This post was originally featured on Medium.com.
My husband ("Bless his heart") sometimes calls/texts/emails me from work to ask me to do something, or call someone about something or other. Normal husband and wife stuff, really. But when you're home on maternity leave with an unpredictable, not-yet-on-a-schedule newborn, something as simple as "make an appointment for the exterminator," or "call that business connection I hooked up for you" becomes an impossible task.
Case in point: Here I sit, typing this with one hand, and holding a pacifier in this fussy babe's mouth with the other hand, while I use my right foot to rock the car seat she's pseudo-napping in. That leaves me one foot left to, I don't know, tap dance.
So here goes. Here's a glimpse into what it's really like to be home with a newborn. I warn you, it's a long post, but then again, anyone who's ever done this parenting shtick will understand why. And if one more person says, "You should nap when she naps!" I'm going to go postal on that motherf*cker.
8 a.m.-noon: This time frame consists of me attempting to take a shower 47 times. But every time, as soon as my big toe hits the tile, baby starts crying. And so I step back out to soothe her, try again, and we do this until I give up, remembering that no one is going to see me today anyway. In fact, there's probably a better chance of a zombiepocalypse than of me being able to get out of this house looking and feeling presentable. So with one leg shaved, I throw on yoga pants and slap on some deodorant. Ta-da!
Noon: Baby starts to whimper, making that familiar motion. You know, the one that says "I'm going to eat my fist, or the first thing that happens to fly by my face... maybe a mosquito, or a dust mite... but I'll keep turning my face and opening my mouth until you whip that boob out and get the milk party started." I halt. I was on my way to the kitchen to make myself lunch, but baby comes first.
12:30 p.m.: Baby's fed. She (loudly) pooped through the last 15 minutes of it, so now I'm going to change her. Aw, she has hiccups. Isn't that cute!
12:33 p.m.: Why. Is. This. Baby. Flailing. Around. On. The. Changing. Table. AAGGGH -- she just peed as I was swapping out the dirty diaper for a clean one! Now I have to change her... and the changing pad... She's lucky she's cute.
12:35 p.m.: Who designs baby clothes?! Why is it impossible to get these things over her head? Is her head unusually large? Are these clothes too small? I feel like I'm trying to birth her through a onesie. This is insane. But it's such a cute outfit I'm putting her in... her third of the day. No wonder I have to do laundry 16 times a day. OK, we finally got it on. Adorbs!
12:36 p.m.: Really, Gemma?? You choose NOW to barf?? ALL OVER YOUR ONESIE?!
12:40 p.m.: Fourth outfit of the day. She's wearing this hoodie towel and she's gonna like it. It passes for boho baby fashion. I should take a selfie and post to Instagram. Such a trendsetter! #iheartbabies.
12:45 p.m.: Awesome. Of COURSE I assumed after she spit up the equivalent of a large Jamba Juice all over herself there'd be nothing left to evacuate. But now it's time for me to change into a hooded towel.
1:00 p.m.: Why am I so hungry? Oh that's right, I didn't eat lunch yet. Or breakfast. Damnit, mommy brain. OK, now is the perfect time for baby to go down for a nap. Let's just get her wrapped up in this swaddle and turn on the Rockabye Baby Pandora station. (Bonus: early exposure to Pearl Jam is sure to be good for brain development, right?) OK, she's asleep! Winning!
1:14 p.m.: Before I eat, I should gather up all the laundry and get that started. There's so much goddamn laundry. Where does it all come from??
1:30 p.m.: OK, now I'm going to eat lunch, for real. (Rummages through fridge, finds leftovers to microwave.) Why are there no clean plates or forks? Ugh, I meant to empty the dishwasher from last night. OK, better do it now while the babe is asleep.
1:40 p.m.: Aaaaand my window of opportunity to eat lunch in peace like a normal adult just flew out the window. She's awake. My God, does she have some sort of sixth sense? Was she sent here to Earth to starve me to death?
1:43 p.m.: Of course she's hungry again! Well guess what; two can play this game. I'll figure out a way to perch on this stool and nurse her while I eat these leftovers.
1:45 p.m.: Awesome idea. I just dripped teriyaki sauce in her eye. FML.
