In Honor Of Mother's Day: A Day In The Life of a New Mom
If you're thinking of having a baby, don't read this. Or do read this. I recorded everything I did for 24 hours in order to answer a simple question: what the hell do you DO all day when you have a baby? And it was brutal and awesome at the same time. I keep thinking about how last mother's day I was pregnant, but it was too early to tell anyone. I had no idea this is what my life would look like one year later. How can a day pass where I do nothing, but it feels like so much?
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Baby is 4 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days old
12:38 AM: Wake up to Baby crying. Nurse her with my head tipped back against the headrest of the chair, trying not to fall asleep and drop her. Read the cover of Dr. Ferber's book “Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems” over and over again, which is as far as I've gotten in solving my child's sleep problems. Think about blog post. Think about book I am supposed to be working on.
1:04 AM Back to bed.
3:16 AM Baby wakes again. Nurse her while thinking about the book review I'm supposed to be working on. Change her diaper.
3:51 AM Back to bed.
5:30 AM Husband wakes up for work.
6:40 AM Baby wakes up, husband brings her into bed with me, we both fall back asleep. Baby snuggles are pretty great.
6:45 AM Husband leaves for work.
7:40 AM Baby wakes up with her head wet from sweat in the crook of my arm. Nurse her in bed.
8:30 AM Get out of bed. Everyone is now out of bed except the Dog, who is snoring. Get the Baby dressed, singing “What do you want to WEAR today, what do you want to WEAR,” a song that I made up and sing every morning. Change her diaper.
8:35 AM Deposit baby on play mat.
8:36 AM Finally get to pee myself. I've had to go since she woke up at 7:40 AM.
8:38 AM Clean all the dishes from the previous night's dinner. I avoid making any and all noise while baby is sleeping, so there's always dirty dishes in the morning. Boil water for coffee.
9:07 AM Feed Dog. Clean out Dog's ears. Give Dog her Prozac, because Dog is crazy rescue animal with major separation anxiety.
9:13 AM Repeat “What is Dog doing, is she being silly?” over and over in high pitched voice to keep Baby entertained while I brew coffee and add sugar and cream. Dog is rubbing her entire body all over the length of the couch. Ensures that couch is covered in thick layer of Dog hair.
9:17 AM Text best friend to say that her birthday present is en route, because if I text her, I will HAVE to follow through and get to the post office today.
9:18 AM Realize that Dog really has to go out, and Baby will need nap soon. Coffee must wait.
9:20 AM Load Baby into carrier, put collar on Dog. (Dog does not wear collar in the house for fear of jingly tags waking Baby up.) Put leash on Dog. Walk Dog a couple of blocks while listening to This American Life and strutting like someone from the Ministry of Silly Walks to keep Baby happy. Baby likes to face out in carrier, which according to the internet, will dislodge both of her hips from their sockets eventually. So I make her face in and have to do the silly walk.
9:40 AM Return from walk. Unload Baby from carrier. Give Dog fresh water.
9:42 AM Baby starts fussing. Is ready for nap. Change diaper, swaddle Baby. Jiggle, sway, rock Baby, do deep knee bends while holding Baby. Watch for Baby's eyes to roll back in her head.
9:51 AM Baby is asleep. Decide how I will use the next 40 minutes, which is her maximum nap while I am home. (Baby will nap 2 hours for babysitter or Husband.)
9:55 AM Drink coffee, which is now cold. Try to pull up blog. Type in wrong password too many times.
10:04 AM Call blog customer support. Is easily fixed by tech wunderkind on the other end of the line.
10:20 AM Call to cancel gym membership. Signed up with high hopes after birth of baby. Have been there five times total.
10:26 AM Baby is up.
10:31 AM Let Baby cry for 5 minutes while I get dressed.
10:34 AM Nurse baby. Look up what to cook for dinner while nursing. Get call from Husband saying he is bored at work and wants to know what we are doing. Poor Husband.
