Dear new mom,
Your sweet, snuggly baby is now in the world, congratulations! She’s perfect. Little fingers, little toes. You could nuzzle her fuzzy head all day long.
You know by now everyone has advice for you. Some of it’s good. Some of it you know in your heart of hearts is complete crap. But you take it all in. These are the moments to cherish.
So, here I am annoyingly giving you one more piece of advice. However, this may be the most honest and important advice you will receive. Something no one told me.
Find somewhere that is all your own where you can hide.
Somewhere quiet, with a door. Somewhere you can stash People magazine, a can of frosting or bottle of wine, and for even two minutes your family can’t find you.
You’re probably reading this thinking, “She’s crazy and full of sad resentment toward her children and family.” No. That’s not true at all. I love my family. I love my children more than I could have ever imagined. But they need me—your baby will need you—ALL. THE. TIME. You will never have a break. And eventually, this will drive you crazy.
Your house will soon be filled with the constant sounds of “mom, mom, MOM!” yelled from across the house for no apparent reason. You will be in the middle of any phone call or conversation with another adult, and someone will pull on you to ask to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW! Your shower will no longer be a sacred place but will be an open house for anyone in the family to walk in asking why there is no orange juice in the refrigerator. You’ll have a day you feel like Wonder Woman because, after a decade, you’ve finally got this mom thing down, but within an hour everyone in your house will be melting down. Including you and the dog.
Believe me, you need a place where you can shut the door.
Find yourself a closet, the pantry, a bathroom. It’s really best if this is a location no one really wants to go in. Somewhere with cleaning supplies is ideal. I won’t disclose where my location is in our home, because if I do the universe will reveal it to the small people living in my house, and I will have to find a new hideout. But I will say my husband knows when he finds me there, spoon in hand, deep in the jar of Nutella, he knows mom needs a minute.
This will become your favorite place in the house. It may become the only place you can shut the door and cry a few self-pity tears now and then. It will be the only place you can online shop in peace, this I guarantee. And it is yours. Like one big game of hide-and-seek, you will stow away for just a few moments. You will hear your children fighting down the hall, but you will close your eyes and ignore them. This is your happy place. And they can’t find you.
You will emerge ready to take on the world again. Refreshed and resilient, you will rejoin your family. You will hug your babies and forget why you had to hide in the first place. Until tomorrow when the dog throws up on the carpet, and the kids argue about who gets to control the remote. You might want to consider a door with a lock.
Previously published on the author’s blog