Savoring the Calm Before the Storm

I know what you’re thinking.  Perhaps this advice would have been better suited before you got pregnant, The Violinist.  You’re probably right.  You could have drunk your way into a stupor, but you wouldn’t have if you’re still on the same meds you were in college.  Then THAT would end you in the hospital and in hot water with all who love you.  But I figured you weren’t due to the end of April, which gives me plenty of time to give you pearls of wisdom, which you might throw into the mud any ways, but you only have so much time to enjoy being a non-mommy.  Once you give birth, you will forever and ever be known as someone’s mom.  Amen.  So here is a list of things to savor in those last months of freedom.

 

The Ten Things You Should Savor Before Becoming a Mom

 

1 ) Sleeping in.  Or just sleep in general.  Of course, it won’t be long before you’re getting up several dozen times a night to pee, and then there is trying to find a good position to sleep in as the kid does an acrobatic show in the embryonic fluid to entertain herself.  But as soon as that kid pops out, you will no longer be able to sleep in.  True, you might have a loving husband who’ll help out on the morning shift, but if you’re planning on using your God-given feed bags, you’re going to have to get up.  Then as the child gets older, she’ll call for YOU, not Daddy, when she wakes up.  So sleep in on as many days you can, and enjoy the blissful gradual wake up.

 

2 ) Meals.  Very soon you’ll have to rush through meals.  They will become a speed dash as you try to eat and entertain a baby.  You’ll get lucky sometimes and eat when the baby sleeps, but this phase will only last a few months.  Once the kid is old enough to eat, anything you have is fair game to them.  I can’t remember the last time I finished a snack, a meal, a bowl of ice cream without hearing the sounds of “Please.”  While at first it’s cute, it quickly becomes annoying as you realized THIS is your favorite kind of ice cream and THIS is the last bowl.

 

 

3 ) Showers.  In the first year, the baby will take a morning nap about two hours after getting up.  This is a lovely time to take a shower.  Unless you’re so damn sleep deprived you prefer sleep or the you have no more clean dishes left or clean clothes or when was the last time you used the vacuum or the last time you paid your electric bill.  The first few months you’ll be lucky to catch a shower every other day, and it’ll be a marathon.  Hell, you’ll be lucky if you remember to change your nursing bra once a week.  (Gross, I know; but you’ll get over it.  Buy at least three.)  Don’t worry; soon you can have the TV babysit her while you take a shower, and then she’ll want a snack RIGHT NOW as you try to wash your hair.

 

4 ) Child-stuff free rooms.  I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal now.  So what if there are a few toys in the bathroom and a bassinet in the master room and bottles in the kitchen and diapers and toys in the family room.  One day soon you just want to look somewhere where there isn’t kid stuff.  I swear the toys actually reproduce at night.  They’ll be kiddie bath toys in YOUR bath tube.  You’ll roll over one night on some hard, sharp toy hiding in your blankets or you’ll wake up staring at some stuff animal.  There will be toys under the desk, under the table, and in the coach.  God, those damn pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups grow legs.

 

 

5 ) Gritty Movies.  Or scary movies or any movie that something happens to a kid.  You’re going to get super-sensitive.  You will never read or see something about a kid and not think THAT could happen to my kid.  You’ll become surprisingly passionate over certain issues that you believe pertain to your child’s wellbeing.  I didn’t even finish Syriana because of the pool scene.  I just bawled as my husband apologized for not warning me.  I can’t see movies about kidnappings.  I defiantly can’t read Lovely Bones.  Of course, this could just be me.  Since Sean, I cry over Hallmark commercials.  I swear.  Remember last year’s Mother’s Day commercial with all the different people or kids saying Mom in different ways, and there’s that teenage girl that sobs it because her hearts broken; I cried every time.  Even now I have tears thinking about it.  Ugh.

 

6 ) Complicated books.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t read.  Hell, I read more during those first few months than any other time.  Those “bond with your baby as you nurse” people don’t understand the true luxury of reading silently as your child fully enjoys eating.  After a month or two, the kid will wonder way you’re interrupting her by staring at her.  But your mind will be so addled by sleep deprivation that large, complicated books (which are pretty heavy holding one hand any ways) are going to be hard to focus on, especially at four am.  I read one page over three times.  So go light.  Remember L.J. Smith?

 

 

7 ) Speedy errands.  When you have a kid, everything will take at least fifteen to twenty minutes longer.  With all the dressing, buckling and unbuckling.  It will never fail; you’ll need to change the diaper right after you buckle her in.  Not to mention, in those first few months, you’ll be feeding every two hours.  You want to know how many stores you can hit in between feedings.  One.  You can hit more if you nurse in the car or on a bench.  It can be a bitch.  I preferred to nurse in the car so I didn’t have to carry a watch, had a cushier seat, and could listen to the radio, but you’ll find what is right when you get there.