10:55 AM Contemplate running errands. Baby can only be awake for 2 hours before epic meltdown, which means next nap is at 12:30. Can we run errands in 90 minutes?
10:59 AM Put on mascara and blush to combat “walking dead” look I have been sporting recently.
11:01 AM Peek out of bathroom to make sure Dog is not licking the inside of Baby's mouth.
11:02 AM Dog is licking the inside of Baby's mouth. Tell Dog to stop. Dog looks guilty.
11: 03 AM Realized I have not eaten. Tear off two bites from cold, week-old chicken breast in fridge.
11:05 AM While changing Baby's diaper, she pees all over herself, her outfit, and the changing table. Dress Baby in second outfit of the day.
11:07 AM Sling Baby in one arm, diaper bag in other arm. Dog performs “downward dog” trick in doorway over and over, waiting for a treat. Dog will not leave until she gets a treat. Give Dog a treat.
11:09 AM Haul Baby, diaper bag, and Dog down four flights of stairs and into garage. Get Dog and Baby in the car. Assemble Baby's car seat setup, including lovey, pacifier and car-safe mobile to ward off incessant car-screaming. Load anti-car-screaming CD into CD player.
11:15 AM Pull out of garage. 75 minutes until we have to be home for the next nap.
11:23 AM Park a block away from Post Office. Unpack stroller and diaper bag from trunk. Unhook baby from car seat, put in stroller. Tell Dog to wait in car.
11:25 Get in line at Post Office. Appears that no one is working there. Decide to try automatic machine. Success! Achieved one item on To-Do List for today! Am Champion Mom, Line-Skipper, and Best Friend! Birthday present will arrive ON TIME!
11:30 AM Now have 60 minutes before we need to be home for nap time. Next errand is buy new duvet cover to replace one that Baby has puked on and Dog has peed on too many times. Do I make a run for it?
11:31 AM Fuck it. I'm going. Walk back to car, put baby back in car seat, fold stroller back up, put diaper bag and stroller back in trunk.
11:45 Arrive at Big Box Store, which arguably has the worst parking lot in San Francisco. Regardless, find miracle spot. Baby did not scream in the car. Hooray! Repeat carseat/stroller/diaper bag unpacking and assembling ritual. Again, tell sad Dog to wait in car.
11:50 AM Ask first employee I see where the duvet covers are. Don't have time to mess around. Must take elevator up to second floor (no more escalators re: stroller) and find duvet covers in the furthest reaches of back corner of store.
11:53 AM Find another employee. Ask where cheapest ivory colored duvet cover is. To entertain Baby, I am narrating aloud this entire process. “Now we're getting off the elevator. You're being such a big girl! Look there's a nice man with a name tag – let's ask him about duvet covers! Do you know what a duvet cover is? It's a cover you put on your...duvet...which is like a fluffy blanket...you don't get to use blankets since they will certainly suffocate you in the night...anyway, the cover is so you don't get shit on it. Like your puke. Yes! You're such a good puker! Oh look these "cheap" duvets are sixty dollars. That's why Daddy has to go to work every day! Such a big, smart, girl, a happy girl with no crying!”
11:55 AM Duvet cover obtained! 35 minutes to spare before meltdown. Oooh...look at those throw pillows... I was thinking of adding a coral accent color to our bedroom. Now that Husband isn't working nights anymore we can get rid of those terrible blackout curtains...we really do need a whole new bed actually –
12:09 PM THE TIRED CRY. What?! We have another 21 minutes! What the fuck Baby? I got cocky and started looking at throw pillows. And we're still 15 minutes from home. I'm buying this goddamn duvet. Clerk looks at me with pity while Baby screams and I pay. Asks if I want a sink strainer, their item of the week. Do I look like I want a fucking sink strainer?
12:16 PM Load stroller, duvet, diaper bag, and crying Baby back into car. Tell Dog not to lick baby in the mouth, but Dog has mothering instinct and can barely contain herself when Baby is crying. Crank up non-car-screaming CD, which is comprised of 90s gangster rap and the one magic song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It works! Baby stops crying immediately. Hallelujah!
