Congratulations! You have a baby! And it’s crying! It’s more exhausting than you ever imagined it could be! And your cousin, Anna? She totally lied to you when she told you were ready for this. Come on, Anna!
Adjusting to motherhood is an insane amount of work. It can feel like your entire being has been swallowed by a never-ending, ever-changing list of to dos (and to don’ts.) Putting on pants feels like a victory. Putting on clean pants? Sweetheart, that’s your new impossible dream.
Sure, you feel lucky! Your cup crazy runneth over. But girl, your plate runneth over too. And it may not be a good or healthy thing. Here are a few things a new mom can feel free to take off the agenda in the early days of motherhood.
If you are between the ages of 20-75 and have wi-fi, you’re probably bombarded on the daily by an adorable photo stream of tiny, exhausted babies being positioned with all manner of inanimate objects. These delightful (and highly unnecessary) vignettes are called newborn photos. There is nothing wrong with hiring a professional to take not-grainy pictures of your baby with props—particularly if you think not having a photograph of your infant child in a giant martini glass on a plush olive may haunt you at some point at life. There is also no law that says you have to. As somebody who opted not to spend an afternoon with her week old baby in a photo studio hoping it didn’t crap out the side of a hollowed out watermelon, I promise you will have plenty of opportunity to capture beautiful images of the little bean on your own.
Thank You Cards
Yay! People came to your baby shower. They got you all kinds of wonderful, useful (and cute but not useful) things to help you weather the mysterious and terrifying journey of having a child. What kind, glorious friends! They are, in fact, so kind and glorious that they would probably be willing to give you a pass on the whole Thank You card thing.
The whole point of a baby shower is to make your life easier, right?! So if you think not going to the store to get a tiny box of generic cards when you have a cluster feeding infant attached to your boob might make your skies a little brighter, skip it!
Martha Stewart might gag on her poussin at the mention of such a social gaffe. But, I promise, a text or email when you get a chance will totally suffice.
Accepting Hand Me Downs
The second you announce your pregnancy, all mothers with whom you are even loosely connected will begin collecting errant baby socks and tattered smocking to pass on to your precious miracle. Whether you want it or not. It only seems to come by the Hefty Bag. And it almost always includes a rubber duck filled with black water—and an adult shoe.
As a veteran mom, I can attest to the awesomeness of getting rid of this stuff. I can also attest to the fact that passing it on to unsuspecting mom friends who feel awkward refusing your hastily composed bundle of clothes-garbage is even better. If you’ve been to my home at some point over the last five years, I have definitely done this to you. And I’m sorry (kind of).
Personally? I am all about some hand me downs. But it truly ain’t for everyone. You are in no way obligated to accept things that you don’t want or need from sly broads like me. A simple, “Thank you so much! We actually have more than we need. But there’s a Goodwill down the street,” sends a clear, polite message.
Everybody wants to see the baby. They want to hear your birth story and bring you soup. They make offers to babysit that—bless’ed—they will never follow through with. Bringing a baby into the world is magical. It is no wonder that the people who love you want to soak up some of the residual stardust you’ve got hanging around. But you—and you alone—get to decide when you’re ready for all of that to go down. You might find yourself on the other side of this birth thing, less than eager to talk about Jay-Z’s new record or re-live your perineum stitches whilst bleeding onto the couch. And that’s totally okay! If you want a little time and space to rest, heal, and adjust to the whole mom thing? Take it. You deserve it.
Cleaning Your House
I’m gonna give you a pass on this for, like, a really long time. If polishing the newels on your staircase brigs you joy? Then go ahead and bust that dust, amiga. But if you would rather shower or watch Wendy Williams? (Those are the only two options.) Do that instead. Take care of yourself however you can, whenever you can. This is a heck of a sensitive time. Yes, it might mean letting certain things go—like that incredibly large bird poop on the outside window or the dust people that live under the couch. But I promise you’ll get to it eventually. Or better yet? Somebody else will. A child’s capacity to be disgusting only grows with age. So getting used to a less than pristine living space probably isn’t a bad thing anyway.