The Hardest Parts of Being a New Mom

17 Comments

1. The verbal abuse. Perhaps I’m a tad sensitive, but personally, I don’t like it when someone screams at me. Unfortunately, now I have to put up with a boss who, if he gets hungry or cranky, pulls himself up to his full 22 inch height and BELLOWS at me until he’s reddish purple in the face. To make things more stressful interesting, he and I don’t speak the same language, so I am constantly trying to translate. Usually what he wants is my breasts however, which also makes this whole scenario borderline sexual harassment.

2. I am now a 24-hour human buffet. It’s wonderful and all that I can nourish my baby the way nature intended, with the “liquid gold” that flows from my breasts, but wow it takes up a lot of my day (and night). For someone whose stomach is apparently the size of a walnut, he sure spends A LOT of time eating.

3. It’s a dirty job. If you saw a job posting for a 24/7/365 live-in caregiver that required you to deal with human excrement, urine, drool, and (when you’re really lucky) vomitus with no overtime, stat pay, or holiday bonuses, would you apply? Um… let me think about it… No. Just the other day my baby spit up on my freshly laundered shirt in the morning (I was so proud of myself for getting a load done!), and leaked pee and poop on my pants in the afternoon (two different occasions- glad I didn’t bother changing my pants the first time).  

4. Date nights look a lot different. Nowadays, Friday date night involves us entertaining our baby while he sits in his swing so we can eat our dinner with both hands, then maybe catching up on Modern Family before it’s bath time and I’m in the glider nursing and rocking him to sleep for an hour. If that works (and sometimes it doesn’t), we then fall into bed, exhausted, or she’s already asleep by the time I hit the pillow. Sexy time? Not so much. Since our baby’s crib is in our bedroom, when the mood does strike, well, let’s just say I haven’t had this much action on the couch since I was a teenager.

5. It’s all my fault. Suddenly, I’m blaming myself for everything. Baby is gassy? Must be something I ate or drank. He won’t fall asleep? My fault for keeping him up too long. I thought I’d be immune to the ubiquitous Mommy guilt, but apparently not. Can’t I at least share the blame with my wife? There are two Moms in this house! And there’s so much pressure to “get things right” and be “Super Mom” these days. My Mom raised me with no books, no internet, no Baby Whisperer telling her she was doing it all wrong. I think I just need less Google and more wine (one glass is ok, right?).

6. Not enough sleep. It’s cliché, but it’s true. I love sleep. But it’s been months since I slept more than 3 hours in a row. And on particularly brutal nights when baby is waking up hourly (4-month sleep regression, you are a bitch) one sadly goes to the place no new parent wants to go, wondering “Maybe we should have got a Pug instead…” So forgive me if I don’t have the energy for Mom and Baby Pilates or Stroller Boot-camp in the park (even though I do need to work off my remaining pregnancy pudge. Oh joy!).

7. I feel incompetent. Normally I’m a confident, capable woman. Since having the baby I now doubt myself more and question my knowledge (I’ve never done this before!) and intuition (this feels right but the books say no?). I don’t know how to navigate the unfamiliar feeling of being responsible for another human! Being a new mom is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t just walk away and quit when it’s tough. It’s a good thing the hospital doesn’t have a return or exchange policy.

Yes, I love my baby and I count my blessings every day that we are both healthy, live in a peaceful part of the world, and I get to raise my child in a solid and loving partnership.

I love it when he smiles, coos and giggles. I love seeing him adapt and grow. I love how strangers smile at me more. I love how much stronger my connections are to my family and friends. I love being a member of the Mommy club now. And I love not being pregnant anymore- which really, let’s be honest, is the second best gift you get after your baby.

But, dammit, this motherhood thing is hard.

Comments

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  1. 1

    says

    LOL! I remember reading something that said I should be staring into my baby’s eyes or studying her face for increased intimacy during nursing. Too bad! The bright side to having my boobs be on call 24/7 was getting quality time with the internet.

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  2. 3

    says

    So so true! Wonderful article!
    My only small complaint is that the photo misled me and I was thoroughly confused by her referencing her wife and kept trying to figure out whether it was the husband or wife writing each bullet, til she said two mommies. Then it dawned on me that it was a stock photo up top! A picture of a family more like the author’s would be wonderful to see!