12:18 PM Still, driving like a maniac to get home by 12:30 like I said I would. Am Good Mom, do not skip naps.
12:23 PM What the fuck is all this traffic for? Are you people out for a goddamn Sunday drive?
12:24 PM Ooh, there's an accident. With a scooter. Which means that person is probably very very injured. Feel bad for a second. MUST GET HOME.
12:29 PM Pulling into my street. Is suspiciously quiet in the backseat. Has Dog finally succeeded in suffocating Baby with her loving canine tongue?
12:31 PM Pull into garage. BABY IS ASLEEP IN CAR SEAT. Monumental day. This has never happened before without someone sitting back there to shpat her (shpat=shush and pat). Do happy dance in garage with Dog.
12:32 PM Decide not to move baby. Take Dog out into backyard, leaving door open so I can hear Baby when she wakes up. Chase Dog around yard with de-shedding brush.
12:41 PM Get nervous that I will not hear Baby, or Baby will wake and be scared. Go back into garage with Dog. Dog falls asleep on floor. I am the only one not sleeping.
12:47 PM Check out Husband's TRX setup in garage. Looks hard. Must learn, now that I have quit gym.
12:52 PM Attempt to check Facebook. No signal in garage. Leave it to Baby to fall asleep in situation that I can't be productive, entertained, or get any rest myself. Sit on floor in garage and look at Dog. Hope none of my neighbors come home so I have to explain this situation.
1:21 PM Baby wakes up. Good nap, Baby! Cart Baby, Dog, and all possessions up four flights.
1:23 PM Am hangry. (Hangry=hungry+angry). Make slice of pumpernickel toast while baby plays on play mat.
1:40 PM Feed baby. Surf Netflix. Baby is not supposed to have any screen time before age two, so I only watch after she's in bed or when her face is buried in my cleveage. Watch 30 minutes of the BBC documentary “7 UP” about a bunch of kids they followed and checked in with every seven years. One little girl, when asked, says in an extremely proper British accent, that she would like to have two children, but that she would like a nanny to look after them. Amen.
2:12 PM Contemplate what to do next.
2:14 PM Reorganize my travel cosmetics bag.
2:30 PM Feel guilty for ignoring baby. Sit on play mat with her and describe every object to her as I put it into the bag. "This is shampoo. And this is conditioner. And this is wash for your face." When she makes fascinated sounds, repeat them back to her. Am good mom, helping develop verbal skills.
2:46 PM Clean floors. Dog is shedding like crazy. House looks like it has snowdrifts of blonde fur in corners.
2:55 PM Realize I am spraying hardwood floor cleaner near baby. Consider looking up ingredients, decide not to. Move Baby to elevated play chair instead of just on floor, feel better. Dog follows me around house monitoring cleaning process. I remind her that all of this hair is hers.
3:14 PM Baby is yelling. Turn on her favorite Pandora station, Notorious B.I.G.
3:15 PM Baby still yelling. Time for nap. Sit down with her in her rocking chair and attempt to read Richard Scarry's “The Naughty Bunny”. Find myself judging Mr. and Mrs. Bunny's parenting skills. What kind of self esteem is the little "naughty" bunny going to have?
3:18 PM After making it through three pages, and screaming all the way, wrap Baby in swaddle and rock her to sleep.
3:24 PM Put Baby down on tummy for nap. Been trying to do this once a day even though Child Protective Services might come and arrest me. She's about to enter the stage of rolling in her sleep, and that means she'll be waking up crying every time she rolls over if she's not used to sleeping on her stomach. Trying to head this next sleep disturbance off at the pass. Usually Baby wakes up PISSED after about 20 minutes, but I keep trying.
3:30 PM Give dog early dinner with a Xanax, since we have music class and are going to leave her at home, which usually makes her go ballistic.
3:31 PM Make sure Baby is not dead.
