Dear New Mom: Please Take A Shower

by Julia Pelly
A mother holding her newborn sleeping baby on her shoulder

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! Welcome to motherhood! Sometime in the past few weeks you left your house with a belly bigger than you ever imagined you’d posses and you came back with a beautiful, brand new bundle in your arms. Your baby is beautiful! She has your eyes, your partner’s nose, and oh those tiny ears! Before she came along did you even realize that ears could be that small!?

These past few weeks have probably been a whirlwind, I hope your little one is eating like she should and that you’re getting a least a little bit of rest—don’t worry about the messy house for now, don’t think about the unanswered emails or the unwritten thank-you notes. For now, there’s just one thing you should be focused on, resting, snuggling and getting to know that little bundle of joy that’s going to be yours for the rest of forever!

When you find a minute though, I know it’s tough between feeding and changing and soothing, but when you get one, do you think you could go hop in the shower? Don’t worry about shaving your legs! Don’t worry about make-up! Don’t even think of straightening your hair, but a shower, one with soap and shampoo, that might be nice! You see, you have a little something on your shoulder, and that might be last night’s spit up in your hair. And, well, honestly, I don’t think it’s the baby that smells right now.

I know, I know, you haven’t had a second since the baby got home! It’s so much more than you thought. The sun is up and then down and then up and then down again and suddenly it’s been a week and you’re still in the maternity leggings you wore home from the hospital. But you need to find a minute. I don’t care how you find a minute but you need to find one. If that means your partner stays home from work, well, then your partner needs to stay home from work. If that means you need to call someone, do it. Call your mother or your sister or your friend or your boss’s ex-wife for all I care, but somebody needs to come hold that baby while you take a shower.

“But there’s just no time!” you think as run through the last days in your mind, trying to figure just how you spent the hours and just where you could have fit a shower in. I know there’s no time. But you’re going to have to make some. Nobody’s going to make the minutes for you—you have to make it happen. Make it happen while your baby sits in the swing just outside the bathroom door or make it happen while you should be sleeping. Make it happen whenever and however you need to make it happen because, honey, they say babyhood goes by fast but it feels long, and if you don’t start making your minutes now, it’s going to feel a lot longer.

Make the time today and then make the time tomorrow and then keeping making the time every single day after that. You’re doing amazing things right now, mama. You just brought life into this world and now you’re keeping it alive! You keep on feeding and changing and bathing and diapering and snuggling and loving and cherishing that gorgeous baby of yours. Pour your life into this little one but make sure your making those minutes, mom. Those minutes are just for you. Dry shampoo and Febreeze are only going to get you so far, and, besides, a shower will feel nice. You need the time to yourself, you need to feel good, you need to relax.

So start right now, mama—start making the time and make this the time you get up, make the minute, and take a shower. And make sure you get that crusty tip of your hair, it really does have spit-up in it.