8 Signs You’ve “Arrived” as a Mom

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: some day 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 carseat, 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.”

My hair and face do not say

My hair and face do not say “I’ve arrived.” You know it and I know it. But baby Nolan, he looks pretty hip.

You may also achieve hip new mom status by shopping at Whole Foods with your baby, even if the baby IS in her carseat. That’s because you got extra points for being at Whole Foods. You may never achieve this status at Walmart, because at Walmart you will just look like a jackass using your Ergo. That being said, Walmart has really great deals, so probably you and I should just go there.

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 Buy Buy 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. The old you would be 9 outfits short. Not the new you. The new with-it you could outfit the Duggars.

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. I just mean you can breastfeed in front of others without creating an entirely ridiculous scene straight from the pages of National Geographic.

Please note that I am actually topless in this photo. Yes, I am wearing a cover, but I am now aware that I was still supposed to be wearing a shirt. Please note that I am actually topless in this photo. Yes, I am wearing a cover, but I am now aware that I was still supposed to be wearing a shirt.

For the first two weeks of Nolan’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 Brian once told me post-early cutting attempt, “Nolan’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 Nolan’s birth, Brian and I spent hours studying the nuances of swaddling our baby. We practiced using the fancy Aden and Anais blankets that are roughly the size of picnic blankets. We practiced on a teddy bear while following along with You Tube 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 just sort of splashes and marinates in his own filth.

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.

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 actual experienced parents of grown children, but that’s beside the point. For now.

{Author’s note: Earlier I mentioned the rare breed of new mom who can breastfeed her baby IN the carrier (Moby, Ergo, Crafty Handmade Woven Number, etc). You ladies, if by some chance you are reading this blog and not a much cooler blog like Girls Gone Child, are in an ENTIRELY different category. You are the Usain Bolts of new motherhood.  You should only set up your play dates with Angelina Jolie, because she is on your level. Everyone else reading this: NEVER compare yourself to this breed of new mother. You can only lose. If you pass this mother at Trader Joe’s keep your eyes on the prepared foods and $4 bottles of wine.}

Related: Breastfeeding in the First Week – 4 Things You’ll Be Glad You Knew
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  • So true !! You will get the gang of it very quickly !! My kids are grown, but I remember it like yesterday .. Except Ergo’s & Swaddlers weren’t around so we had to manage the huge car seat along with baby and huge diaper bag .. Lots of lessons learned .. And our babies all survived it !! Rock on Mamas !!!

  • Early on, I accidentally fed in a Moby by virtue of a) being topless and b) having a deft, opportunistic, and hungry baby.

  • I had your opinion of nursing in a carrier until I tried it. Definitely not for floppy-headed newborn stage, but once the head is held up independently it makes life SO much easier! I’m a first-time mom and the first time I nursed in a carrier I was mini-golfing and I even managed a decent score! I wanted to live life as normally as possible with a baby and this was an early test; I didn’t want to be the boring one sitting on a bench nursing so I flung the cover over the carrier, latched her on and kept putting. I’ve now nursed while casting a fishing rod at a lake, in church, shopping, while dog-walking, etc. Might help that my baby (now 8.5 months and still nursing frequently in the carrier) has a vice-like grip when sucking so she’s not falling off and spraying milk everywhere while I walk around.

  • I feel awesome! Except for #3 (I haven’t taken a phone call during a diaper change) I have achieved everything on the list by week 4!!! My friends really helped me with babywearing from day 1 so I was able to learn and do things like breastfeeding in carriers and ring slings. that came really handy when I took my newborn baby to mommy&baby movie nights… and my baby loves baths so that made things easy for me but now that duty is daddy’s. I laughed out loud at Whole Foods comment because I was just there yesterday wearing my baby in one of many carriers and was just thinking about Omg thank god for babywearing. I don’t ever use a stroller (it’s actually in daddy’s car permanently) and carrying my baby in a carseat was out of the question because I couldn’t lift it let alone carrying it without swinging my baby everywhere. 😀

  • I suppose I don’t get the points… mainly because I have been a daycare worker/nanny/babysitter since I was 12. XP I mastered the swaddle when I was 15. Necessity is a powerful motivator. I’ve been wearing my baby boy since the first trip into Walmart with his carseat when I discovered that it would take up the entire freaking cart. I don’t have a fancy ‘hip’ carrier though. Just a cheapie one from Target. I use a mini backpack for a diaper bag for shorter trips and I just take BB into the big bathtub with me. Playtime/bonding and I get to soak in warm water… infused with the essence of baby pee. sigh At least it’s sterile. Lol…

    • That’s me too! I’ve been babysitting/daycare worker/nannying since I was 12 also! Plus I have 4 younger siblings. I was good at being a mom before I was a mom. I have always wanted to be a mom and now that I am one officially, I feel so blessed to already know what I’m doing. It’s amazing! The best job in the world and I love it!

  • Love your articles! I am 4 weeks in on my first, and this provide some much needed comic relief to our sleepless frustrations and non-competent new parent thoughts. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world! ( :

  • Hilarious! I feel so validated. With my husband’s help positioning, I successfully breastfed my son through Costco in an Ergo. Best moment of my life. Also, no way am I bothering with that again. He’s the second kid. He can wait 30 minutes until we’re done.

  • This is awesome! I love it! I must say, I can nurse a baby while walking around, even painting walls on a ladder– but I still can’t manage a good swaddle. Maybe my kids are just too wiggly! =)

  • Love this, so funny! I remember feeling SO AWESOME after bathing my son, alone, for the first time. Also, my diaper bath the first two months weighed 20 pounds, I still couldn’t’ tell you what all I had in there, but now it is perfectly light and packed! Yay for babywearing too, makes grocery shopping so much easier!

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