3:32 PM Prep dinner. Chop sweet potatoes as quietly as possible and make iced coffee out of the half pot of cold coffee left from this morning.
3:36 PM Make sure Baby is not dead.
3:42 PM Make sure Baby is not dead.
3:50 PM Baby wakes up, flips herself over, and starts playing with her lovey. Success! Am clever mommy.
3:54 PM Set up doggie surveillance cam to monitor crazy Dog while we are gone.
3:59 PM Leave with Baby. Tell Dog to WAIT.
4:13 PM Holy shit, we might actually be on time. Not on time Baby Time (which is 15 minutes late) but actually on time regular people time.
4:17 PM Park, stroller, diaper bag, etc.
4:21 PM Okay, ALMOST on time.
4:22 PM Music class is awesome, Baby loves it. Mom of 2-month old baby next to us asking me questions about how to calm him etc. Feel wise and experienced. 2-mo baby seems so little next to 4-mo kicking, smiling, rolling Baby.
4:47 PM Check doggie cam. Dog is passed out in Xanax coma by front door. Good Dog.
5:15 PM Drive home. Baby is hungry and starting get angry. Curse other drivers in my way. How long before Baby understands swear words? Eat some secret chocolate that I have stashed in my glove compartment.
5:30 PM Home. Flop immediately on couch and take off my shirt to feed Baby. Dog is frantic, bringing over every toy in her toy basket to greet us. Supposed to ignore her for first 15 minutes after an absence, but is hard. Give her brief pat on head. Peruse my mommy online forum. There is a woman who posts asking advice about getting her 9-week old to sleep through the night (good luck) and in doing so, describes her bedtime routine with the baby. Which includes this step: “We have a cap that we put on him and pull down over his eyes, which we have trained him to know means that it's time to go to sleep.” What? You blindfold your newborn baby to get him to go to sleep? Am superior, amazing mom for not blindfolding my baby.
5:58 PM Change Baby's fat, soaking diaper. Whoops. Mediocre mom.
6:10 PM Boil new bottles to sanitize. Baby is now taking more than 4 ounces at a feeding, so need big girl bottles!
6:12 PM Get ready to walk Dog. Put Baby in the carrier, get leash, treats, poop bags, keys, phone, hat for baby, jacket for me.
6:14 PM Leave for walk. Listen more to NPR's This American Life on “Death and Taxes.” Nancy Updike is interviewing hospice nurses. Nancy talks about her stepfather who recently passed away, whose name was Asa. Think Asa is a great name for a boy, and if we have another kid and it's a boy we could name him Asa. WHAT THE FUCK?! Where did that thought come from? This is the first time I have contemplated another baby with anything besides horror. In the podcast, underlying Nancy's narration, I hear the sound of labored, near-death breathing. The death rattle.
6:37 PM Home. Take Baby out of carrier and realize that she has pooped up the back of her outfit, and thus up the front of mine. Is pointless pursuit to try to clean baby poop out of anything, so throw both items in the trash can.
6:45 PM Start bedtime routine. Let Baby roll around on a blanket naked. Run a bath. Pour wine for myself. Give Baby bath, blow dry her, give her a massage with coconut oil. Dog tries to remove all coconut oil as I apply it. Don't blame her, Baby smells like popcorn.
7:30 PM Give Baby a bottle. Realize that wine has hit me hard. Am very hungry. Only ate two bites of chicken, glove compartment chocolate, and toast today. How am I not skinnier than I am? Feel slightly drunk.
7:45 PM Daddy gets home. He puts Baby in jammies and puts her to sleep while I finish making dinner.
7:52 PM Baby is sleeping. Kiss Daddy hello. Feel sick, don't eat much dinner. Talk about our day and watch Modern Family. Husband rubs my tummy. Is great Husband.
8:49 PM Bed time for Mommy. It was a good day. Everyone is still alive. Attempt to read an article in the New Yorker from pile of unread New Yorkers on nightstand. Pass out.
12:46 AM Wake up to Baby crying.