I enjoy the newborn phase. (gasp!) I know, I know. Who in their right mind takes pleasure in suffering from sleep-deprivation, non-stop diaper and outfit changes, constant feedings and being at the complete mercy of an incredibly demanding human being? No one enjoys these things – not even me – but there is a silver lining to be found in the deep trenches when surviving this stage.
When a newborn is in the house, the rules that normally govern our lives cease to exist. We set that expectation bar to the lowest possible setting and settle in. There are only two primary objectives: 1.) Keep my offspring alive 2.) Survive. That’s it. There’s no need to put any additional stress or pressure on an already taxing situation. At the end of the day, is everyone alive? Yes? Then it’s been a great day.
My tiny little cherub doesn’t give AF about my schedule or plans of any kind. She doesn’t care about errands, tasks and a never-ending to do list that I hope to accomplish. She especially could care less about any organized events, activities or whatever other scheduled appointments that typically fill my family’s busy calendar. The moment I try to tell her we have to leave and be somewhere is the moment she decides to cluster feed and have an epic blowout.
If the baby doesn’t care, then neither do I. If something isn’t an absolute necessity like taking my eldest son to school, then it’s not a priority. I’m too tired and it’s sounds miserable to force everyone to cooperate. Will we leave the house today? Who knows. There’s nowhere we have to be except right here.
Zero f*cks are given to my appearance. This isn’t a drastic change from my typical concern level, but normally I’d at least attempt to avoid embarrassment. Now? It’s on a whole other level of not caring. Shower? Maybe, maybe not. Applying make-up of any kind sounds like a stupid use of my precious energy that I can exert elsewhere. Oh, and my hair? This messy bun usually resembles that of a tangled, snarled nest – never that sought-after effortless chic look. My attire consists of an eclectic assortment of pajamas, yoga pants, pretend-fitness wear and flip-flops. None of it matches or makes sense, but it fits (kind of). The only concern potentially dictating my clothing options is how flexible my neckline is so I can whip a tit out when my little one demands it.
Sometimes an outfit gets the green light for another day’s use if I don’t have the energy to change or a suitable replacement is non-existent due to a lack of clean laundry. Honestly, I’m too tired to care or try even if I wanted to. This hot disheveled mess is completely acceptable when taking care of a newborn – at least that’s what I tell myself. I’m not sure what my excuse will be after this phase passes, but for now, I’m embracing it.
The same IDGAF attitude extends into my dietary choices. Food is not planned, prepped or cooked except for the occasional use of our microwave. Many meals are prepared by the lovely folks at a nearby restaurant. In some cases, a nice delivery man graces us with his presence and brings it to our doorstep. While fending for myself at home, I’m usually only left with one hand limiting my options. Often, whatever is available and convenient to shove in my mouth is what’s on the menu. This morning, my breakfast consisted of a handful of gummy bears, some tortilla chips and a few bites of apple pie. I have awhile before I’m concerned with losing the baby weight, so for now all finger foods are fair game.
There is absolutely no pressure on me to do anything – beyond keeping everyone alive, of course. Not one ounce of guilt is felt for the laundry piling up and the dirty dishes sitting in the sink. I have no compulsion to wash the floors or pick up and return our home into a neat and tidy abode. Beds most likely aren’t made and toys are spilling over from room to room. As I look around shit is everywhere and I don’t care. It’s not hurting anyone and I’d like to think it gives the place some character.
During this brief period in time, some of the simplest things in life have become that much sweeter. Crawling into my bed and curling up into a cocoon of blankets is by far one of the best feelings ever. And, you better believe I have no problem falling asleep these days. Showers are beyond amazing and unbelievably refreshing. Even though short and somewhat rushed, it can make such a difference and help to bring me back to life. Oh, and the intoxicating aroma and delicious taste of coffee is heavenly. This hug in a mug brings me such comfort almost as if it’s whispering “everything is going to be ok” while I drink it.
One of my favorite parts of this stage exists during nighttime feedings. While the entire house is asleep, except for me and the baby, there’s such a calming, peace I experience. Without distractions or interruptions, it’s so relaxing to sit in the dark accompanied with complete silence. The best part? I’m able to spend one-on-one time with my little one without needing to put her down to tend to my other children. It’s just me and her. No one else.
Soon routines and schedules will start to evolve and once again, dictate our everyday lives. There won’t be enough hours in the day between running around from school pick-ups and drop-offs, activities, appointments and events promising to keep us overwhelmingly busy.
For now, I’m letting go of any expectations and living without rules or obligations tying us down – jumping from one improvised moment to the next. Until this newborn phase passes, I’ll just be over here, focusing on keeping everyone alive and shoving apple pie in my mouth.