Six weeks ago I examined the very pressing question of how exactly you can tell if you’ve “arrived,” so to speak, as a new mother. That post, 8 Signs You’ve “Arrived” as a Mom was not an entirely comprehensive list on account of the fact that I lose the plot on my posts before I’m able to produce anything truly comprehensive. So today I am adding to the list, based in part on suggestions from readers.
8 More Signs You’ve “Arrived” as a Mom
1. You shower. Not sometimes. All the time. Showering is once again part of your everyday routine. It’s not reserved for special occasions. In my earlier post, a hallmark of having “arrived” was being able to manage your baby’s bath time solo. Now I’d like to emphasize that you should also be able to manage your own bath time. The key is in the shampooing. It doesn’t count if you do what I like to call “taking a rinse.” Taking a rinse is bullshit and not befitting a mom who has truly arrived. Taking a rinse means you hopped in and got wet. You need to take a real shower with shampoo and soap. Don’t push yourself to shave your legs if you’re not ready, unless you’re aiming to achieve “Tier One” mom status, which I wouldn’t recommend on account of the fact that the upkeep is rather taxing, and also on account of the fact that you’ll intimidate other moms who may otherwise want to be your friend. This is why I don’t shave my legs. Too risky.
2. You’re aware of the existence of nursing pads. All the “with-it” engorged and leaking moms are. I myself had never heard of this nifty product, which is why I was a walking one-woman wet t-shirt contest for the better part of a month. It’s very hard to argue that you’ve “arrived” if you’re running errands with two expanding wet spots on your chest. You would have to work VERY hard in other categories to make up for a deficit here.
3. You don’t pack like you’re on a cross country trip when you’re only going to the mall. Moms who have arrived know what to pack as not to be unprepared in public (diapers, wipes, change of clothes) but also understand that you shouldn’t need a U-Haul to carry all the extraneous shit that you’ve thrown together “just in case.” I sometimes find my diaper bag packed with such unessential items as 3 identical pacifiers, socks in an array of colors, and onesies that haven’t fit Nolan for months. These items can sometimes be found alongside toothbrushes and parmesan cheese. All that is not necessary. Except the cheese, which I find quite handy on the road.
If you’re not sure how much is too much, a good rule of thumb is that your diaper bag should be no bigger than a Mini Cooper, and no more than the weight of 17 bowling balls.
4. You don’t spend all day worrying about your baby’s airways being open. You instead spend 50% of your day worrying about the airways and the other 50% worrying about the fact that he can’t roll over yet.
5. People don’t regularly stop to ask you “Are you ok? How can I help you?” every time you’re out with your child. This item was suggested by my friend Courtney. Her daughter Annie, seen below, typically issues this response:
You can usually avoid the solicitous help of strangers by being able to do such things as get through doors and into restaurants while pushing your stroller without stopping to examine the entry like you’ve never seen the modern world. When I first had Nolan I got trapped outside a Dunkin Donuts, and could not for the life of me figure out how I was supposed to be able to swing the door open, pivot, and maneuver the stroller inside. Now I just cruise right in.
6. You can use the bathroom while holding a baby in your arms. This item was up for debate, as some moms are of the opinion that if you have really “arrived” you can find other appropriate places to put your child while peeing. I’ll take feedback on this item.
7. You know your kid’s birth date IMMEDIATELY when asked, and also his social security number. Ok maybe not his social security number. Is that something people know by heart for their new babies? I’m unclear on this point, because I still struggle to remember my husband’s cell phone number. Definitely the birthday though. Nothing says “I don’t have my mom-shit together” like going to the pediatrician, having them ask for your baby’s birthday, and then fumbling around to figure it out. I gave the wrong YEAR last time I was asked. Do not be that mom.
Today is Nolan’s 8 month birthday. Did I know that? No I didn’t. Brian told me. I thought Nolan was born on the 8th. Turns out it was the 9th. In my defense, the day of Nolan’s birth I was pretty drugged up, so I missed certain things. Some people might argue that this was the most meaningful day of my life, and that drugs or not I should therefore mentally secure the date of my child’s birth. I don’t know who those people would be though.
It will probably help you if you have a sign like this over your baby’s crib to remind you. I mean, we do, and it didn’t help me, but I would suspect it would help you if you’re even marginally observant.
8. You help other people with their registries and when they reference products, for example butt paste, you say “Boudreaux’s” confidently and straight away. When you’ve really arrived, you know your butt paste.
When I registered for my own baby shower, I had some helpful friends alert me to the fact that my wish list was sheer idiocy. For example, I had requested like 800 Size 1 diapers. I was nicely told that my new baby might be born already too big for Size 1’s (which proved correct) and might it not be smarter to request a slightly larger size in that kind of bulk? And also, did I mean to order 25 burp cloths? No? Ok, then maybe remove a few off the registry.
You see, my manner of registering was running around the store with one of those little guns and just clicking on anything that looked kind of useful or not useful but cute. That’s not really the way to do it. Sure I glanced at some sample lists provided by the stores, but since I didn’t know the purpose of any of the items it wasn’t very helpful. Now, as an “experienced” parent, I’m able to tell my friends when they have registries that make no sense. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Note: Now and again, you may do something that’s so far in the opposite direction from having “arrived” that it negates points you earned from earlier successes. For example, I recently took Nolan to a pub for an early dinner with friends. He was sitting on my lap, and I was completely unaware that his reaching abilities had advanced to the point that items on the table were fair game. Within 10 minutes he had grabbed my beer, dumped it out all over both of us, soaking through our outfits and making a huge mess on the floor. And then he vomited on himself. Twice.
