What to do if you have a bad day as a new mom?
Mom Hack: The baby will always barf or pee on you when you least expect it. Don't chance it, cover-up. A great tip I learned from a fellow Mom: When changing the baby, make sure you place a new diaper under the soiled one before you take it off; that way if there is an accident, you can avoid having to change clothes and clean the changing table.
I have gone through the first months as a new mom with a relatively sunny disposition, but there were still days that are just plain crappy. Yesterday was that day. I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight, there was baby stuff everywhere, the dishes were piling up in the sink, I was hungry, I was thirsty, Adeline was cluster feeding (eating every 45 minutes) and had been bawling all day.
When I finally managed to get in the shower, I burst into tears, curled up in a little ball, and cried. Once I had stopped crying, I realized it was a much-needed escape from the crazy new emotions of motherhood. Who knew hiding in the shower could feel so good.
You may be thinking PPD, but I don't have postpartum depression according to the mandatory questionnaire they ask you at every follow-up Gyno/Pediatrics appointment.
How I was coping, did I feel like hurting the baby, are I able to take care of myself, are you able to take care of everyday tasks, etc.? I had passed. So, even though I was sobbing loud enough that my Husband could probably hear, I figured it's normal post-pregnancy emotions.
As an aside, my mother was deeply depressed, and I have always vowed not to follow in her footsteps despite knowing that she could not control her depression. Her depression sparked something in me and ultimately gave me the resilience to cope even when things got hard.
Here are six tips for you on how to push through those crappy days as a new mom.
1) Let yourself cry. I am a massive fan of the ugly cry. This is a crying session where you let it all out, and snot may drip down your nose, you can let yourself wail. Bang on the wall, kick something or scream fuck, fuck, fuck at the top of your lungs (don't wake the baby). The shower is the perfect place for this with the hot water beating down on you. Crying is so cathartic, and yesterday, I felt so much better after I came out of the shower.
2) Stop, take a look around at the madness and accept it for what it is. It's Chaos. I was so smug before becoming a mom. I thought I was going to be that mom who runs around in cute outfits with perfect hair, never looking tired or ragged. I tried to keep up with my eyelash extensions. I was looking forward to a manicure. I was going to have all the babies stuff organized and in one place. Now I know when you become a mom, your home is going to get messy, you can forget makeup, you will ask yourself when the last time you ate or washed your hair (especially true if you don't have a supportive family around). You can't do everything, so the best thing to do is accept the chaos and the mess and know that it will get cleaned up eventually.
3) Know that it does get better. I went to Tar-jay the other day, and I saw a couple with a 2-week old baby that was screaming, and they were frantically trying to calm her while trying to find something on the shelf. My breasts started leaking, of course, and I wanted to run over and help them (but I didn't, my husband would be proud - he says I meddle too much in strangers' lives). Anyway, I had Adeline with me who was 6-weeks old at the time, and I felt a sense of nostalgia. Adeline was happily looking around, and I was calm. Andrew and I had so many late-night Target runs and trips to the Pediatrician, but now we are a lot more confident about what we were doing. We had transitioned. We were getting a little more sleep, we were better understanding Adeline's cries, and it was easier!
4) Try a 15-minute cleaning blitz. My house is a disaster zone, and I have reached my limit. If you are also looking around feeling like a bomb has gone off, try a 15-minute cleaning blitz. Either pick one task to do, like the dishes, throw clothes in the laundry, or even make your bed, but stay focused. Mommy Brain is real! I find myself trying to clean and getting distracted. I end up leaving a half-eaten piece of toast on the counter or throwing a baby bib in a corner on the floor, and the other day I found a coffee mug in the bathroom. Since we have so much more stuff in our house, it's easy to feel cluttered, and the best solution to tidying up is to run around picking up as many things as you can (burp cloths, baby socks, diaper, toys, breast pump), whatever I can fit in my hand and then I have to find the proper place for it. When my hands are empty, I have made some progress and can celebrate the fact that I have a little bit of control back in my day
5) Accept that you can't do everything, and you are still a supermom. With motherhood, there is always a trade-off. What you choose to do with your few minutes of downtime means that all those other things you want to do can't get done. When you have a small window of time, you always have to decide what to sacrifice. Bathroom vs. Shower vs. Eat vs. Laundry vs. Clothes that aren't leggings, etc., etc., etc. Whatever you chose to do, pick whatever gives you the most relief first, whether that is crying in the shower, browsing Instagram, or taking a nap. Through all the hormones, body changes, lack of sleep, lack of food, of course, it's impossible to keep it together all the time. Honestly, if I can take care of the baby and even manage to shove some food in my mouth every day, I feel like a supermom.