When you're expecting, you are bombarded with advice on everything from where to deliver the baby, when to go to the chosen birthing location and how to have a pain-free birth (what a crock of s@#t that is), to what color to paint the nursery and the number of onesies to include in your layette. While M was incubating, I eagerly sought out Top 10 [insert baby item here] lists so my bundle of joy could have the best of everything. Friends rallied to the call and overwhelmed my inbox with names and prices of things to buy for the new babe. Magazines, parenting websites, and stores had recommended buy after recommended buy to ponder. I pored through the lists, made my selections, and after countless trips to Toys R Us and Walmart, thought I was totally prepared. Once M came home, I realized that she was all set, but I was not. Sadly absent in all my research were new mom must haves; according to my prenatal class manual, the only things I would need in the early postpartum days were ice pads, stool softeners and personal cleansing bottles.
Since new mom essentials lists have either been compiled by men or childless women, and are as comprehensive as someone giving you the bird when you ask for directions, I have drafted a list of Super Cranky Really Exhausted Witchy Emotional Deranged (SCREWED) New Mom must haves. Someone should pay me for this. Really.
SCREWED New Mom Must Haves
- Mouthwash and a Waterpik flosser: I thought my mommy friends were disgusting when they said they were lucky to brush their teeth once a day after baby and were like, "Floss, what's that?" Speculating how gargantuan the bacterial colonies in their mouths were (can they grow cheese in there?) gave me goosebumps. Of course, I judged too soon - four days after M's birth, K went back to work, and more often than not in those first few weeks, when he got home, I was still in my PJs, and hadn't eaten or brushed my teeth. Mouthwash made me feel I was somewhat keeping ahead of the tooth and mouth critters.
- Dry Shampoo: Gone are the days of daily showers and leisurely hair washing. Shower when baby sleeps? Ha! Your sleeping baby will either a) wake up screaming the minute you lather up, or b) fail to stir when you turn on the water and end up awake and screaming because you will dash out of the shower to see if she's breathing, trip on your feet because your belly is still so big you can't see your feet and bump into the crib cussing. Either way, you're screwed. By coordinating with friends and family, you may be able to schedule one or two hair washes a week (but don't plan on it). Dry shampoo will be your dirty little secret. It will help you look presentable when guests drop-in, and drop-in they will because you made a little person.
- Vacuum cleaner, mop and broom: Of course you already have one of each, but take a close look at them. Are they so wonderful you would marry them? They should be because you'll spend more time with them than your baby daddy. Time to upgrade (the cleaning tools, not your man).
- Ben Wa balls: Kegels will never be the same! Use them while vacuuming with your ridiculously expensive Dyson vacuum. If you don't know why you should kegel, see The Kegel Mantra.
- Heavy duty hand cream & Polysporin: You will wash your hands more often than any chef, surgeon or esthetician and get cracked man hands if you aren't careful. Take care of your hands. It scares the kids when Mommy drips blood on their toys (been there, done that).
- Mom Uniforms: You will be hating your maternity wear even thought it's the only stuff that fits at first. Splurge on some cute accessories until you feel ready to buy some new clothes then choose carefully so you don't look like a disillusioned fatty desperately trying to channel Britney Spears.
- Spanx: A look good and feel good item. There's something about not having lumps and bumps in the wrong places that makes you feel pretty again.
- Take out menus, fast food coupons, or frozen food: Yeah, yeah, you eat special food, only organic, nothing processed, no white flour or sugar, blah, blah, blah. I was kind of like that before (only the organic part, I love sugar and white bread!) but when you have no time to cook, crappy food is better than no food. Do you think the starving kids in Ethiopia would turn down chicken nuggets and fries?
- Large capacity washer and dryer: Get a bigger washer and dryer asap. You say you don't mind doing laundry now, but when you do a load a day and still have heaps of dirty clothes on the floor, you will be wishing you spent the time to research a large capacity washer and dryer before baby arrived. I was fooled into thinking all those itty bitty baby clothes couldn't possibly add up to much, but the reality is that my spat-up on clothes fill up the machine.
- Valium: This is probably contraindicated with breast-feeding so substitute with a good sense of humour and/or wine.
- Spa gift certificates: Book a massage because you know what happens when you ask your man for one (half-ass rubdown to get in your pants sound familiar?). You don't want to get pregnant again right away do you? If you're not in need of a massage, use the spa treat for waxing because goodness knows the last time you shaved or waxed if you don't have time to even brush your teeth.
- Cleaning lady vouchers: You know someone loves you if they pay someone to clean your house! Not having to stress about mess is priceless.
- P&G shares: I'm certain every baby born raises the share price - just think of all the diapers, diaper cream, detergent, baby soap, wipes, etc.