Home Decor Tips and Tricks for the New Mom

One cannot overstate the importance of having a clean, safe, beautiful environment for one’s baby. The new mother’s home must be filled with light, laughter, and a bunch of those inspirational art prints about how life is good in flip flops and families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a lot of nuts.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned about maintaining a gorgeous home. Remember, if your house is messy, it’s because you’re lazy. You should probably stop taking so much time for yourself.

1. Maintain a hygienic eating area

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This is of the utmost importance. Your baby cannot have certain foods at certain times, so you must control their eating environment to ensure nothing is cross-contaminated. Your baby cannot have peanut butter either before one year or four months or seven months. Your baby should start with purees or chunks of whole, steamed food if you are eating them also. Your baby should not have grains, but pulverized rice is a great first meal for your baby. Your baby will love the first food of mashed banana! But your baby should not eat banana because it may cause constipation. Your baby should not have whole milk before age 1 but should have whole milk at 9 months.

Bonus Tip: Do not let your baby lick the dog hair off their own feet or eat puffs off the floor that might be there from yesterday. Or the day before that.

2. Organize, organize, organize

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Organization is the key to efficiency! Place all baby bath items in a secure, organic, all natural, grass-fed, local, secure area. They should be organized alphabetically, by number of stores you had to search to find that product you saw on Jessica Alba’s Instagram last night at 3am when you decided you were a horrible mother.

3. Maintain a beautiful sanctuary for love-making

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Because you’ll want to keep your partner satisfied immediately after the birth of your child, be sure to cultivate a sexy area in your home. This area should not scream, “Get the FUCK away from my boobs,” or “I AM SLEEPING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.”

Bonus tip: You should probably also wear a thong after, or during, birth. For sex appeal.

4. Fill your home with inspiring, seasonal decor

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Teach your baby to count with tiny autumnal gourds, which you will dispose of before they are rotting and overtaken by horrific mold. Buy and decorate a beautiful Christmas tree, and then don’t leave it up until March.

Bonus tip: In your bountiful free time, try your hand at some DIY! Use Pinterest to find inspiration for unique nursery decor.

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Happy house-cleaning!

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19 Things I Said I’d Never Do Which I Did Within 3 Months of Becoming a Mom

  1. Think that 5 am is a reasonable time of day to get up

  2. Consider a sweatsuit to be a practical, flattering outfit

  3. Own 3 strollers, because they all serve very different purposes, ok?

  4. Have someone else’s poop touch my body and not run screaming into a bathtub full of Lysol

  5. Consider four hours of sleep in a row to be “a real improvement”

  6. Sing Daniel Tiger songs in the shower, and occasionally hum them in public

  7. Have an Instagram feed of entirely pictures of a bald wrinkly blob with eyes

  8. Let a human being drag their hands around on the floor gathering dog hair tumbleweeds and then stick them in my mouth

  9. Memorize a mental checklist of 47 things I need every single time I leave the house

  10. Bite a black bean in half and feed it to someone

  11. Have porn star boobs

  12. Join a bunch of Facebook groups and participate in thoughtful discussions about what kind of rash that is

  13. Get peed on

  14. Post photos to the internet of someone covered in disgusting foods and sauces

  15. Eat dinner in restaurants at 4:30pm

  16. Invent a song about a washcloth

  17. Go to Starbucks with barf in my hair

  18. Tweet a cute garbage can company

  19. Think that one hour alone with a book and a breadbasket is afterlife-level paradise

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A Letter to My 9 Month Old

Dear Lucy,

9 months and 6 days ago, I went for my last ultrasound. I was 41 weeks pregnant, so swollen and scared it was hard to walk, or sit, or lie down. I darkly, secretly hoped that some minor thing would be wrong, maybe I would have a little less fluid than they’d like, and they’d tell me to come in for induction. I was so tired of waiting for you. I was standing on the bridge between my old life and the new one, crushed by the weight of air, slumped from the burden of not knowing.

I was angry at my body for not even being able to do this one thing right. Why couldn’t you come on time? The mythology of a 40 week pregnancy held me captive, and made me feel all wrong. I weighed too much, worried too much, moved too little. I should’ve done more yoga, ate fewer scoops of casserole, done more squats. Instead, I sat at the dining room table all day alone. I asked people to send me poems. I collected them into a document called “Poems I Read While Waiting for You to be Born.”

