5 Universal Truths of New Motherhood

Liz Curtis Faria
Written by Liz Curtis Faria

Motherhood is a unique journey for each of us. And by “unique” I mean pretty much exactly the same for everyone. This explains the otherwise unfathomable popularity of baby forums, where 8,000 women can log on and ask a variation of the question “why is my baby trying to ruin my life by never sleeping for more than 25 consecutive minutes?” and that question will yield 16,000 responses because each member will want to weigh in at least twice for the sake of camaraderie. This is because it is a universal truth of new motherhood that sleep deprivation will make you want to knock yourself unconscious (banging your head on the infant carseat works well for this) so you can get some blessed down time.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is also a new mom, and she, with no small degree of incredulity, said, “You know, all those things people tell you about being a new mom are actually true!” Those things that you heard and quickly dismissed as being not-applicable to yourself and your unborn child. Once the baby arrives, you’re all “F*ck, that wasn’t exaggerated?! What in the!?!? Did everyone know this?!? And if so, why are there so many new children in the world?”

While of course your individual experiences will vary somewhat (i.e. your baby’s shit might get on your pants or it might get on your shirt), the common denominator (of shit) cannot be escaped. The thing is, there are some universal truths to new parenthood, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get comfortable with this notion right out of the gate. And by gate I think it’s clear I mean vagina.

Here we go:

  1. While you will love your child with all of your heart, you will also most passionately feel this love when your child is sleeping. If you think about it, it would make more sense to get a doll, since dolls and sleeping babies are pretty much the exact same thing, except that you can leave dolls in your car while you run into Target without the fear of police involvement.

dollandbaby

2. However disgusted you are at the secretions of other people’s children, when it comes to your own child you will mindlessly roll around in her bodily fluids with the reckless abandon of a raccoon on spring break. My baby shit out an entire banana the other day, and I was so distracted that it didn’t even occur to me not to slather it on my own hands in a kind of impromptu lotion. You are now disgusting to other people, but you don’t give a shit on account of the fact that the last time you slept was in 1985, best you can recall.

3. You will do whatever you’ve got to do to get by. Think you would never co-sleep? Tell me your opinion on that after stumbling into the nursery like a partially blind and legally drunk sailor for the 50th time in a week. 100% sure you’ll breastfeed? Let’s have this discussion three weeks into cracked nipples and after two bouts of mastitis. Think you will bathe your kid every day? How about after the 6th time he’s peed on his own face. That’s your new standard. Confident that you will always use a car seat for your baby? Well, actually, you should definitely do that one.

4. You really cannot get shit done when you have a baby. I know you might think you can. That would be incorrect. I know that prior to having your baby you had visions of catching up on a series of long-neglected organizational (and perhaps even crafting!) projects, in between reading Anna Karenina and writing your autobiography. You planned on having the time to do all of this because the laundry and dishes would take like an hour MAX and then, well, with the baby napping so often the rest of the day would be WIDE OPEN!

You will spend vast quantities of your time on tasks so mindless that when you’re asked what you did all day, you will have to conclude that you were lobotomized, because for the life of you you have no goddamn idea how you spent all those hours. You certainly do not have anything concrete to display to prove how you spent the day. {Tip: It is helpful to keep your Facebook page open, so you can count how many times you “Liked” videos on cats or commented on “Open Letters” (which – when did Open Letters become so popular? Dear God, interweb users, you can make a point without an Open Letter!)} Regardless of how little your baby seems to be actually doing, you will be doing even less. Your life is now a show about nothing. No pair has been this unproductive since Jerry Seinfeld met George Costanza.

SEINFELD-JERRY-GEORGE

5. Meeting and befriending other new moms is like dating other temporarily mentally ill people. It’s Tinder meets Girl, Interrupted, but with plumper lead actresses. Finding mom friends with babies the same age as your own, who are available for mid-day socializing, is more stressful than finding a mate. Now the stakes are REALLY HIGH because you are so hormonal that without proper social support you will end up in the fetal position of your disorganized nursery, and who knows who will watch your baby. (Note: this is another reason to consider just getting a doll. Although it is hard to make a pitch to be a stay-at-home mom to a doll, so factor that in when considering your options.)

What “Universal Truths” did you discover once you had kids? This list is not comprehensive, because, let’s be honest, I need to get back to my queue of cat videos. They’re really piling up.

Written by Liz
Blogger at A Mothership Down
You can also find her on Facebook and on Twitter.

About the author

Liz Curtis Faria

Liz Curtis Faria

Liz spent much of the past decade as a social worker and photographer, earning very little money but having the opportunity to travel widely and meet many interesting people, including a drunk Canadian who cut her a mullet on a dare. Now a full-time mom and blogger, Liz is continuing her quest to make no money and spending her days wondering why her son so closely resembles a ham. While many, many people call her Mother Earth, she finds that cumbersome. Please just call her Liz.

Liz blogs about the joy and ridiculousness that is motherhood at A Mothership Down. Her work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and Mamapedia, among others.

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48 Comments

    • Courtney, maybe I will borrow a child for a few weeks so that I can appropriately warn people about the perils of doubling down. Right now I have only my imagination to guide me.

