I was originally going to title this post “re-education” until I remembered that the term is often used as a euphemism for brainwashing.
Having a baby forces you to learn a host of new things. First of all, you have to learn how to FEED your baby, which is no simple task! And once your nipples have stopped bleeding and have turned to leather, you need to learn how to SLEEP your baby. And then there are the twenty or so diapers a day you will need to become a master at changing – quickly enough to avoid being hit with a stream of urine or poop. Being a first-time mother requires on-the-job training in a bleary-eyed world where you are lucky if you can get two consecutive hours of sleep at a time in those first weeks. And don’t waste your time reading any parenting books, because I guarantee you will not remember any of it once your baby is born. In fact, I recommend tossing all of those books out the window, or at least storing them away until you are getting at least enough sleep to be able to synthesize material. I must have read the same chapter in a sleep training book at least 20 times in those first six weeks, and I thought I was reading a foreign language.
What I did not realize was that I would need to re-learn so many things once I had a baby.
I did not know that I would need to learn how to train myself on how to sleep without jumping out of bed and waking up to every tiny sound just to make sure my baby was still alive and breathing. Or learn when and how much to eat so that I wouldn’t wake up starving at 3 AM because breastfeeding will do that to you! Or learn how to steam treat my ass without burning it (i.e. a sitz bath). Or learn how to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, which is probably one of those things you’ll want to learn quickly so you do not officially lose your mind. I was close.
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. So according to Gladwell, I’m about 25% of the way there. Maybe by baby’s first birthday, I’ll begin to feel like I can do this mom thing . . . or something that resembles doing this mom thing.
These days I’m beginning to feel like the fog is lifting, and though there are still some sleepless nights I am able to enjoy my Miss Sassafras more each day.
“Love is wonderful thing / Make ya smile through the pouring rain.” – Michael Bolton