I was lying loose from God. Strange is it not best

Beloved, in the New World, in this skinny life,

Intemperate with chance, my spirit quickens   
For the fall’s estate. In India, the half

Hour is the hour, we were like that then—
Jammed wrong & wrong in the diurnal

Mangy chambers of our carnall
Hearts, the rose robes rustling loose as velvet

Curtains at the stage prow, passing   
Into the strange salt air of an Indian

Ocean, hoarding kindling, heading   
West with hours, later than we might

Have known, counting tins of meats & oil left,   
If they should lose or last the night.

-by Lucia Brock-Broido, “Carnivorous”

After my ultrasound, your dad drove me to the indoor mall to pace between a Macy’s and the Gap. The midwife called and told me everything was perfect. I did not feel grateful. I was mad at you for already being stubborn. I sobbed outside the food court into your dad’s shirt.

The next day I got the call I longed for: they were going to induce. The next night I reported to the hospital, where I labored for 50 hours. You wouldn’t be born. At the end of it, they sliced my belly open and uprooted you.

The white light is artificial, and hygienic as heaven.
The microbes cannot survive it.
They are departing in their transparent garments, turned aside
From the scalpels and the rubber hands.

The blood is a sunset. I admire it.
I am up to my elbows in it, red and squeaking.
Still is seeps me up, it is not exhausted.

-by Sylvia Plath, from “The Surgeon At 2 A.M.”

Shaking on that cold stretcher, I tried to meditate to displace the fear. Paralyzed, with all of my insides out, I waited for so long to see your face for the first time in color.

I couldn’t move my arms, so they held your cheek up to mine. I gasped for breath, cried so hard I choked. I had you.

The surgery was a success; they removed my whole heart and handed it to me. We named it Lucy.

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Today, you are so much more than a slice of your mother. You have your own moods, your own language.

Everyday I want to scoop you up and hold you right where you used to be, but you don’t like to sit still anymore.

An ache will tighten
but not form.

Making impossible
even this upsurge of crows across our sightline.

The Mayans invented zero so as not to ignore even the gods
who wouldn’t carry their burdens.

Too slippery as prayer, too effortless
as longing.

-by Rusty Morrison, from “History of sleep”

At first, you were a shock. Feeding you every two hours, you bit down hard until I bled. I stopped sleeping. I kept granola bars next to my bed because I was always starving. I watched hours of TV and held you and hoped that you would stay asleep, or at least not cry. I loved you but I didn’t know what to do with you. I didn’t trust myself. How could I?

Now the weeks fly. You are not delicate.

You crawled quickly, and now you stand. You fall almost constantly, with a loud thud and no concern. You are tough, daring, fearless. You like to open drawers and pluck out their insides, knock down any tower of blocks or old tupperware we build, rip the Pat the Bunny book to shreds, with its old fashioned binding. You hate getting dressed and having your nose wiped. You made your own language, with a word that sounds a lot like “Mama,” which means “oh god please not this.” We have to work on that.

Every day you exhaust me, but every night when you’re asleep I miss you deeply. I look at pictures of you.

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Lucy, my love for you has cored me.

Every shred of my body and brain seems now to have been built so it could love you. I don’t know why I had all this physicality before. My hips were never useful until I learned how to perch you on one side, while you pull your knees up and use them to squeeze my middle. Certainly, my breasts never knew real work.

Before I had you, I almost never felt whole. I don’t have time for that kind of sentiment anymore, because my life is so full of you. The existential anguish was extinguished, replaced with the intricacies of your schedule, the feeling of your thin hair in my fingers, inexplicably blond. My mother said that would happen.

Thank you for teaching me about grace.

When the sparrows rise up for no apparent reason
And circle small and high against the pale vast sky,
What makes it so important?
As if my sadness was an endangered species;
As if my mood was a coastal wetlands area
In need of federal protection;
A place never intended for development,
Meant always to be useless.
This is what I left behind when I went forward.
When I feel good-for-nothing now,
I come back here to stand and look at it:
Wet and still like a footprint in the mud;
Hard to see inside the moving browns;
Lying low like an understanding.

-by Tony Hoagland, from “Grammar of Sparrows”

Love,

Mom

 

The Best Baby and Toddler Toys 2015 Are Actually Your Garbage

It’s that time of year, people; time to dump the meager contents of your wallets out at the nearest Target.

