bring the baby to you. And public restrooms are a different kind of monster all together… that‘s the stuff nightmares are made of. I can’t even go there right now.
You've got company in places you never wanted it before
Basically, from the moment you have your first beautiful baby, going to the restroom alone becomes a luxury. Babies love their mommies and they want to be with us at all times. This never stops. Until your kids hit the age where seeing mommy going to the bathroom finally becomes gross and undesirable, you'll pretty much never have privacy again, even for life’s most private moments. In other words, you may as well remove your bathroom door. You won’t be using it for a while.
5 Pampering Yourself
Unfortunately, I’m not referring to spa days, for most of us those luxurious days of manis and pedis, massages, and facials become something that simply happened “before kids”. No, once we have a newborn in the house, the little things that used to be a part of our regular routines become unnecessary extras. I kid you not, I remember looking in the mirror when my first baby was 4 months old and realizing that I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows once since he was born.
Like I said, simply showering to get the filth off is a real life struggle with a new baby in the house, so the extra little things like applying makeup, shaving, plucking, painting our nails, or coloring and styling our hair just seem impossible. We try to keep up. I mean, most of us can pluck our eyebrows with one hand. But good luck finding time to allow both hands to dry after painting your nails.
The days of simple pleasures are gone for now
And there’s a reason why short hair is referred to as a “mom haircut”, we’re all tempted to cut our hair off at one point or another. Why not? It’s not like we have time to do anything with it anyway! It can be depressing as a new mom looking in the mirror at yourself, still a little puffy, bags under your eyes, messy hair, no makeup, and no clothes that fit. But I’m here to tell you that those things don’t matter.
Sure, nobody wants to feel like they're letting themselves go, but you have to remember WHY you look the way you do. Take a look at the sweet little face that is probably attached to your hip or your boob and take a deep breath. It’s worth it. Plus, I like to tell myself that nobody is looking at me when I have my cute babies with me anyway.
4 Getting Out the Door On Time
This has been my own personal greatest challenge since day one of being a mommy. From the first time we attempted to leave the house with our first little bundle of joy, complete with two heaping diaper bags full of God only knows what, getting out the door on time has been nothing short of an unobtainable goal.
It doesn’t matter how early I wake up, how many hours I give myself to get us all ready, how well prepared I think I may be, something ALWAYS happens that makes getting out the door a struggle. For us, it’s usually poop. My husband and I used to swear that our newborns were incapable of being buckled into their car seats without pooping everywhere.
Your on baby time now, get used to it
I could rush around all morning and be right on schedule to leave with enough time to get to the baby’s checkup in time to nurse him before his appointment, only to strap him into his seat and hear the tell tale sound of his diaper exploding. And of course, it’s always a blow out in these situations. He always pooped up his back and soaked his cute outfit. Why wouldn’t he?
If it’s not poop, it’s pee, or spit up, or hunger, or the baby is sleeping and you don’t want to wake him, or you can’t find the binky, and on and on. So that’s why I never arrive anywhere without being a couple of minutes late and covered in sweat. In fact, sweaty has pretty much been my signature look since I started pumping out baby’s almost 5 years ago.
3 Cleaning for Real
When you have a newborn in the house, cleaning is a whole new ballgame. I mean, just keeping up with the pile of diapers, dirty burp cloths, and the ungodly amount of laundry a newborn goes through is tough enough for me. But, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a great housekeeper. Before babies, cleaning was a struggle for me. I did my best, I tried I really did. But I still mostly managed to keep my house “presentable” a best.
With a newborn in the house, what is presentable changes. Know this. Remember this. Accept this, and you will be a happier new mom. Nobody expects your baseboards to be wiped clean and your windows to sparkle when they come to meet your new baby. Trust me! In fact, I try to remind myself that when people come over, they are coming to see me and my babies, not my house. But I know it’s still tough.
Mr Clean becomes your fantasy man for a whole new reason
Keeping my house clean is an everyday battle that I feel like I will never win. When your life is revolving around a new baby, simply having clean dishes and clothes is an admirable accomplishment. If I manage to run the sweeper and take out the trash in the same day , I am feeling pretty productive. Jobs like mopping floors and cleaning windows are the things we save for later.
While I’m admittedly the last person who should be giving housekeeping advice, I’ll just say this… I recommend getting used to the chaos that ensues when a newborn takes over your clean organized house, because once they are mobile, it only gets crazier.
2 Grocery Shopping
Before I had kids, I used to actually enjoy grocery shopping. This sounds downright crazy to me now. Now, grocery shopping with babies is seriously my idea of torture. Challenge number one ( unless you count getting out the door as challenge number 1, which is legit), is figuring out what to do with the baby. If you have him in his infant carrier, you have to anticipate taking up more than half your cart space with the car seat.
You can carry the baby but that gets old fast and is pretty much a surefire way to rock that sweaty look I talked about earlier. I’ve found the easiest way to shop with a new baby, if I have to, is to wear the baby. But still, newborns like to make grocery shopping even less pleasant than it is on it’s own. Aside from taking up space in your cart or your arms, they almost never make it through the entire shopping trip without crying for whatever reason.
Grocery shopping becomes a stressful event
So 9 times out of 10, I find myself narrowing my list of groceries down to super-essential essentials and cutting my shopping trips short when baby is along for the ride. Which means I only have to go back sooner… I hate leaving my babies and have always taken them almost everywhere with me. But grocery shopping is where I draw the line and try my hardest to go alone.
No matter how small my list is, if I bring babies with me, one of us almost always cries before we make it to the checkout line. So if you are grocery shopping with a baby and you make it all the way through your list, through checkout, and out of the store without any mishaps, give yourself a pat on the back. You are my hero!
1 Having Adult Time
I’m still trying to figure this one out too. Whether it be “me time”, alone time with my husband, or adult time with my girlfriends, when a newborn is involved, there just doesn’t seem to be time leftover for anyone else. It seems odd that a newborn, who seems to sleep more than it is awake, could take up so much of our time and energy. But, they do.
After a day full of tending to our new baby’s every need we're often too tired and overwhelmed to even think about trying to make time for someone else, or even ourselves. In fact, in the early days we are probably falling asleep right next to the baby, only to awake hours later with the lights on and drool running down our chins, just in time for baby’s first feeding of the night.
For new parents who have grown accustomed to having lots of quality alone time together, this can be shocking at first. But you’ll get used to it. Eventually you’ll find the energy to make time for each other again. Romantic evenings out over fancy dinners may be traded in for watching reruns on the couch with pizza in sweatpants while the baby sleeps in his swing next to you, but that’s ok .
Adult time will turn into a new dynamic way of bonding with friends and family
If you’re lucky enough to have friends with kids, girls nights might be traded for play dates at the park. You’ll learn to gossip over the cries and giggles of your sweet babies and you’ll be totally fine with the fact that it takes twice as long to tell a story amidst the countless interruptions.
For most new moms, I think “me time” is typically the hardest to find time for. It’s easy to put everyone else first, and at the end of the day, there just isn’t much time left for yourself. This can be tough for new moms who are used to having a lot of alone time. But the good news is, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. While you shouldn’t feel even the slightest bit guilty about taking time for yourself, you will likely find yourself doing it less and less.
After all, is there really anything better than the company of your sweet babies? Just don’t feel bad letting other loved ones enjoy their company every now and then so that you can get a moment to yourself. Consider it sharing the baby and saving your sanity.