11/18/2013 09:41 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

5 Signs That You're a New Mom

Courtesy of Caroline Niziol

A wise man (my dad, actually) once said, "Babies change everything." Well, this is true in some ways and not in others. I still read a lot (now it's during nap time). I still love my husband (and especially when I see how he loves Zack). I still listen to weird hipster music in the car (though at lower volumes when there's a small human in the backseat). But other things are decidedly different. I have to laugh at myself when I realize that I'm not immune to classic new mom behaviors. Here are a just a few that I've been experiencing since August 24:

1. New levels of clothing angst

After wearing maternity clothes for several months and the SAME PAIR OF SHOES for the last two (due to horrible foot swelling), I am so ready for new clothes. Sadly, my post-baby figure isn't back to its former glory quite yet. Add in nursing-friendly garments and I'm in a world of challenges to find clothes that fit and look cute. I found myself at Eddie Bauer and bought a pair of jeans, so my Mom Card has been signed and laminated in the most official way possible.

I am very, very grateful that no one asked me when my baby was due in the first couple of weeks postpartum. But now I'm ready to wear normal clothes again and leave empire waists behind for a loooong time.

2. Sensitivity about sleep questions

This is a tricky one. Most people are well-intentioned, and just like when I was pregnant, they want to ask relevant questions. Unfortunately, one of the most common question is, "How is he sleeping?" Every baby is obviously different. Some babies sleep through the night after a couple of weeks. Some don't until a couple of months. I'm very jealous of the first group. Zack is juuuust starting to sleep through the night but I am not taking it for granted. And even the best night can still involved wake-ups and re-swaddling and feeding and so forth. So asking me how he's sleeping mostly results in my eyes twitching and reaching pointedly for my coffee.

3. Cautious third-person references

One of my major pet peeves is married couples calling each other "Mom" and "Dad" -- don't ask me why, but I find it creepy and weird. Call each other by pet names or actual given names, please. I am determined never to directly call my husband "Dad" because he isn't my dad -- he is Zack's dad! Anyway. I now call myself "Mom" to Zack when I explain things, like, "Please go back to sleep so Mom can take a shower!" and, "Mom's here, so stop crying!" It's a fine line, but I talk to Zack about Jason saying "your dad" -- never just "dad." It sounds silly but it's a distinction in my mind.

4. New comfort levels with TMI

There's something about spending a week (yes, a week -- thanks, complications!) in the hospital that breaks down my normal barriers about personal information. I've always been a pretty private person about medical things but in the wake of my delivery and recovery, I don't hold much back when it comes to talking to friends and family (especially those who are fellow new moms or soon-to-be new moms). There are certainly some topics I wouldn't discuss in detail, but I think there is great joy and help in being open and honest about my experiences. So much of the birth experience and new motherhood is painful, emotional, and just plain awkward that it helps so much to talk about it with others. I wouldn't get into any of that posting here -- that's just not my speed -- but I'm glad to have friends who are cool with sharing the gory details.

5. Time warp troubles

I swear, every day at 4:00 p.m., I am amazed that the day is already almost over. Zack is on a good schedule now (a recent change from our previous more flexible approach) and his regular mealtimes and nap times give a rhythm to our day. Despite the helpful adage to "sleep when the baby sleeps," I'm more likely to do laundry while the baby sleeps or wash my hair while the baby sleeps. I race around like a madwoman when he's conked out and crank through my to-do list.

I'm sure the coming months and years will reveal new and exciting things about being a mom. For now, I'm enjoying every minute and learning about Zack as we spend our time together.

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