Your baby needs that brightly colored stuffed puppy with a dangle mirror and plastic chew ring attached at the ear, for her development. The mirror will teach your baby how to track images, crucial for future spy quests, and become attached emotionally to their own image, a natural precursor for your baby’s first selfie stick. The chew ring soothes aching gums, the byproduct of teething, and is made from organic, BPA-free, antibiotic and hormone free plastic that was melted down from the covers of Harvard graduate Physics textbooks (eco-friendly, 100% recycled). The puppy itself is handmade by The Coalition of Moms Better Than You For a Brighter Tomorrow, who want you to know that their children do not even know what a television is. Suggested retail is $249, but 5% of each sale goes directly to poor children in need of organic blueberries.

the patron saint of capitalism

the patron saint of capitalism

To save you the trouble of ruining your kids’ lives by buying the wrong thing, my team of highly trained bullshit analysts has tested all of this years hottest toys. Here are their findings:

1. Empty Water Bottle

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Empty water bottle is composed of several different types of plastic, and also occasionally paper. The label component contains several words, which will help familiarize your baby with language and the alphabet, essential for any budding linguist. The bottle’s ridged shape provides ample texture for tender mouths to explore. It’s small size makes it perfect for grasping, and will teach your future NBA star how to palm a basketball before their second birthday.

2. Deck of Cards in Empty Gelato Container

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This toy comes in two components, and must be assembled at home (this is an easy DIY- much less frustrating than 97% of all Pinterest projects, according to focus groups). Begin assembly by consuming an entire container of expensive gelato late at night in your sweatsuit, careful not to let any of it drip off your chin and onto the leaflet titled “Why You’re Doing it Wrong” that your pediatrician gave you. Wash empty container, fill with Deck of Cards, and screw on cap.

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The sound this toy makes when shaken will delight your child’s auditory pathways, giving them an early start on a lengthy and profitable career in music that you will micromanage. Prepare to weep tears of joy at their mesmerizing, critically acclaimed 2045 performance in the off- off- broadway hit, “Fuck You, Mom.”

3. Shoe That Doesn’t Fit Tied to Ribbon

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Shoe That Doesn’t Fit Tied to Ribbon was made by blind refugee orphans in a distant galaxy torn apart by apocalyptic hellfire. Proceeds from each purchase go towards donating gluten-free, 48-seed bread, California almonds, and syphilis-free water in Starbucks red cups to alien children in need of intergalactic school supplies. Don’t wait; call now.

4. Empty Box

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This delightful product is available in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Sign up on the company website to receive a monthly shipment of Empty Boxes via subscription, to keep your child entertained all year long.

Your child will learn about multiple shapes, materials, and textures. By holding this toy, they develop the neural pathways associated with the sensory phenomena of touch. Rotating this item in space displays a 3-dimensionality, which will trigger future dreams of an Ivy League degree in Engineering. Your child is destined to excel at model building, and may become a very famous architect.

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the crucial developmental phenomena of “play”

Give the gift of not ruining lives by getting the wrong thing this holiday season. Buying any unsuitable present could result in developmental delays, longterm substance abuse issues, type II diabetes, or hoarding.

Happy Holidays!

How to Make Other New Mom Friends

In 2013, Kyle and I were still living in an Upper East Side studio apartment, a 5th floor walk up over a sushi restaurant named after a brand of family sedan, approximately the size of an upper lip mole. We furnished it with an Ikea love seat, very small bed, and two bar stools. I went to bed early every night, the apartment still reeking of food, and Kyle would sit up on the Barbie couch and very quietly sip a Bud Light and try not to disturb me with his typing.

500 square feet would be a generous estimate

500 square feet would be a generous estimate

As romantic as it was to revel in the many smells that emanated from the miniature bathroom into our shared airspace, we saved up to buy ourselves some more room. We decided on Westchester, which offered a relatively quick ride to Manhattan and plenty of adorable towns where things like $7 pickles and steaming bowls of ramen could be sourced.

Until I got pregnant, we both commuted to the city for work. On weekends, we invited our friends to visit, hosting elaborate dinner parties. We didn’t make local friends because there was really no need; we were both still connected to our city roots.

