|Gabe watches Max for me so I can shower. Woo hoo!|
Just try to brush your teeth at least once a day.
Among the things to which women address that depressing question -- "Why didn't anyone tell me about this part?" -- is how personal hygiene goes out the window once you bring home a newborn and you are alone with him for most of the day.
Days all run together anyway as you are up every two hours around the clock for feedings, so you you may not even notice you haven't showered for three of them. Other people in the house may, but they had better be too polite to mention it.
You might be lucky and have a baby who is a sound sleeper for stretches long enough to even shave your legs, but otherwise you can bathe only if you have another person who can tend to the baby's needs for 20 minutes. Especially if you have to bring into the shower with you the magic milk jugs that are his sole source of sustenance.
It's not that you are Pig Pen from a "Charlie Brown" cartoon. It's just that when 20-or-more-minute stretches come around, you tend to put other priorities ahead of your own. You first do the things that will affect other living beings in your home, like prepare a family meal or sweep a floor or pay the electric bill. Before you know it, all of the baby's calm, content, self-soothed stretches for the day have gone by and you're still in your nightgown. Might as well just stay in it and go to bed for the precious few hours of sleep you'll get.
Go a fourth day without showering, and you will be affecting others at that point, so drag a bouncy chair into the bathroom, let the baby cry in it, and wash your hair and your dirtiest bits as quickly as you can.
A quick fix is to bogart your baby's wet wipes during a diaper change. If he hates having his diaper changed, you're out of luck, but if he will pleasantly lie on the changing table for an extra moment, you can make goo-goo sounds at him while you surreptitiously swipe under your arms and other places. Don't do this past the development of long-term memory, or you'll be paying for his therapy couch.
What will make a tremendous difference in your day is a crisp minty brushing of your teeth. A clean mouth makes you feel clean all over. If you can manage to drag a comb through your hair and get a few passes of a deodorant stick, you'll be ahead of the game.
Brushing your teeth is good thing because it is a task you can do fully dressed and with one hand -- a most important skill for a new mother because the baby will be in the other hand most of your day.
I've learned to do several things with one hand, including:
- Write a blog post.
- Send a text on my phone.
- Fill the dogs' food and water bowls. (My elephant-shaped watering can works wonders.)
- Transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer. (This sometimes requires a foot to pick up dropped items from the floor.)
- Assemble, use and wash breast pump parts.
- Make my breakfast and lunch.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go brush my teeth. I taste raisin bran and guacamole. Ick.