Monday, July 16, 2007

Why does Mommy smell?

Also known as "when the heck am I ever going to get a shower?!"

It's the cry of the new mother. The first time mother with a newborn baby who can't seem to get into the bathroom to brush her teeth until noon and can't get a shower until Hubby arrives home sometime after 5pm. I've been there. Boy oh boy have I been there.

Here's the rub.... We wear our stink as a badge of honor; a sign to all that we are working tirelessly; scum on our skin signifies our dedication to the sometimes silent babe in our arms. One more reason to bemoan our Super Mom status - leaking breasts, no shower, no sleep, baby who cries the moment we even think of walking out of the room to go pee. You get my drift.

During the course of random blog surfing at six a.m. after a night of insomnia, I came across Heather's blog, Moncks Corner Moments and her vent: The New Mom Shower Myth. She's tired of hearing the collective whine of new mothers who can't seem to get a shower.

So. For all of you out there who can't find a way to hop in the shower, let me offer some tips and advice:
  • Bathe together. It is entirely possible to take a shower while your newborn is in there with you, although shower stalls might make it a bit more difficult. Let's assume you're using a tub, m'kay? You have a few options: Lay the baby on a foam bath helper thingy, bring the bouncy seat into the tub sans the electronic gadgets, hold the baby while you scrub (this is a very difficult and potentially dangerous choice because slippery babies are also squirmy babies so be careful! Try putting a washcloth between you and the baby for added traction.), if the baby is holding its head up, plop the critter in a Bumbo.
  • Nap time == clean time. This is the one instance of "nap when the baby naps" advice is not the best choice. If your baby takes a nap in the morning, get your booty under the shower spray the second you hear those soft little snores. Do. Not. Wait. Go right away! RUN, do not walk, to the shower and suds up quick, quick, quick. Sure as you decide to take 10 minutes to check email, that baby is going to wake up.
  • Bring the baby into the bathroom. That's right, bring the baby into the bathroom and prop him up in a Bumbo, bouncy chair, swing, whatever. Heck, bring the pack-n-play in it it'll fit! You might have to leave the shower curtain open so the baby can see you or invest in a clear liner, but you won't have to wait for an elusive naptime to get a shower.
  • It's okay to cry. Please, Attachment Parenting advocates, please do not stone me. I hate, hate hearing my child cry. But sometimes, it's more important to have a sane mommy than a crazy mommy with a child who isn't crying. If you can master the art of the 3 minute shower, you will feel miraculous once you emerge clean and are able to snuggle your sweet baby. Personally, this is a last resort for me but sometimes it just has to happen.
  • Toys! For older babies, keep a basket of toys in the bathroom that are only in that room. Set your wee one on the floor and let her discover this hidden treasure while you clean up. My daughter has come to love the bathroom toys. It's also a great time to play peekaboo with the shower curtain. But be sure, absolutely, positively sure that your bathroom is safe. This means, nothing on the floor that could hurt the baby, locks on the cabinets, locks on the toilet, nothing that can be pulled over and fall on the baby (like a hamper or towel rack). BE SAFE!
I know these things seem like common sense, but honestly half of them didn't occur to me until someone else (.... er... my husband... ) suggested them to me.

If you see a put-together mommy out and about, stop her and ask her how she does it. I promise you that you'll make her day and I bet you'll learn something too!

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