YO MAMA: How you should 'actually' prepare for life with a newborn
Here are 15 'very serious' tips for the new mother:
1. Begin by practicing the art of staying awake for long stretches of time at night. Set an alarm at strange intervals — one hour, 30 minutes, three hours, 15 minutes — and practise getting up without uttering any curse words. You may want to use a stuffed animal to rehearse picking up your baby and not dropping it on the floor in your semi-comatose state. For full effect, place an array of burp cloths, books, dirty dishes and a breast pump on the floor and try navigating the obstacle course in the dark.
2. Once your nighttime training is well underway, begin a weight training program during the day that will allow you to withstand hours of holding and rocking your new baby. You will be strengthening back, shoulder and neck muscles you have probably never used before. A sack of flour tossed over your shoulder makes for an effective training tool. Carry it with you as you go through your day (bonus: you will also gain the crucial skill of doing things one-handed!)
3. Buy a hydration pack and wear it 24/7. Not only will it help strengthen your back muscles, it will be the only way you have time/ remember to drink water after the baby arrives.
4. Redecorate your home. Diapers will be your main accent piece here. Ideally, you will have them stashed throughout the entire house for emergency situations. Place one wherever you think it would look good: on the coffee table, bookshelf, windowsill — you can’t go wrong!
5. Start learning the words to some appropriate lullabies now so your sleep-deprived brain doesn’t leave you singing old hits from the Spice Girls to your baby.
6. Create a primo Netflix watch list for when your baby will only contact-nap and you are held hostage on the couch for 8-10 hours a day.
7. Routinely spill a glass of milk on yourself, the couch, and your bed. Attempt to clean it all up while holding a small pet in the crook of your arm.
8. Start interrogating your partner with questions like “have you pooped yet?” After he does, clap your hands enthusiastically and yell “good job, buddy!”
9. Go to the dentist and ask for a really thorough cleaning. You will not be brushing your teeth for some time. (Silver lining: you won’t have any staining from coffee and wine!)
10. Begin phasing out showering. Give your hair time to adjust to less frequent hair washings. Or, go for a Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta-look and just shave it all off. Your baby will pull it out anyways.
11. Make a nice dinner for yourself. Leave it on the counter to get cold. Eat it while holding your sack of flour in one arm and make sure to spill at least half of it on yourself.
12. Make a recording of a bleating goat and play it while getting ready in the morning, on your commute to work, and during dinner. Note: crank your volume all the way up. Practise tip #4 at the same time.
13. Smear peanut butter all over the reusable diapers you plan on using. Practice rinsing them out in the toilet before throwing them in the wash.
14. Invite both sides of your family over and offer to do their laundry every day until the baby comes. In between washes, dump a jug of sour milk all over the clothing and run it again 15 minutes after you folded it.
15. Practice making strange and irrational accusations at your partner, like “why don’t your nipples work?” or “why can’t you just stay at home with me forever?”
— Charlotte Helston gave birth to her first child, a rambunctious little boy, in the spring of 2021. Yo Mama is her weekly reflection on the wild, exhilarating, beautiful, messy, awe-inspiring journey of parenthood.
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