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14 Skills I've Nailed in the First Year of Motherhood

Photograph by Rebekah Henderson

For my son’s first birthday last month, I threw a huge party. It wasn’t your typical kids birthday extravaganza with baby decorations, it was more of a let’s-watch-Mommy-get-wasted-on-champagne-while-she-wears-a-tiara kind of party. People asked me what gifts they should get and I cordially instructed them to bring wine or 20 dollar bills for the babysitter. People thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.

His little baby friends came and they had fun spreading their germs all over our house. Guests brought wine but they also brought him gifts, which he loved, especially the wrapping paper. He wore a felt crown and smashed a cake in his own face. It was a successful shindig and fun was had by all, but that party wasn’t for my beautiful son, that party was to celebrate ME.

I survived the first year of motherhood and since I’m such a show off I wanted to share my new amazing skills and all the knowledge I have acquired over the course of this last year:

1. Making Iced Coffee: I learned how to make the best iced coffee, and it was so simple! Just take a fresh cup of hot coffee, attend to your baby and leave it on the counter until it gets cold, then stick it in the microwave, heat it up, forget it’s in there until you need to heat something up. Repeat multiple times a day with the same cup of coffee. Guaranteed to be ice cold!

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2. How to Make Your Skinny Weird Newborn Look Adorable: Drink until he’s cute. Just kidding! You will think he is adorable due to something called “mom goggles”. One year later, your Facebook memory posts will make you will realize he looked totally weird.

3. How to Avoid Getting Peed and/or Pooped On: Psych! You can’t avoid it. Just accept it and know it all comes off with soap and water.

4. How to Make Mom Friends: Single lady friends are great and all that but I needed people around that knew what I was going through, so I joined a neighborhood moms club and offered to host playdates.

5. How to Throw a Playdate: I thought playdates were to get your kid together with another kid to play with, but when they are babies playdates consist of drinking mimosas in the morning while your babies ignore each other. The main thing I learned is that if you provide booze, the mommies will come!

6. How to Dress Appropriately For Post-Baby Body: Nothing will fit, don’t worry about it. Just keep rocking those maternity yoga pants.*Important*: Do not try to copy your very hot 24-year-old nanny by wearing a romper. No es bueno.

Order takeout until baby is sleeping through the night.

7. How to Clothes Shop Efficiently: Those cheap clothes look awesome online, but not so awesome on one’s body. I’m talking camel toes and high waters, people. Do not order them late at night. Especially a plus-sized romper. Instead, go to Ross, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack—or whatever discount store is in your area—buy everything that you like, leave the tags on, try it on at home and then return whatever doesn’t work. This will most likely be everything you bought. You will be bigger or smaller than you realized. Then get all new stuff when you go to return the ill-fitting items. Repeat until you have a few things that you feel pretty in.

8. How to Cook Amazing Meals For Your Partner: Order takeout until baby is sleeping through the night. Then invest in a slow cooker and make soups and stews until you can’t stand them anymore and go back to ordering takeout.

9. How to Avoid a Hangover: Drink early and often.

10. How to Give Yourself a Perfect Manicure: Leave Baby at home with your partner, go to the nail salon, pay for it and voila! You’ve given yourself a mani-pedi and it looks great!

11. How to Politely Tell People You Don’t Want or Need Their Advice: Just let it run over you like rain. They will keep pouring it on and there's nothing you can do to stop it, all you can do is bitch about it to other mothers. (See #4)

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12. How to Stop Yourself From Ordering Online Items in The Middle of the Night: One is always searching for that perfect thing that will make the baby sleep, or the toy that will stop his wailing, or a pumping bra that really is hands-free. Just limit it to once or twice a week. You can’t stop. It’s OK.

13. What to Do if Baby is Choking: Giving baby his first solids and any food after that is terrifying. So I learned the baby heimlich maneuver: You put them on your forearm and whack them on the back. I never had to do it. But I was ready.

14. How to Work and Take Care of a Child: Hire a nanny. Even if she's super hot and prances around your house in adorable rompers, it’s worth the sad feeling you get about your fat butt when your baby seems to love her and all the dishes are done when you get home.

I could go on and on but most of the past year has faded into a mushy fog of breastmilk, formula, purees, poops and sleeplessness. Now I know how people have a second child, you simply forget all crap from the beginning, otherwise the human species would die out. I’m still not sure if it’s worth it, but I am sure that keeping this kid alive for a year feels like a major accomplishment. And I'm sure I need to return this romper.

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