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  3. 5

    Kelly says

    Christine Leroux, why don’t you get upart about people abusing or molesting children instead of attacking a loving mom who is giving her child a wonderful life? You apparently have to feel better about yourself by using this difference as a sign of your superiority. Actually, your ignorance and narrow-mindedness are inferiorities. I hope you get to know and love someone who is gay someday and realize this.

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  4. 6

    Julienne says

    I love this. I feel like I wrote this myself. Our little ones must be around the same age because we just passed the 4 month sleep regression, but we haven’t yet reached teething.

    We take it day by day because they are different everyday. They have mood swings worse than a menopausal woman. And yet we stick with it because of the smiles and giggles and cute baby farts. Ahhhh motherhood.

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  5. 7

    Anne says

    I really laughed over this essay – humour is a great way to get through the challenges in life. I think things are not much different than when I had children in the seventies – and I know I would go to mom and baby yoga if I was a new parent now…One thing that is so inspiring is all the support out there in the community now for new parents – I do wish I had that!

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  6. 8

    Mary says

    Yeah it sure doesn’t get any easier… mine are teens and I’m fighting every day against guilt… Guilt when they refuse to get up and go to school in the morning, guilt when one of them misses an appointment because I didn’t keep track of our (crazy) schedule well enough. Guilt that they don’t have a decent father (he moved across country and abandoned them.)

    Your instincts are right. Hang in there, mama. You’re doing good things. :)

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  7. 10

    says

    I love the first point especially. How TRUE! The good news is that you get much better at this. It doesn’t actually get easier, you just get better at it and things change so as to keep you always on your toes!

    As per the parenting books, there ARE a few that are really good out there, but FIGURE OUT YOUR PARENTING STYLE FIRST and THEN get the books that best fit that or you will be insane by the end of year two.

    My bestest advice (we all have it) is to read medical “brain development” books INSTEAD of the parenting books. Having information on what developmental stage they are at is SO helpful because it takes so much pressure off of what you are doing right/wrong. Even the strangest things they do are usually simply a developmental stage. Then you are armed with the info on what’s going on BUT you only have to be given advice if you actively go looking for it. Because let’s face it, every parenting book boils down to one doctor/psychologist/writer’s opinion over another. With a few exceptions, they are all based on what THEY think is the best parenting way.

    I agree, having so many viewpoints on what was right or wrong was so confusing, but only the first time. By child number two you get WAY past that and just focus on what YOU feel is right for your baby. So then it’s easy to say “let it go, do what’s best for you and your beliefs and just enjoy your time with them while they are so tiny because you think you will remember that but you won’t. Not forever. Take lots of photos and LOTS of video, even just snippets of the sounds they make. On the days when they are older, just around the corner, and driving you nuts for completely different reasons, you will look back at those snippets and think of how easy it all was when they couldn’t talk back to you or reach the door handle!

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  8. 12

    Kim says

    Yep. That’s about right!!! Great article. And if it helps any, the second is far easier (or can be!) because you feel MUCH more competent. And your expectations are SO MUCH LOWER. Also my second slept. Good luck & love! And take care if yourself!

    & as for the mommy guilt: stop blaming and second guessing yourself. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t: or not. My second also taught me this: it was nothing I did or did not do. My baby just was NOT a sleeper.

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  9. 13

    says

    I feel your pain. The early days of motherhood are rough, and I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn’t. Well, being able to sleep does make it easier :) Take things day by day and don’t be so hard on yourself. Motherhood is an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Somedays maybe I would trade it for a vacation. j/k. I think.

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  10. 15

    Katydid says

    Andrea who said “My bestest advice (we all have it) is to read medical “brain development” books INSTEAD of the parenting books.” is DEAD ON THE MONEY. NEVER buy that crap, read medical/psychology info instead. I am a mom of 2, a licensed teacher and a special education expert–trust me, learn developmental step instead of how to treat blah blah…you’ll be on top of where your child should be and you are more likely to catch anything that may be wrong or behind.
    Screw parenting crap. HA!

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