On the plus side he fit right in at a bar. On the minus side, everything I just described. I had to drive very cautiously going home as I doubt the police take kindly to infants soaked in booze in their carseats. If you have such an incident, please factor this in when trying to decide if you’ve arrived or not. If you were otherwise on the cusp of arrival, an incident like this probably takes you out of the running.
What would you add to the list? Even though it’s Part 2, my guess is it’s still not comprehensive.
#7 I had a ring made that literally has my daughters birth date imprinted on it. I wear it everyday. Sentimental keepsake? Not really. I ALSO have give the wrong birthdate to healthcare professionals – Now, I can glance at the ring finger on my right hand and answer with confidence. Also, I seriously considered getting her ss # engraved on the inside of my ring. But then I thought it might be a dumb idea to have my daughters name, birth date and ss# all in one place. Have I arrived Liz?
Are you kidding me? You’ve MORE than arrived, you’re setting a whole new standard for moms who don’t really have their shit together, but who come up with ingenious work-arounds to appear that they do! Great work! You could be a consultant. I find you especially credible given that you realized you shouldn’t have all of the info a criminal would need to steal your daughter’s identity together in one place.
Diana Cook Esposito
Referring to #6 – finding a place to put baby so you can pee. I resort to the bumbo chair – I leave it in the hallway and leave the bathroom door open. If it’s a public restroom, then I’ve got nothing! Clearly, I have not arrived! I enjoyed reading this post – very entertaining. Thank you!!
Glad you liked it Diana! Yeah at home I have provisions for toilet time. Nolan sits in a little seat next to the toilet and creepily watches me pee. The issue is when you’re out and not near the car seat. At those times I’m really at a loss…
Happy Birthday, little man. I loved Annie’s response and the “tude,” expression. I know you’re not there yet, but I’m betting there will be a correlation between leg shaving and conceiving baby #2.
Annie knows how to lay the smack down when she needs to. She’s no joke that Annie.
I knew a man who discovered that his birthday was celebrated on the wrong date for 15 years – on his 16th birthday, his mother dug out his birth certificate so he could get his driver’s permit and he pointed out to her that it had the “wrong” date. At first, she looked perplexed, but then her face lit up as she remembered ….. “oh, that’s right – I have been remembering your due date all this time, but you were born 5 days later” …..
Separately, Liz, I want to tell you how much I love your column – I wish you were writing about having a 14 year old, because then I could also have the fun of comparing notes (and presumably be enjoying some lighthearted perspective on the lows of the teen years:)), but instead I take pleasure in your writing and enjoy the pictures of your absolutely adorable Nolan!
Best wishes to you and your family!
That is amazing about the kid with the wrong birth date!I love it. I’m going to work hard to not let that happen to Nolan, but really there’s not telling when his birthday might be celebrated.
And also thanks for your kind note about the blog! That made my day. I wish I had a 14 year old to write about for your sake, but as far as I can tell I just have the one kid. Sorry for that.
Last night we took Kyle to the Chinese buffet at peak dinner hour. They put us in a separate wing of the crowded restaurant per my suggestion, nevertheless I felt very much “arrived” when he managed to not go into a full on witching hour freak out.
It’s a small arrival but an arrival nonetheless.
Great post xo
It’s a win as long as you’ve got him out in public. Even if it means they have to evacuate everyone else from the restaurant, that’s totally fine. Still counts. 🙂
I love your posts (and I’m an old friend of the sexy Courtney btw), but as a mom of 20 mo. old triplets I often find myself feeling like I will never achieve any of your goals, such as showering every day, and not having people ask if I need help for the rest of my life! On the other hand, I will say my 300 lb. purse/diaper bag makes an excellent doorstop for holding the door open while navigating the triple stroller through the door!
But alas, I’m just destined to never arrive! 🙂
Oh Marybeth, there are entirely different standards for mothers of multiples. Your only goal needs to be to shower every 3rd day and not get committed to an asylum. If you’ve done that, I’d say you’re winning!
Hey! Number 7! Your baby boy was born the day before my baby girl! Lovely Libras. 10/10 is easy to remember but due to lack of sleep I forget the year all the time! 2014, 2013, 2012… It’s all the same in my soupy brain. 🙂
Yeah I don’t know how any of us are expected to know the year of our child’s birth, really. It’s just too much. Also didn’t know Nolan was a Libra, but now I can try to file that bit of info away too!
If I had a dollar for every time I was referred to as “the sexy Courtney”……well, I would just have the one dollar.
Marybeth!! You have to send Liz the picture you sent me of your little angel. You can’t keep all that goodness to yourself.
Courtney I think if you marketed yourself more aggressively as “the sexy Courtney” it could really catch on. I will start referring to you that way to try to get some momentum here.
I like that Liz. Maybe something like “the sexy Courtney is still wearing maternity pants”
Great Job Liz!
#3 and #8 are so true!
here’s how i knew i had arrived.
while max is laying on the bed: “zadie, mommy’s going to dry her hair. if he starts screaming again, just jump up and down and try to make him laugh”
parent of the year!