 

8 ) Your mind.  This is one of those things you don’t realize you lost it until it’s gone.  It’s probably too late because you’re all pumped up with pregnancy hormones.  By this time in your pregnancy, I had lost my cell phone, my purse, and my keys (several times), and you remember how often I lost things when we lived together.  Almost never.  This may get a little better after the child, but it’s highly unlikely.  I suggest lists.

 

 

9 ) See how brain-addled I am; I don’t even have a tenth reason or an actual ninth.

 

So for all you moms out there, could you please add what you would savor if someone would take the kids for a couple of hours or a day or a week?

 

But really, The Violinist, once you’re a mom, you’ll never regret it.

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17 Responses to “Savoring the Calm Before the Storm”

  1. lamanite Says:

    “Remember L.J. Smith?”

    I know this wasn’t intended for, I just stumbled upon it but I’m saving this for later.

    And L.J. Smith. I love her! You know she’s finally going to put out that last book to her series?!

  2. KathyB! Says:

    Meals are the biggest issue for me. My kids are old enough now that, hypothetically, I should be able to savor a meal. But I am so conditioned from years of cramming my food down my throat that I have to consciously stop and remind myself to slow down. And then thinking about eating takes away the spontaneous joy of eating.

    Great list! Great post!

  3. The Violinist Says:

    🙂 you blogged for me again. Right now i’m laying on the bed with the laptop and a laptop cat. i suppose he is just teaching me to multi-task for when the baby is here. I loved LJ Smith…. please finish the last book so i can get some closure from 10 years ago and not feel so guilty about walking by the young adult book section. Its a good thing i love fluff – i’ve always preferred cheezy chick lit to real deep, introspective novels.

    Once again, thanks for the words of wisdom 🙂 They are all appreciated!

  4. pinnythewu Says:

    My daughter has only recently started eating real food, and I already miss having an entire meal.

  5. evenshine Says:

    My hair. Though you could just as easily substitute nails, eyebrows, waxing, or heels. Nobody tells you that you’ll never wear heels again. All those women in bug-eye shades, Jimmy Choos and Audrey Hepburn hair, dragging a toddler? Nannies.

  6. mediocreperfectionist Says:

    I got your back on the last two, Fae, (and a dozen more, if ya need ’em):

    9) A personal toothbrush/hairbrush/makeup brush of your very own that hasn’t in the past 24 hours been dipped into the toilet, used to groom the dog or dusted mud off matchbox tires.

    10) Space to think. There is no quiet to actually sit down and think about something. If you stop moving, they will hone in and lobby for juice/snacks/high shelf toys/”Up, Mommy, Up!” And, if there is quiet, your mom-alarm will immediately sound alerting you to the impending trouble/destruction that comes from extended moments of silence.

  7. Michael Says:

    Local polls indicate “freedom to come and go as you please”.

  8. GoodEnoughWoman Says:

    I’m with Michael. You know, when I was pregnant, people kept telling me, “Enjoy yourself now. It will be great when the baby comes, but you just can’t imagine what it’s like until you actually experience it. So enjoy yourself now.” And after the baby came, I thought, “What? This is pretty much what I expected. I don’t get why everyone said that to me.”

    But then, after I’d had the kid 6-12, and I’d see pregnant people, I’d say the same thing: “Enjoy it now. Blah. Blah. Blah.” And then I realized I always said it when the pregnant person said things like, “We’re going to Santa Barbara this weekend to relax and shop.” Or, “We just laid around all weekend watching movies.” Or, “I spent all morning at the coffee shop writing.”

    A lot of motherhood can be expected. It’s just hard to understand how incessant it is. Of course, by incessant, I don’t mean BAD.

  9. C Says:

    That is all so true. I remember sleeping all the time when I was preggers with my oldest. And everyone telling me that I should savor the flavor of sleeping past 8 or 9 am.

    I would savor staying up late and sleeping in. I miss that. I also miss having time for myself…like going to get my nails done or tanning, now I can’t I have kids to tag along and most salons don’t offer childcare! DH doesn’t get home in time for me to go, and he works 6 DAYS! Those are the things I would tell the non-mom’s to enjoy.

  10. C Says:

    OH and as bad as this is, I don’t eat my dinner until after the kids go to bed. That way I can enjoy my meal. I am sure this adds pounds, but at least I can taste my steak!!

  11. mediocreperfectionist Says:

    Oh… I thought of one more… the one hardest for me to swallow after the baby came: You temporarily lose equality in your relationship when the baby comes. There is the caregiver and there is the caregiver’s partner. My toughest moment as a parent (that did not involve an ER) was the moment I realized that he was announcing he was going to the gym and I was asking permission for 15 minutes to take a shower. But, daunting as it all seems, it is all worth it and so much more!!!!

