new parents with baby
New Mom Parenthood Stories

8 Signs You've "Arrived" as a Mom

By Liz Faria

As a new mother, it’s impossible not to watch more experienced moms (read: any mom with a baby at least 6 weeks older than your baby) and feel a tinge of envy. How is she doing that {insert whatever random and not very impressive task she is doing} with such ease!?? Why do I look like such a rank amateur when all these other moms have it so together?

This is the question plaguing us all. Some of us are also plagued by mastitis and the question of what in the world is thrush, but that’s not the point. The point is: someday you will be the experienced mom of a baby who is at least 6 weeks older than someone else’s baby, and people will be looking up to you as the “experienced parent.” How, then, can you tell when you have “arrived,” so to speak, as a hip new mom who has her act together? Let’s take a look.

1. You successfully navigate Trader Joe’s while wearing your baby in an Ergo, Beco, or other such hip and fancy baby carrier.

You are NOT toting your little one around in his car seat, canned soups perched precariously on top of his head.  You are NOT asking passers-by how to fit said car seat into the carriage. Why? Because YOU are an experienced and cool mom who has her act together, that’s why! You float through the grocery store, a veritable moving portrait of with-it-ness. You make confident eye contact with the other with-it moms who are also wearing their babies. Yes, your eyes say, we both TOTALLY know what we’re doing here. Your eyes also say “I’d love to meet you for a playdate at which our babies, who are too young to socialize, eat their own toes while we talk about the trials of breastfeeding.”

2. You know where the most important sh*t in your diaper bag is.

Like, the diapers and the wipes. Also, those items are actually in your bag when you need them, versus, say, your lipgloss and a People magazine being handy. Not having the key items when your 3 month old is peeing all over his own face in the changing room at buybuy Baby just makes you look clueless. Not that I would know. Except that I would totally know because, you guys, that was my son Nolan and me. You have arrived if you are the mom who knows that if you thought you’d need 2 changes of clothes you’ll actually need 11.

3. You can put on your baby’s diaper while talking on the phone.

For the first few weeks, diaper changing will require your full concentration. You will be covered in fecal matter even WITH your full concentration, so you can only imagine what would happen if you were to be distracted.

I suffered an early defeat in this realm at the pediatrician’s office. I panicked when I was told by the nurse that it was time to put Nolan’s diaper on after his exam. I tried to act cool, like the mother of a 6 week old and not of a 2 week old, but my nerves got the best of me. Flustered, knowing that I was being watched and judged, I fumbled the diaper and put it on backwards. My husband Brian, of course, knew I botched this most simple of tests, but he did not want to intervene with the nurse in the room. That ship was sinking alone.

Once you have “arrived” you will have the contours of the diaper memorized. YOU will be a diaper prodigy. You can even take a phone call during this task. You will probably still be covered in feces, especially if you just started your baby on carrots. But, let’s be honest, your baby’s bright orange and kinda solid poop also screams of experience. It’s not that runny bullshit from the first 2 months.

4. You can breastfeed semi-discreetly.

Please do not confuse this with moms who nurse their babies IN the baby carriers while walking around – we are not shooting for that level of skill.

For the first two weeks of my baby’s life I was never NOT topless. Not because I had some hippy-mom vision of myself, but because I could NOT control my boobs and the baby at once. A shirt added a layer of complexity to the equation that I couldn’t fathom dealing with.

5.  You can perform high stakes tasks on your baby such as taking a rectal temperature and cutting his nails.

Both tasks hold for new moms the fear of destroying their precious cargo. The rectal is really easy in reality, but let’s be honest – nobody wants to be the first one to stick anything into the great beyond of their baby’s nether regions. It’s probably how Lewis and Clark felt at some point. And the nails? As my husband once told me post-early cutting attempt, “The baby’s onesie looks like a crime scene.” But once you are an experienced and with-it mother, you can shove the thermometer right on up the old behind if your baby so much as looks warm. And you can cut those nails with garden shears. {note: Hip moms don’t use garden shears. That was just a joke. Please keep your shears in the shed and away from your baby, he/she still has very tiny hands}.

6. You can deftly manage a swaddle.

Prior to our baby’s birth, my husband and I spent hours studying the nuances of swaddling our baby. We practiced using the fancy aden + anais blankets that are roughly the size of picnic blankets. We practiced on a teddy bear while following along with YouTube videos. We totally dominated that teddy bear, and then we had a baby and realized that we did not have the patience or need to do high-end origami designs on our little meatball. So now we use velcro swaddles. Done and done. *In this category you are probably “hipper” if you use the aden + anais picnic blankets. But velcro is really easy. You will have to make a judgment call.

7. You can carry the baby in your arms alongside other less precious items, say a laptop or basketball or, if you are super experienced, a mini fridge.

When you first have your baby you think that carrying him anywhere is a task as delicate as neurosurgery. What if you trip? What if your baby falls from your arms? What could go wrong? You know you’ve “arrived” if you can manage to get to a mommy group with your baby in one hand and your Dunks coffee, keys and purse in the other. You don’t need to bring your lawnmower to prove your point.

8. It does not require you, your significant other, and a backup pit crew to bathe your baby.

You have arrived as a mom when you can manage the bath solo. There is a caveat to this, which is that your baby needs to actually get clean. It doesn’t count if he’s just sort of splashes and marinates in his own filth.

new parents giving a baby a bath

It was a great idea to document this early bath because as you see this angle is flattering. We will DEFINITELY want to have this view years from now.

So, new moms, if you meet the above criteria you have officially arrived!

You know what you are doing, at least as compared to the mother of a newborn! Congratulations! Now, of course, I think we are all clear that we have no idea what in the hell we’re doing as compared to actually experienced parents of grown children, but that’s beside the point. For now.

Related: Breastfeeding in the First Week – 4 Things You’ll Be Glad You Knew

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