Then pregnancy, then baby, and I found myself feeling very alone in a strange town, with no one to rely on for things like holding the baby for 10 minutes so I could shower. New motherhood feels incredibly isolating even when you haven’t moved: mothers who work full time all of a sudden have maternity leave to contend with (at least, I certainly hope so). You feel every single minute of the day tick by when you’re not sleeping, and a purple raisin baby is screaming and flailing in your face, and you doubt every instinct you have. My best friend in those early days was Google, who was also a very mighty enemy, frequently sending me into a panic spiral. Also, you probably have poop on your face.

Once I got myself together a little bit (because Lucy started sleeping for more than an hour in a row) and Lu lost her veil of newborn delicacy, we ventured out into the world, desperate for some compatriots.

Here’s what we learned about making new mom friends:

1. Storytime at the library is the epicenter of friendless new mom activity.

It’s like speed dating. As soon as your baby is old enough to swim in the germ pool, go to storytime. The very first time I went, I met two other women, both first time mothers with floppy little nuggets just like Lu. As you sit in storytime, awkwardly smiling while trying to remember the words to the itsy bitsy spider, shooting laserbeams of quiet desperation through your eyeballs at other women, remember that they are also half insane right now. You already have no dignity, because you definitely reek of baby barf, so just go talk to them.

please lick all of these disgusting toys individually. oh! good job.

please lick all of these disgusting toys individually. oh! good job.

The proper method of furthering the relationship without seeming like a potential stalker is to trade email addresses. You can then list a phone number in the email, if you wish. Always sign off with your name plus your baby’s name, because otherwise you will never, ever remember. You will probably confuse all the names anyway, and call many babies by the wrong names, but no one can blame you for this: you probably also are only wearing one shoe and have a booger on your eyebrow.

2. Go to every free introductory class.

Baby classes are hilarious, and also very ridiculous. There are all kinds of weird structured activities available for kids these days, and many offer classes for small babies, too. Many of these are outrageously expensive, but most offer the first class for free. Go to all the free classes, meet moms, revel in the ridiculousness, and then never return.

Yesterday, I needed something to do. It was veterans day and the libraries were closed, so I googled around and found: a baby gym. This gym offers classes once a week to babies under 10 months old for $850 per 6 months.

Apparently 6 months of baby gym time are worth more than my car.

Anyway, we went to the free session, and oh my god. The session started with Coach Claudia talking us through “baby stretches,” where you hold your baby’s legs and gently extend their “quads” and “hamstrings.” We did baby flips which apparently did something to the vestibular something in their inner ears. I’m not sure if the pseudoscience was included or cost extra.

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The highlight was the gym “free time,” where babies could explore their own routines, and by routines I mean crawling around licking stuff.

3. Reconnect with old friends who are new moms.

This one is sort of cheating, but it helps. You know all those people you lost touch with after high school? The ones who also have kids are very fun to reconnect with after you join their parental ranks. A digital support network is a big help on the days you can’t seem to leave the house, or need someone to remind you that you’re not doomed to spend an eternity in a blazing inferno of hellfire because you let the baby watch 15 minutes of Sesame Street so you could look at Instagrams and chug coffee in peace.

Love you, Sarah

Love you, Sarah

4. Maybe don’t wear embossed sweatpants and a leather baseball hat on your first mom meet up.

On the one hand, it’s a good gauge for who will truly understand your soul. On the other hand, it matters very little how much your new mom friends immediately understand your soul, because they will understand why your boob is hanging out of your shirt at a restaurant, or why you haven’t showered in 3 days, and that is more important.

Your new mom friends will not be your old college friends, the ones who know you inside and out, and remember staying up all night with you drinking 99 Bananas liquor and watching repeats of Friends while you eat a very large bag of bagels. While you were in a punk band, they were in a very good small town production of Fiddler on the Roof, or while you are a vegetarian, they might bake whole pig in a pit in their backyard. Maybe you’re an atheist, and they give it up to Jesus.

We can work with this. As different as everyone will be in your brand new ragtag team of sleep-deprived zombie moms, you need each other. These weirdos will become your closest allies, the ones who babysit for you at the very last minute because you desperately need help, who tell you how great you look when your eyeballs are about to fall out of your face, who don’t judge you for feeding your 8 month old nothing but white bread for lunch.

mm!

mm!

Find them. They’re out there, and they need you, too.