10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Mom

Republished from September 30, 2009

With Miss Skye turning two months old, I thought I would reflect on the past eight weeks of mommyhood and share my infinite wisdom with all the mamas-to-be out there with this List o’ Lessons Learned thus far:

Do you trust what this woman tells you?  I didn't think so.

The woman imparting her pearls of wisdom. Do you trust her advice? I didn't think so.

10.  There is no way to put this delicately:  My vagina FREAKIN’ HURT after labor.  People tell you how much contractions hurt.  And how much labor hurts.  But nobody tells you that the most pain often comes the days following labor.  Or that a nurse has to accompany you to the bathroom and spray warm water on your vagina while you pee, so that your vagina does not fall off from the burning, overwhelming PAIN.  Yes!  It could fall off, it hurts that bad!  In fact, you are in so much pain, that you do not even care that you are squatting on a toilet and spreading your legs for a stranger who must be thinking to herself, “How did I draw the short straw again?  I became a nurse to help deliver babies.  NOT to hose down this woman’s vagina with a squirt bottle.”

9.  Your family does not care that you are in pain.  They do not care about YOU.  Because there is a NEWBORN in the room.  All of that attention they lavished on you during your pregnancy?  Done, over, finito.  So don’t even bother trying to garner sympathy.  Trust me, I tried everything from pouting to dramatically clutching my privates — it was an exercise in futility.  The most I got out of my husband was, “What?  Why do you look like that?  Is something wrong with THE BABY?!”

8.  Newborns sneeze a lot.  Did you know this?  I did not know this.  Totally normal reflex, apparently.

7.  It does not matter if you wrap your daughter in a pink blanket, stick her in a pink flowered stroller, and write “GIRL” on her forehead with Magic Marker — a stranger will still come up and say, “He is so cute.”

6.  You know the amount of diapers you anticipated changing every day?  Double that number.  Then put a zero at the end.  NOW you know what you will be facing.

5.  Everybody and their dog advised me to “nap when she naps.”  Yeah, um, okay.  The only time that was really possible was during her first few days of life, when she slept like Gary Busey after an all-week bender.  And I was high on Mommy Adrenaline, so I couldn’t sleep anyway.  After that, Skye has slept a few minutes here, an hour there, making it virtually impossible to take a solid nap at the same time.  My solution:  a daily venti iced latte with three espresso shots.  Yes, I nurse my child.  No, the caffeine does not make her fussy or agitated.  This is why I love her.

4.  Remember how your husband didn’t fully “get” your postpartum pain?  Well, that may explain why he will want to have sex before your six-week doctor’s checkup.  And think that YOU are equally as eager.  Delusional horndog, thy name is Hubby.

3.  If people like your baby’s name, they will say so:  “I LOVE that name!”  If they don’t, they will either nod wordlessly or ask, “How did you come up with THAT?”

2.  Breastfed babies can eat too much.  I was told children who nurse only eat when they’re hungry.  WRONG.  My little one has eaten to the point of making herself vomit — not spit up, but vomit — a couple of times, making me realize that she was actually sucking out of bordeom and/or fatigue.  I can now tell when she’s doing this because she appears restless while eating.  And has the same look on her face that I do when Mr. Candy turns on ESPN SportsCenter.

1.  As one who still stares at her child in awe for hours on end, I can confirm it’s true what they say:   Parenthood really is the most amazing blessing we could ever have bestowed upon us.  (Well, with the exception of an invisibility superpower that would enable us to escape speeding tickets and in-laws.  That, we can all agree, would trump anything.)

Because sharing is caring, as I tell my kids. (Except my wine. Never my wine.)
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Candy Kirby

Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I LOVE this list. Of course (since I always have an opinion), I have some addenda:

    “You will never fully understand/believe anything on this list until it happens to you, at which point you will slap yourself on the forehead and say, ‘Ah, yes…'”

    Also, “You will find yourself staying up late at night to read blogs because it’s the only time you have to yourself and you cherish it, even if it means you will be even more exhausted in the morning.”

    And, “A trip to the store by yourself is pretty much the most you can hope for as far as an exciting Friday night goes.”

