Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! This will be the last nice thing anyone says to you as a new mother. In fact, you’re about to discover a lot of new things about being a mom you never imagined before. No one will tell you. Oh, they will tell you things. These things will be grandiose and largely self-serving. No one will tell you the truth about having a baby, which a worldwide conspiracy keeps secret for fear of destroying the human race.
Your baby will be ugly.
“Not my baby!” you say. “My baby will emerge looking like something on a Gerber container!” But you’re wrong. Your baby will pop out looking like a red potato creature with a misshapen head and skinny-ass limbs. You will think he’s beautiful because you’re overpowered by ridiculous mommy hormones. The rest of us know he’s a reddish gnome in a hat. We will lie to you about this.
Everything people say to you will be for their own benefit.
They’ll tell you to breastfeed. They’ll tell you to bottle-feed. They’ll tell you to combo-feed. All of these things will serve only to make them feel self-important and superior to people who make different choices. The same goes for co-sleeping, slathering the baby in essential oils, introducing solids, swaddling, and cry-it-out. Take no advice. It’s all about the advisee.
Nod and smile anyway.
While you’re in the hospital, practice that same Princess Catherine, I’m-grinning-gently-but-I don’t-give-a-shit-what-you’re-saying smile. Deploy it at all hints of advice, particularly from your mother-in-law. Tell everyone that whatever they’re saying (breastfeeding, consuming your placenta, slathering the baby in clove oil to ward off vampires) is exactly what you’re doing, or will do, and you’re so grateful they brought it up, because to do otherwise (bottle-feed, send your placenta to pathology, welcome the baby vampires) would be foolhardy and wrong, wrong, wrong. Your advisor will go away feeling powerful and right. You can roll your eyes later.
Your baby will fart like a grown man.
No, your baby will fart like a very large grown man who just hit up an all-you-can-eat Ponderosa Steakhouse. You will marvel that such a tiny, (now) adorable creature is capable of making such a noise, and a stench. This does not mean there’s something wrong with your baby. It just means that no one wants to admit that their baby farts, so no one tells anyone else about it.
Take wipes everywhere.
You will use them to wipe the baby’s face, hands, and butt. You will use them to wipe your face, hands, and butt. You will use them to clean up the poo smear on the passenger seat that you’ll never ever tell anyone else about. You will use them to wipe off your windshield. Basically, baby wipes are your new god.
Baby clothes are extortion.
Keep every scrap of clothing your child owns in case he or she ever has a sibling. Buy all his or her clothes used from thrift stores and consignment shops. You might think Braydeyn needs that Polo cardigan. You would be wrong. Braydeyn will only defecate in that Polo cardigan. Braydeyn needs that 20 bucks in his college fund.
You will suck snot.
You can swear you’ll never do it. You can insist that Nosefridas are gross and wrong and the downfall of Western civilization. Except one night, your baby will have the sniffles, and he won’t be able to breathe, which means he won’t be able to eat or sleep, and a non-eating and non-sleeping baby is a demon baby. So you’ll reluctantly get out that snot-sucker someone gifted you for your baby shower, stick it up your protesting demon’s nose, and well, suck. Snot will stream out, and you will find this oddly satisfying but tell no one.
You will not be able to swaddle.
Seriously. Only dads and nurses can do that shit. Your swaddle will fall apart as soon as the baby moves an arm, turning your bundle of joy into a tangle. Just let Dad do it or buy those pre-made ones. The pre-made ones will save your life.
Your baby will want to be held 24/7.
Babies are hardwired for human contact. No one tells you that your baby will scream bloody Shakespearean murder if you try to put them down. You or someone else must become designated baby holder if you want to keep your eardrums. It will be you, because you’re the mom and everyone expects it and baby shuts the fuck up when you hold them. Maybe Dad can hold the baby while you take a military-quick shower, but it’s doubtful.
You will become a walking, leaking, bleeding cliche.
Your boobs will dribble milk everywhere while you gush blood from your lady parts, because no one tells you about that part either. The only thing you’ll want to wear is yoga pants because nothing else feels good. You won’t have had a shower for three days because no one has time to shower when they have to hold an infant all the time. Some hippies get a water sling. You will begin to understand this by day three.
You will discover that moms are about as catty as high school girls.
They have cliques. You need to find your clique, or you’ll be sitting at story time alone. This can be daunting, because all the cliques seem established and the moms have shiny hair and their diaper bags are cooler than yours. Find the moms with the ponytails and the yoga pants. They may not be less catty, but at least you’ll feel like you fit in.
You didn’t break the baby.
Umbilical cord look like a Civil War wound? Baby roll off the bed? Stick that Q-tip too far down baby’s ear, or hear some joints pop while you were forcing baby into that shirt? Your baby is fine. By the third kid, you’ll be basically hurling them off the bed yourself for entertainment purposes, or at least letting the dog babysit while you shower.
Basically, no one tells you anything about the real parts of having a baby. They tell you all about pretty nurseries and frilly dresses, and nothing about diaper blowouts and poop, poop, poop. Babies are all about pooping poop and wiping poop and storing poop until you can throw it out, and praying it’s not July because then the poop smells like death, and then finding some other poop-catcher to wrap around your baby. It has to be the right size, or the poop will leak all over and you’ll have to deal with more poop. You had a baby. Congratulations. Basically, poop.