I Have No Idea


When I became a new mother, I was baffled by the amount of questions I received; I expected to be the one with the questions. I’d just met this new little guy and suddenly everyone asked me questions as if we were lifelong buds and I knew all his likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, resume and shoe size. As much as he was brand new, so was I. I didn’t know how to answer these questions. I didn’t know him yet! New motherhood is an extremely quick learning curve, like being thrown into a PhD program with nary a high school diploma. These are some of the questions I experienced and the answer is always the same:  I have no idea.

Does he always do that?

I have no idea. Isn’t two weeks too soon to say always? Because that’s his age.

Why is he crying?

I have no idea. He could be hungry, wet, poopy, gassy, angry, tired, bored, frustrated, or worried about his tax return. You’ll have to ask him. The one thing I know for certain is that he’s not happy.


Does he usually sleep this long?

I have no idea.  I haven’t slept more than three hours at a time in five weeks.  Sometimes he sleeps great; sometimes he naps for thirty minutes and makes me want to cry.  (Or actually cry.)  It’s the unpredictability that gets to me.

How many pees/poos does he have in a day?

I have no idea. The doctor or nurse asked this every single time we went to the doctor. How do I keep track of what happens south of the equator with this little poop/pee machine? Do people change them every time they pee a thimbleful? We’d go through a box of diapers a day at that rate.

Does he pull at his ear? Why do you suspect an infection?

I have no idea. He’s screaming and he had a cold. But it could be his teeth. Or he could just have gas. He’s a baby. He can’t tell me.

Has he rolled over/crawled/walked/graduated yet?

I have no idea. Wait. Is he supposed to? What does Google say?

Should you change him before or after he eats?

I have no idea. Sometimes I do change him and he poops midway through the bottle and then I change him and he poops again when he’s done. Sometimes I don’t change him and he doesn’t poop at all. Sometimes I don’t change him and then he blows out his already semi-full diaper. It’s a crap shoot. (See what I did there?)

How much does he eat in a day?

I have no idea. This question was asked every time I went to the doctor for a well visit.  I learned how to answer, but the first few times I would frantically try to do math in my head and then usually just say something like, “He eats 3-4 ounces (or 5-6 ounces, or 7-8 ounces) 5-6 times a day.” Sometimes he ate a ton and other times not so much. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, there’s no gauge, no ounce markings on each breast to show how much has been consumed. I imagine you pretty much just guess.

These questions didn’t really annoy me, but did serve to show me how little I actually knew about keeping a tiny human alive.  We’re doing good so far, but it’s too soon to tell.  I still feel like a new mother.  Is there ever a time when you feel competent, like, “I’ve got this.  I know what I’m doing.  They might make it to adulthood.”?  I’ll let you know.

Related: As A New Mom, Whose Judgement Do I Fear The Most?

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I Have No Idea

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  • I’m 6 years and 3 kids into this adventure of motherhood, and I just roll with it. I’ve never bothered with counting diapers or feedings; I feed them when they’re hungry and change diapers when my younger two need new ones. No need to make parenting more complicated than it already is!

  • Yes! My son is about to hit 3 months and I still have no idea what I’m doing and now I’m going back to work so this should be tons of fun! Great read!

  • Thank you for this! I’m 32 weeks and last night my mom asked me what baby is going to wear!!!???? Whaaaaa??? I. Have. No. Idea. I’ve registered for every length of sleeve & weight of onesie that exists. We’ll just have to see what she likes….OMG.

  • Five time mom here. The answer is no. No, there is never a time when you feel like you’re competent and that “you’ve got this”.

  • Lol this did make my day as well, I have a 3mnth old and I can remember when he was brand new and the questions came pouring in and I would be dumb struck ? Lol
    Why does the smart world think they are all some sort of genius/doctor?? If I need your advice I’ll ask or google as you said hehe
    At the end of the day the fact that I made it through the day is all that mattered for me

  • I’ve definitely been asked the “does he usually do this” question within first two weeks, to which I give a confused and pointed look, and say “usually? In all (x) weeks of his life?” which usually produces a chuckle, and less judgment 🙂

    Regarding reporting how much baby eats/poops, I’ve learned to give a very vague answer that sounds consistent with what babies that age should do, assuming I’m not concerned. Since I breastfeed, it’s even easier. “Oh, he nurses every 2-3 hours.” If doctor presses, I’ll say “for 10-15 minutes” but my babies eat very fast, so it’s more like 5, but I don’t say that, as long as they’re growing fine. Pediatricians just want to know if you have concerns, and if you don’t, then great! Regarding diapers, I usually try to remember if baby needs a change approximately after every feed or every few feeds, etc.

  • Oh man, I needed this today. My little 3 week old is a nightmare child today! It’s all part of his plan to bend me to his will, I think 😉 Sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to have him figured out already. Thank you for the smile and reminder that parenthood (especially for us FTMs) is a process.

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