5 Universal Truths of New Motherhood

Yet another post from Liz over at A Mothership Down where I was like, “Yes. So yes.”


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:


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.


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.


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.


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!

Fact: 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.


Meeting and befriending other new moms is like dating other temporarily mentally unstable 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.

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  • It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a baby but how I remember those days. I had all of those expectations but I still haven’t accomplished them. One of these days.

    By the way, my ‘baby’ turns 11 in January.

  • Because I was a nanny for ten years I was prepared for some of it — the tedium, the bodily fluids, the angelic nature of a child newly asleep, and so forth. But I definitely relate to much of what you write here with so much humor and grace! Finding Mom friends! Oh my! Co-sleeping! Forget about it, still doing it three years later. (Kinda love it sometimes, but I am a zombie.) And so forth. Thank you for bringing a smile to my day yet again!

  • SO true! I love it all but I have to thank you in particular for addressing this open letter stuff. Why doesn’t everyone just call it what it really is: Passive Aggressive Bitch Fest. I think I’ll write an open letter about it on my blog now…

  • I had to re-read the first paragraph of #4 no fewer than 12 times because my mind wandered. Did I answer that email? Read. I’m hungry, I should heat up lunch. Read, read. Crap, I totally forgot to stop at the post office. Read. Is it October already? Read, read, read. What the hell did I just read. Dammit.

  • I really needed to read number 4! (I blame "perfect mommy blogs" for making me feel like I’m supposed to get a million things done while taking care of an infant.)

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