Remember that mom you saw the other day doing her grocery shopping? You know, the one pushing the baby carriage, with the blown-out hair, a full face of makeup and a relaxed look on her well-rested face?
Yeah, that’s because that mom is a unicorn — one that only exists on the rare occasion that every single thing in her day lined up, and she had the help of her village getting to that point. The mom you probably saw was sporting a fussy baby, a messy bun and leftover eyeliner on her right eye from sometime last week.
Being a new mom is an exhausting task in which your sole purpose in life is to make sure the tiny human you just spent 10 months incubating is fed, changed, burped and loved every single second of every single day, because they literally can’t do a damned thing for themselves.
That leaves very little times for these kinds of luxuries…
Styling your hair
Don’t believe the rumours: new moms definitely have time to wash their hair. Usually it’s during a very tiny window in which you hop in before the water can heat up. You then make the most of your time with a crappy 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner while the baby is in a bassinet or a seat on the floor of the bathroom. What you don’t have time for is actually doing something with that freshly washed hair. That requires balancing a hot object near fresh newborn skin, not to mention extra time. Some moms get lucky and their kids actually like the white noise of a hair dryer, but for the most part it’s usually a wash-and-put-it-in-a-bun-later situation.
Fancy body wash
Most new moms can only dream of the days they used to have time to lather up a loofah with some nice-smelling body wash and scrub away at their bods. First of all, you’re not even supposed to use that kind of soap for about six weeks postpartum. Second of all, who has time for that? Nope, it’s a way more economical use of your time to grab a bar of regular old soap, slather it on to all of the important lady bits and then go on your merry way.
Oh, new moms shave… but only when they have the luxury of someone coming over and holding their baby for a good 10 or 15 minutes. In those cases it’s full-on shower heaven, in which legs, bikini line and the armpits get a nice little scrape with the old razor. But trying to shave with a baby on standby? Yeah, odds are you’re going to get half a leg done and then you’ll just walk around feeling like there’s a draft on one side of your body.
A peaceful poop
Gone are the days of pooping in solitude while scrolling through your phone. If anything this is the time of your life when you’re going to realize just how quickly you can squeeze things through your intestines, or conversely just how long you can hold it in (sometimes it may even disappear for a while… but WHERE DOES IT GO?). Meanwhile, you’ll inevitably start loathing just how long your partner takes in there.
A sit-down meal
Word on the street is that new moms don’t eat. That would be false. Anything that can be consumed with one hand and doesn’t need to actually be prepared (think granola bars, crackers, chips and other junk food) is fair game. But all food will definitely be consumed while standing up or hiding out in the pantry. Moms do not have the luxury of a nice sit-down meal with plates like some fancy person, and if they have a toddler odds are the kid will only want what’s on your plate anyhow.
Fancy meal planning
Remember the days of vegan meal planning, healthy dieting and assembling several meals in advance so that you’d stick to a budget and health goal? New moms laugh at you because the only real meal planning they have time for is deciding what toppings to get on that pizza they’re having delivered, or if they’re having yellow or white Kraft dinner tonight.
Moms and coffee are synonymous, but hot coffee is a rare, rare thing. Always offer to bring a mother some coffee, but if you want her to really love you, you should also hold her baby so that she can drink it while it’s still hot.
Finishing a conversation
Yeah, that mom used to have time for heart-to-hearts and in-depth, philosophical chats about life. But that was before she was trying to sneak in a load of laundry, make a screaming baby attach itself to her nipple and remember whether there were any more diapers in the garage. Sure, she’ll try to start a conversation with you—she’ll crave the adult time even—but finishing that talk? Good luck.
Reading… well, beyond Google
In a perfect world a new mom would be cuddled up in a rocking chair with a sleeping babe, blissfully reading some soul-affirming novel about motherhood or romantic entanglements (or maybe both). In reality, that same mom is half asleep in the chair while she adjusts herself to stop the pins and needles in her arm, googling whether it’s normal that her baby’s soft spot is pulsating or if that new rash is a danger sign for something else.
Any kind of “me time”
Just insert the laughter right here. If a new mom can find the time to go and get her nails or hair done she is a lucky, lucky person.
A clean house
When you have a new baby, it’s ridiculous how much laundry you have all of a sudden. You also seem to have a lot more inanimate objects around your house that add to the clutter, like a swing, a tummy time mat, a diaper changing station and a random pile of cards, magazines and long-forgotten mail. Dust accumulates, hair starts forming little clumps on the carpets and before you know it you forget the last time someone cleaned the toilet.
Having nice things
For the next 18 years or so everything that you and your partner bring into the house will either be claimed by the kid or completely ruined. Seriously, please buy that secondhand couch, coffee table, bed, painting or lamp, because anything and everything that you spend actual money on will likely only last 3.98 seconds in your house when you have a child.
Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep
Welcome to Zombieland, population moms. Newborns need to feed at least every three hours, which automatically means getting up, but then parents also have to deal with poop explosions, random fits of crying, babies that will only sleep while on a parent and random loud noises (like accidentally playing a video on your phone) that absolutely eff up all of your best laid plans.
Sure, there are some babies out there that are great sleepers. But if you have one just consider yourself lucky and don’t say a word because that’s what you are: lucky.
But you know what? It’s all worth it. Sure, the nights are long, but the years are short. And before you know it you’ll be looking back on all of these things with a strong tinge of nostalgia. Because even though you’ve heard it a million times, they really do grow too fast.