    And, “You may find yourself ready to hug/kiss/throw yourself at the grocery delivery guy out of sheer gratitude.” That one might not happen until you have two kids (especially if they are both under the age of 2). And what stops you from actually throwing yourself at the delivery guy is the fact that you most definitely do not want to risk having THREE kids.

    Also (I’m not sure if you’ve experienced this yet): “If you are breastfeeding, the baby will sleep longer if you aren’t anywhere near her.” If my baby S is sleeping in the co-sleeper with just dad in the room, she’ll sleep for 5 hour stretches. The second I show up, she’s up and ready for some milk. And like yours, she will sometimes nurse until she projectile vomits all over me.

  • This is absolutely true. I can relate… it’s been a few years though. Get ready for the years when the words “No” and “Why” are used a lot!

  • nice hat, lol!!

    something that surprised me-i thought breasts only leaked for a few days but they leak for months and always leak all over your shirt when you least want them to.

  • Haha, oh the spray bottle! How I remember!
    I had my daughter at home, so I did all the spraying myself, but oh boy that pain — I will never forget it!

  • I was hoping some moms would add their two cents’, Cowgirl. I second all of those points — and have absolutely experienced the last one. Mr. Candy has a hard time understanding why I’m unable to much work done during the day because when HE watches Miss Skye, she naps for hours! Not so much when I’m around.

  • I try to tell my husband that I can’t clean or unload the dishwasher because our 8 week old won’t sleep except in my arms. He doesn’t believe it because she will sleep anywhere he puts her down. Poor dad, in order of preference she likes 1) to be held by me, 2) the bassinett, and 3) to be held by dad.

    I would also add that despite millions of years of evolution, some babies aren’t born knowing how to nurse.

  • This is fantastic. I love how you list all of the “less than pleasant” things that other people won’t talk about, and how everyone else here adds even more. I haven’t had kids yet (we just recently pulled the goalie and are now trying to get pregnant) and it’s fascinating to hear all of this. I want to know what I’m getting into, good and bad… thank you so much for sharing!

  • Aye! Ms. Candy! I e-LOVE the hot vagina story — I can’t stop laugh! Thank you for referaal me to Mr. Chris and Mr. Jon. Baby cute, I clean up. xoxo “Conchita of La Jolla”

  • Thank you for sharing this list! Our first is due in May and how many times can I be told “It will be the best thing that has ever happened to you”? That I know, but I want the real dirt. I especially love the “Your family does not care that you are in pain”. I am surrounded by baby hungry crazies and despite the love and attention I am receiving from family and friends I can’t help but feel a little used. Thank you again for the honest advice. Sleep after the baby arrives, breastfeeding…things we did not learn from our “parenting practice” with our cat. Although it may be impossible to truly prepare for the baby’s arrival, at least I won’t be too suprised by the broken sleep and projectile vomit. Fantastic!

    • I know exactly what you mean with the feeling used. I have a cousin (20 years older, btw) who was always a bitch to me because she and my sister (15 years older) never got along. As soon as I got pregnant, she was constantly buying baby stuff and wanting to hang out. Now every time I’m in town (I live 13 hours away from the rest of my family), she’s always wanting exclusive baby time. I always put it this way: “I feel like the wrapping paper for a present for everybody else, and I’ll get torn up and thrown away later.”

  • I super like this! I totally agree on it all! When reading this, I am like, “Oh, did you spy on me?”

    I can totally relate to these numbers9, 7, 5, and 3!

  • To the list of things you learn after becoming a mom, I’d like to add the genuine surprise and deep-seated panic you feel when you realize the nurses really do expect you to take this baby home with you when you’re discharged – and take care of it, 24/7, even though you feel like a fraud because you don’t have the faintest idea of how to be a mother. On top of that, you seem to have agreed to having a complete stranger become your “roommate” for 18 years – and to be at his beck and call around the clock!

    I began to relax into my new role when someone pointed out that I was the only mom my son had ever known, so whatever I did would be “mom” to him. And before long, it all became a moot point because I fell head-over-heels, hugely and deeply, in love with him. It was exactly like falling in love, but with the added permanent adhesive and astonishing strength of mother bear brain chemicals. The strength and depth of that love and the connection it formed between us was another part of parenthood that took me completely by surprise.