      • Holy doubling down! I can tell u some doozies Liz but we will save the hilarity for July when I see u and Nolie pants (yeah I call him that in my mind). But I’ll give u one tid bit about dos bambinos at the same time….u know the whole germ thing? Out the windy…bottle sharing, I’m all yeah whatever gets the job done! Any twin mom will agree. I have a dry erase board to keep track of poops and poops alone!!! Bahahahaha

      • I have two you can borrow anytime, just say the word, I will deliver them πŸ˜‰

        Whatever happens will all be for blog “research” purposes.

  • So true and put in a way that brings a smile to everyone’s face – Thanks Liz for sharing your humor!

  • This is so hilarious and so true. My son is 10 months old and I’m still having a hard time finding mommy friends!

      • Oh girl, I have already read it. I came across your blog earlier this week and have pretty much decided you’re my new best friend. πŸ™‚ I haven’t cried from laughing so much in a long time. Almost everything you have posted, I’m thinking to myself, “I thought I was the only one that felt that way!” You are a hoot! Thank you for reminding me that I am not going insane and I need to be committed!

  • Ah-mazing. How about adding to the list: you will do unconscionable things to not wake them up when they are sleeping. Like: peeing in Tupperware in the car if they are crashed out in the car seat and you’d prefer to just keep playing your Solitaire app.

    • I will DEFINITELY pee in Tupperware when the time comes. Actually I may do it just for fun. I have a neat little device called the “Urinary Director” which is kind of like a toilet paper roll made of plastic, and which handily directs your urine away from your body. It’s for camping but also useful for moms on the go.

  • Just so you know this is my commenting debut, so please forgive my sleep deprived, 7AM psycho babble attempt at a complement as my 9 month old makes a saliva fingerpainted mural on my chest.
    Liz your blog be awesome.
    I forget how I came across it but I must say, it gets me through! You’re hilarious!
    Every single one of those universal truths rang true with me… Ever since having my daughter, I have come to realise if I want to go anywhere I must plan at LEAST 3 hours ahead of normal people time, as it will take me about 500 years before we’ll be ready to leave the house, which probably falls under the category of ‘not getting shit done’…
    And this story normally ends with one tired momma curling up on the couch with her phone and ‘A Mothership Down’.
    πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Angie! Yeah, taking a kid out is like packing for a cross country trip, only with none of the excitement of the trip part. Just the packing part. Also I like the vision of your 9 month old making saliva murals on your chest as you type…it’s quaint and also gross. A winning combo.

  • Liz Faria is the Carrie Bradshaw of baby blogging!! I’ve been trying to pick up mommy lady dates for weeks now – thanks to A Mothership Down, I now have better ammo!

  • Liz, I love your post! While I had every intent to procreate like you did, sadly, I picked the wrong man to be my husband/sperm donor. We divorced before the aforementioned planned procreation could take place. Don’t feel sorry for me. I would move on to love again….and again….and again. I am a Scorpio, so you can only imagine the exciting love life I’ve had. Over time (actually, it was a hot minute), my desire to have children waned. While it did not occur to me to raise and love a doll, cats (an heir and a spare) are helping me get my maternal needs met. You will likely envy me for the fact that I only have to clean their litter box once a day. They bathe themselves. They sleep the day away, happily. I can leave them to fend for themselves, while I do whatever, for the day. (I’m not a monster, I leave them crunchies and water.) Others will argue — and rightly so — that human babies are very desirable, so my hat’s off to you. You are a desirable parent, too, one who can see the humor in the day to day. I am writing this with the world news in the background. The great Maya Angelou passed today, and the anchor just mentioned that she seemed to never have an inconsequential thought. I think I have just proven that I am no Maya Angelou. Go forth and parent, Liz. It’s not for the faint of heart or weak of mind.

    • Lynda, I’m glad that the cats are meeting your maternal needs. It’s true, I’m envious of both their self-cleaning properties and their amazing sleep habits. You are one lucky mother.

  • I think these words of wisdom should be printed in a book that gets sold along with those ‘what to expect when expecting’. There is more valued information in here than the hundreds of pages I wasted my time with. I’ve learned lots Liz!

    • I’m glad that you’re getting valuable information, I really strive to be a fountain of knowledge on all maternal matters….it’s often been said that I’m something of a sage. I brush it off, but perhaps it’s undeniable now. The wisdom is just bursting out of me. πŸ™‚

  • What I love most about this blog, and there are so many things, is that you have 2 #1’s and no #4, thereby proving your sleep deprivation point. Also, there truly is nothing better than a sleeping kid, no matter how old. Having had two kids in slightly less than two years, I can attest that for the second one, the sleep deprivation gets worse and the devil-may-care about secretions attitude does, too. You think you are lucky to shower now? Just imagine having two kids in diapers at once! Thanks for the giggle, Liz!