2:00 p.m.: I'm such a bad mommy. When's the last time I did tummy time with her? We should do it now, so I don't have guilt. Can you imagine if I delay her development because I forgot to put her on her tummy? Tiger moms everywhere are cringing.
2:10 p.m.: That worked well. She HATED tummy time. Now she's screeching like a banshee. And she spit up all over the play mat. So there's another thing to wash. Add it to the list.
2:15 p.m.: Text from hubby. "Did you call that guy yet? You should call him." Good thing you're texting me and not standing in front of me, dude, or I might dismantle your bones one by one.
2:25 p.m.: Attempt call to exterminator. Hang up on lady twice, because baby is screaming in my face and woman can't hear what I'm saying about ants in the laundry room. This isn't worth it, I'll live with the ants.
2:30 p.m.: It must be almost the end of the day, right? Please tell me hubby will be here soon to relieve me of these duties called parenting. IT'S ONLY 2:30?! THROW ME FROM A TRAIN.
2:31 p.m.: I feel guilty when I get frustrated with all of this. So now I'm going to hold my adorable baby and rock her and tell her I'm sorry for getting annoyed and wanting to do anything else other than hold her and kiss her face all day.
2:35 p.m.: Except I'd really like to send a couple of emails. I have to reply to a couple of things regarding some project opps. And damn if I didn't promise that one new client that I'd get them a quote by this Friday. What's wrong with me? I'm an idiot. I'll be lucky if I even get a shower by Friday.
3:00 p.m.: Baby slept on my chest while I typed with one hand and sent a couple of emails. Now I should try to call that guy back so hubby doesn't think I'm totally inept. Except baby just started stirring.
3:01 p.m.: Full frontal meltdown.
3:05 p.m.: I may need someone to stage an intervention. Why is this baby so fired up?
3:10 p.m.: WHAT IN ALL THAT IS SACRED HAS HAPPENED TO MY SWADDLE SKILLS?? HOW DOES THIS BABY GET OUT OF A SWADDLE WITHIN SECONDS OF ME WRAPPING HER? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? I'm starting to think those kids on 16 and Pregnant are more qualified than me.
3:15 p.m.: Need to call my bestie. She's on maternity leave too... need to kvetch about my inability to swaddle. And hemorrhoids.
3:35 p.m.: Awesome call with bestie. She always knows what to say. Ew, why does this child smell so badly? Um, why is my arm all wet? UGH. Baby pooped through clothes. And swaddle. At least she poo'd on my not-clean arm. Other arm still smells like Aveeno from my half-shower.
4:00 p.m.: Well now's as good a time as ever to get laundry out of dryer. Since we have no more clean clothes for baby anyway. Guess I should do another load.
4:15 p.m.: Did I ever eat lunch? I can't remember. I'm starving. Must stop in kitchen at some point soon and get a snack before I die.
4:20 p.m.: OK, I've finally got this baby swaddled. We are ready for a nap! Annnd of course my breastfeeding app just alerted me that it's time to feed her again. Awesome. I am the worst planner ever. And the worst mom ever, clearly, because it only took me an hour and a half to swaddle a 5-week-old. I'm not cut out for the big leagues.
5:00 p.m.: It's 5:00?? Already? Where has this day gone? Did I even let the dog out today? And what am I feeding this family for dinner? I don't even understand how it's possible that it's 5 p.m. I want to crawl in a hole. But I'm starving. And I have nothing to make for dinner. Damn you, world!
5:05 p.m.: Call the hubby. Meekly ask him to pick up Chipotle on way home. Feel like failure of a wife and mother. How is it I haven't left this house all day and the only human who remains fed is the baby?
5:43 p.m.: Baby FINALLY drifts off to sleep, after I build a contraption with a sound machine, strap it to the car seat, swaddle her so the binky is held in her mouth with the swaddle blanket. Because if that binky falls out, apeshittedness will be reached.
5:45 p.m.: Hubby and son walk in door. Baby is sleeping so peacefully, you could put her on stage at a Foo Fighters concert and she wouldn't wake up. I look like I've been through the meat grinder. Hubby looks at me, looks at baby, and says...
"So what's the problem? She looks pretty content to me..."