Before I had my daughter, I was a bit of a control freak. I knew that when I had a baby, I’d have to let go of some of the things I worked hard to maintain. Become more flexible and all that.
But what I didn't know was how hard that would be.
There are days when I drive myself completely crazy making sure the dishes are cleaned and put away before my husband comes home.
Having a baby turns your world upside down, and no amount of planning can prepare you for that. Here are just seven things I’ve let slide since having a baby:
1) Showering everyday.
Yes, being a stay-at-home mom allows you to stay in your pajamas until 4 p.m. (or all day). I realize if I was actually going into work every morning, I’d have to put more effort into my appearance. But especially in the first six weeks, I showered only every few days. I mean, how is it possible to do more than that with a screaming baby who wants nothing more than to be on you?
I wasn’t perfect in my past life. I could trash a room with the best of them, what with blankets and mail and sweatshirts tossed onto the couch. But I could always put it all away. Now? There are toys. And bouncers. And exersaucers. And a big blanket smack in the middle of the room with a side order of diapers and wipes. And who wants to pick up all that in the evening only to drag it all out again the next morning because, hello, you have a baby to entertain!
3) Needing to be on time.
OK, so I’m still mostly on time, but that means I’m panting running around the house before heading out the door because not only do I have to manage to get myself ready, but I have a baby who just pooped in the second outfit of the day, and I’m pretty sure she’ll puke right as I buckle her into the car seat. Here’s the thing: you will always have the perfect excuse to be late to everything. The baby. Always blame it on the baby.
So this one pretty much sucks. Our evenings are taken up with the baby. Baths, diapers, time on the living room floor playing with toys. Then you try to put them to bed and—surprise!—they wake up 45 times wanting to nurse or snuggle or just because they damn well please. When we aren’t doing all of the above, you can find us catatonic in front of the TV.
Full disclosure: I have an Australian Cattle Dog. Apparently they shed, like, a lot. And my baby is now entering that stage of “why should I stay on my little blanket when there is a whole hairy carpet to explore?!” I’m pretty sure she’s been ingesting a healthy amount of dog hair since she was a newborn. Should I be vacuuming everyday? Probably. But all those toys all over the place… see #2.
I had a C-section with my baby. And though I wear my red scar proudly, I have to tell myself when I see my reflection in the full length mirror, that I am recovering. Even six months later, I am recovering. My abs were rudely shoved to the side so the surgeon could pull my baby out. Those things take time to go back to normal. I need to give myself grace and allow those daily walks with the stroller to count for something.
7) Sleeping through the night.
Ah, this one is by far the hardest to let go of. I knew in the beginning I’d be waking every two hours for awhile, especially since I was nursing on demand. Then, for a few weeks, my precious daughter gave me six or more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Of course I wasn’t actually sleeping for all of it, as I had to continuously wake up and make sure she was still breathing. But then, the sleep regression hit at four months and suddenly I’m a walking zombie again. Sleep. Give it up for awhile. Just when you think they are sleeping through the night, they won’t. Babies are jerks like that.
The thing to keep in mind about all this is that eventually it will get better. Eventually you can take your house back from the toys. Eventually you'll sleep a full eight hours consistently. You'll eventually have sex with your husband again without wondering if you'll wake up the baby. You'll eventually make it back to the gym to Zumba to your heart’s content. In the meantime, embrace this thing called The Early Days of Motherhood. It’s only here for a fleeting second.
And one day you'll look around at your spotless living room and miss it.