Babies are cute. I think we can all agree on that. They have sweet, gummy smiles and sweet, chubby cheeks. Yes, babies are super cute, but this doesn’t mean that they are easy to live with. On the contrary – babies are like the worst roommates ever.
Being a new parent is hard. HARD. But everyone you meet will want to tell you how great it is and why you should appreciate it. They are blinded by your baby’s cuteness and oblivious to their challenges. But from one new parent to anther – this is way harder than anyone can tell you. You deserve a medal.
Here are four reasons I think new parents deserve a medal:
They never sleep:
Parents of babies are tired. SUPER tired. Chances are they can count the number of full nights of sleep on one hand. Chances are they will fall asleep while trying to do this task and have to start over.
While babies can never sleep and still be adorable, new parents cannot say the same. They are also probably angry, grumpy and perpetually looking for the thing they just put down. Being functional on no sleep means that your brain shuts down all non-essential brain areas. For example, you will still be able to eat, walk and move but will not be able to remember your spouse’s name or why you went into the kitchen. You will be able to remember all 400 verses to Wheels on the Bus, and every word to Goodnight Moon but absolutely nothing about your last conversation.
People will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, but it is not that simple. Unlike the baby, you probably also have tasks to accomplish during the day. Even if that wasn’t the case, the baby seems to have an uncanny ability to tell when you are sleeping and ruin it. They will sleep soundly while you do the dishes, but never while you decide to take a nap. Mean, right?
Some days it is almost like they are conditioning you to hate sleep. And it is working!! If every time you fell asleep you were jolted awake by a crying baby, you might have trouble falling asleep too.
If you are a new parent who has had a coherent conversation with no sleep, you deserve a medal.
They spend all day cleaning up other people’s bodily fluids:
First, it is not just new parents who do this kind of thing. Any nurses, caregivers, doctors, dentists, daycare and nursing home workers and anyone else who falls into this category also deserves a medal. (I would give you one, but I don’t really have any. Sorry.)
Every new parent probably has some horror story about changing a gross diaper. Or fifty. We have all been peed on while we change a diaper or had to clean up after a giant aPOOcalyptic diaper. Somehow, even though the baby eats almost nothing, they produce enough poop to fertilize 23 000 acres of farm field. Most of my conversations with my husband in those early parenting days were about poop because changing diapers is all we did. (See linked article for reference.)
It is not just the diaper changing, though this takes up a good portion of all new parent’s days. No, there is also the spit-up, drool, barf, ear wax and mysterious eye gunk to clean up. This only gets worse when the baby starts eating. Suddenly you will find yourself cleaning all sorts of things off the baby’s face and hair.
If you have cleaned poop off your baby’s back, clothing and the dog while the baby pees on your outfit, you deserve a medal.
Babies have no understanding of personal space:
Like none at all. If you are parent to a baby, you have probably spent way too much time being touched, smacked, chewed on or sat on. (Maybe before their birth too? I don’t know what you do in your spare time.) My baby spends most days sticking his hand in my mouth or eye randomly or running his finger along my eyelashes or trying to bite my shoulder. His newest hobby is looking like he is going to kiss me and then reaching in my mouth to scratch my gums. It is not enjoyable.
Being a new parent means you are basically lightly tortured all day long. Not only do have to endure it, but you have to stay pleasant while it is happening. My childless readers are probably thinking, “Why don’t you just get the baby to stop?” HAHAHAHAHA. Sure, I’ll give that a shot. Babies, while super good at figuring out how to get into everything, are surprisingly bad at understanding not to poke you in the eye.
In fact, over the last year I have entirely forgotten what it is like to have any personal space at all. I am starting to worry that when I return to work I will have completely lost my social skills. I will be like some kind of feral mom, sitting way too close to people and making funny noises for no reason.
If your baby spends most of their time pulling your hair, you deserve a medal.
They are probably bored:
Being at home with a baby can be great…for 45 minutes. After this amount of time, you will probably be bored to tears and need to leave the house. This is why you see so many moms walking around their neighbourhood or the mall. Sure, they are carrying a carton of milk, but they didn’t really need it. What drove them out of the house was boredom.
Why? Well, first, as cute as babies are, they are the worst conversationalists. After a year at home with a baby, I am so starved for adult conversation that I will talk to anyone. In the presence of other adults words just pour out of me like an unstoppable wave. It is getting so bad that the mailman drops my mail and sprints away.
Also, babies are not very fun. Sure, they will play games with you for a few minutes and do things that crack you up, but that is their highlight reel. Most of their day is spent doing things that are super boring to watch. For example, my baby’s hobbies are repeatedly opening cupboard doors, crawling in circles and smashing blocks together. If these things are not your idea of a good time, you will probably be bored.
If you have tried to replay an episode of your favourite show in your head while your baby endlessly stacks blocks, you deserve a medal.
Disclaimer: I do not have any actual medals to disperse. Sorry.