  12. faemom Says:

    First off, Thanks everyone for commenting. You guys ROCK!

    lamanite~ Really? I always wondered what happened about that series. I’ve decided it’s most cruel to start a series and not finish it. But perhaps I’ll give L.J. Smith another chance because I used to lover her so.

    KathyB!~ I grew up swallowing meals because someone always had a thing: baseball practice, softball game, swimming, drama, boy scouts. My husband always comments how my family finishes their complete meal before he’s done with the entree.

    The Violinist~ I’m glad you liked it; I hope you read everyone else’s advice because their wisdom is why I do this. Second, I can’t seem to stop reading teen fiction; so I figured I will end up writing it and two I should read books that I can read my son’s here in a few years. I just finished City of Ember.

    Pinny ~ At one point you get fed up, and then you have to remember at least she’s eating. I sneak into the garage if I need a chocolate fix or swallow real quick so I can answer “nothing.”

    Evenshine~ I didn’t even mention that most of the time I forget to wash my hair, comb it out and realize the grease is all the way to my shoulders. Didn’t want to freak out any one, but I guess I did. Should we be thankful we wear clean clothes?

    mediocre~ I thought we had the only house where toothbrushes and hairbrushes went missing. Fortunately the toothbrushes are used for their purpose and wonder around the house for constant brushing. I didn’t even think about the times you just want to think or relax. Yes, for all new moms, you have to be very specific about splitting duties because guys go for the least amount of work. I know your pain All Too Well.

    Michael~ Awesome addition to the list!

    Good~ Totally. I wish I had done that more, but then, like most women, I was working forty hours. I wonder what I did with all that free time. Nothing nearly as productive. I know what you mean for incessant. It’s a 24/7 job, and amazingly it’s hard to convey that to any one who’s not a mom, including husbands.

    C~ Ah, C. You and eating late. I miss staying up late and sleeping in too. I’m really a night owl at heart. I love staying up late and getting things done. Now I know the boys will wake extra early to punish me for staying up late.

  13. ck Says:

    Yourself.

    You disappear for a while. You just do. And you don’t even realize that you’re missing. And then you have to figure out who you were before, who you want to be now and whether you can reconcile the two.

    The good news is that who you are “after” is much, much better than the one you were “before.”

    Just takes some time to see and believe it.

  14. faemom Says:

    Ck~ Brilliant insight. With all that feeding, diapering, what-to-do-with-you-now, you do lose yourself, and I totally believe I’m a btter person than I was!

  15. Gibby Says:

    How about a purse, not a diaper bag? Or if you can carry a purse, one that doesn’t have a sippy cup, extra pair of size 4 Dora underwear, one pink sock, a bag of crushed goldfish, lollipops for emergencies, band-aids, neosporin, extra ballet slippers, and several ponytail holders in several different shades of pink. Or am I the only one so disorganized?!

    Great post, so true!!!

  16. naptimewriting Says:

    Great post and wonderful comments. So, so true. My only disagreement is that sometimes, you *will* regret it. Maybe not a lot, and hopefully not for more than a few minutes at a time, but you will regret it.
    But you won’t be able to picture life without them. Life, with sleep and food and closing your eyes to think without worrying that something or someone will break, thinking a thought to its conclusion and talking with someone long enough that the topics shift and complete, rather than get started and never finish, peeing by yourself and in silence, showering regularly, having a body you recognize as your own, and a real level of interaction with your partner. Ah. Maybe I *can* picture life without kids.
    We live in a culture where we measure life by milestones. You study for a test then it’s over. You work on a project then you’re done. You audition for a role then you get it. You plan a wedding then you’re married. Here’s the thing about a pregnancy. It never, never, never ends. You get pregnant then…you have a baby. Not birth a baby, though that’s true. HAVE. Forever. The birth does not end the project. You do not get downtime any more. Every day, every week, every month, every year you have this person. There are lots of different days: grouchy days, wonderful days, sick days. But no matter what happens in a day, the next is more of the same. Vacations are relocations. Different place, same job. Weekends are more of the same (and if you work, a *lot* more of the same, which you’re not used to and may, just may make you respect stay at home moms).
    Anyway. You’ll regret it. But not for too long. They’re pretty cute, even when they’re testing the world by trying to break you.

  17. faemom Says:

    Gibby~ Great answer! I wonder when I can dump the diaper bag but worry about how gigantic my purse will be. There go my days of lunch box purses.

    naptime~ Thought provoking. Yes, I dream of days before kids because even on my worse days I can’t picture living seperate from them.


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