I have a friend who works as a nurse in the ER of a hospital. She deals mostly with pediatric cases and sees moms and babies coming in all the time. The other day she was telling me of this woman who came in with a sleeping infant in her arms. As is the usual custom, the woman was asked to fill out some paperwork before being admitted. This mom looked at my nurse friend as if she had three heads. "Oh, well, I can't do that and hold the baby so I'll just wait for my husband to get here."
Now listen, I'm not judging this mom. I can understand how in this situation she may be a little overwhelmed or stressed. After all, she's in the hospital because her baby is sick, which is always distressing. But my friend and I were both surprised that this mom found it impossible to fill out a few papers while holding her baby, because one thing is true of all moms: we are masters of multitasking.
With my youngest about to turn three I am firmly out of the baby stage, but I still recall all I had to accomplish throughout my early mama days with a baby in my arms. Here are just seven I learned to master... because sometime you don't have a choice:
1. Going to the bathroom. You can gag if you want to, but what mom hasn't been there before? Fussy baby just fell asleep in your arms after screaming for an hour when, uh-oh, nature is calling. Why risk waking the baby by trying to place her in the crib? Not worth it. And yes, it's possible to wash your hands (or at least the one free hand) and continue holding that sleeping baby.
2. Typing on the computer. Since most of my work is done on my laptop from home, I had to get really good at writing and holding a baby at the same time. I still recall hours after my son's birth hopping on my laptop to tell the world of his arrival as I held him in my arms. Hey, I was an excited new mom and had to share the good news. My husband snapped a photo and chuckled.
To keep the peace I would have to hold my bundle of joy and balance food on my fork simultaneously. Definitely every mom has been there, done that.
3. Eating. Sometimes mama and baby have to eat at the same time, am I right? There have been many a time I nursed my baby and enjoyed my meal at the same time. Or there would be times when the baby would get fussy while out at a restaurant. To keep the peace I would have to hold my bundle of joy and balance food on my fork simultaneously. Definitely every mom has been there, done that.
4. Chores. Maybe not all chores, but the ones on the list that are totally feasible include: throwing a load of laundry in the wash, vacuuming, wiping down counters, and loading the dishwasher.
5. Putting make-up on. It may not be my best work, but it's doable.
6. Shopping. Because sometimes Baby simply refuses to sit in the shopping cart or the stroller or anywhere else but in your arms.
7. Sleeping. Just this morning my two-year-old came wandering into our room at 5 a.m. She snuggled under the covers and I held her in my arms as she drifted back to sleep. And then I knocked right back out. Okay, so she's not a baby anymore, but sleeping and holding her at the same time has been something that has occurred regularly since her newborn days. I guess we're a family of cuddlers around here.
Come on, moms. What can you do while holding a baby? I'm sure there are some pretty interesting responses out there.