    • Two kids in diapers is my nightmare. I may start wearing adult diapers myself now, just so it’s less of a shock when I’m dealing with it later! Actually, I think I would become too comfortable with adult diapers, it’s probably a dangerous road for me to go down…

    • p.s. Numbering issue fixed! I wish I could say that it was deliberate, to illustrate what exhaustion looks like in practice:)

  • May I add:
    6. You will lose all sense of modesty and decency through the pregnancy/birthing/nursing process. The sheer number of doctors/nurses/interns/random ne’er-do-well’s who see (and, let’s get real, put their hand inside of) your vagina during the pregnancy and birthing process is just astonishing… but you eventually get used to it. It reminds me of when I was a prudish teenager and I would go into a lady’s locker room and see all these bare-assed old ladies chatting while they applied lotion to themselves. I thought to myself “WHO ARE these creepy weirdos who are so cool with just letting it all hang out in front of everybody??” Now I’M that creepy weirdo!! After you have a baby it’s like “really? who cares?” (or in other words, at this point, who HASN’T seen my vagina?)

    • I can’t believe I didn’t think of this one! YES! Within 12 hours postpartum I was nursing freely in front of EVERYONE, including my father in law, not because I was feeling kind of free and hippy-ish, but because I could not for the life of me control my boobs and the baby at once. That was the beginning of the end for me. It’s a total free for all now. I’m basically a nudist.

  • Liz, you have always made me laugh from the second you knocked on my door the first day of school and announced my full name, you stalker lol…. Did you not heed any of my child-bearing advice? Did you think I was lying?

  • So much fun to read your blog and learn your pearls of wisdom…hysterical! I can’t wait until you have a toddler or, better yet, a teenager to write about!!

    • My solution to this is drive-thrus. Taco Bell is pretty much my favorite place in the world. I love me some Bell. Although it’s not really helping me regain my otherwise glorious figure.

  • This is hilarious because it is soooo true. My daughters are now 33 and 30, one has two kids and the other has one on the way, but I remember their infancies like they were yesterday. We have two kids not four because of their hellacious infancies. When I was pregnant NO ONE told me about the fourth trimester and I felt so snookered!!!!! Luckily this period passes fairly quickly although when I was going through it I seriously considered going out in the middle of the night and driving my car into a telephone pole. You who are going through it now, take heart. That bundle of pooping peeing eating crying nightmare will very soon begin to bring you your greatest joys in life!!!!

    • Thanks Carol! It’s nice to hear from someone on the other side of the battle. I have to say, even in this sleep deprivation hell hole it’s still pretty cool having a baby. He makes noises like a pterodactyl, which I can’t do, and I respect him for that. I’ll keep him.

  • Liz,
    You make me laugh out loud or “LOL” as your generation would say. Another “universal truth”, the feelings all come rushing back when you become a grandmother.

  • Love it, as usual. Just plop N’s picture on anything and I’ll automatically think it’s great. But yeah, I still have no idea where the first 2 months of my little guy’s life went… My house was a mess, I never slept and I sure didn’t go anywhere or see anyone in the shape I was in. But we survived, and that’s got to count for something.

  • Love this Liz! You are dead on about creating new standards. I have 3 now, to remain a happy mom standards must drop significantly after every birth. My boys, 2 and 1, have not worn shoes to drop their sister off at pre school yet this year. Seriously. Every morning we walk to school and go inside and my boys are barefoot. Yes, even in Winter. Yes, I get judgmental looks. Yes, by “every morning” I mean the few times per week we actually make it to school πŸ™‚

    • Ha! I love it. It also reminds me that I have no idea when babies are supposed to wear shoes. My baby (Nolan) has never worn them. I mean, he can’t walk. So I can’t see why shoes are needed. I’m guessing your boys can walk, at least the two year old, but I support your choice to go shoeless. You’re probably starting a trend and don’t even know it.

  • Hilarious! I’ll add that you will take photos of your children and most likely post them on facebook that portray your child as 75-99% MORE angelic than they actually are. All moms understand this but compliment the photo as if you have the sweetest child ever captured on film. This is one big b.s. loop that we all follow…and should, because everyone knows that the comments you get on your FB photos give you 75-99% of the motivation needed to get through infancy.

    • Ha! So true! As long as it’s a communal, unspoken agreement to continue to pretend that we all live in a Hallmark card, I say great! Facebook, saving lives one exhausted mom at a time…

  • Omg!! I remember feeling this way!! Ladies, I’m now a mother of two. (8-year-old boy, 5-year-old girl) and I can tell you, the craziness just changes as they get older. Sure, the sleepless nights are gone, but now I have to 20 minutes each morning arguing over socks with my daughter or screaming like a maniac for everyone to get their shoes and sweatshirts. But just as you know, it may sound like insanity, but you wouldn’t change a thing.
    As for having more than one, it’s true what they say: Having 2 is like having 10, buy it’s so much fun. The best gift we ever gave our son was his little sister and they’ve been bestfriends since day one.
    Have fun ladies, because I’m sure you’ve figured out, no matter how much time you spend with them, or how many hugs you give them, each stage seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Everyone told you “enjoy it, it goes by fast,” but I’m sure you didn’t realize just how fast time flies.

    PS: Liz, Omg, I cannot wait to hear your potty training blog. πŸ˜‰