Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Good" mothers

As a first-time mom, I don't have a point of comparison for many things related to mothering. Sure, I've read the books and been around a lot of babies and kids, but I've never been the one primarily responsible for taking care of the little tike. As such, all of our "firsts" feel really monumental and with each one I realize how much I still have to learn. Last Sunday I took Caleb to church for the first time (he was seven weeks old) and spent all week mentally preparing for the outing.

Our church boundary lines changed the week Caleb was born, so I've never been to church with this group of people. It turns out there were six baby boys born in this ward (our church group) in the month of December and they're all within a couple weeks of each other.

While in the mother's lounge, which is actually a classroom with a big window in the door (referenced later), I learned several valuable lessons about what "good" mothers do...well, maybe it's not so much a "good/bad" thing as an "experienced/inexperienced" thing so here goes.

An "experienced" mom:
  • brings her baby to church before he's 7 weeks old thus avoiding the numerous greetings accompanied by the word "finally" (e.g. It's nice to FINALLY see you here; So glad you FINALLY decided to join us).
  • knows to be early to all of the meetings so she can sit somewhere with immediate access to an exit and not end up sandwiched in between poor, unsuspecting bystanders with the infant carrier wedged half-way under her chair making it very difficult to get her baby out of the carrier when he starts screaming a few minutes into the lesson.
  • knows to check the before-you-leave-the-house diaper to make sure it's secured snugly around her baby's legs thus avoiding leakage of the bowel movement occurring in the first ten minutes of church resulting in mustard-colored poop seeping all down his legs and soaking through his onesie and outfit.
  • knows to pack a spare outfit in her diaper bag (which I actually did), but also knows that the spare outfit will most likely be NEEDED so she doesn't pack the ugliest, thread-bare, hand-me-down outfit as the spare so her child actually looks presentable after the wardrobe change (which I DIDN'T do).
  • notices that there is a large trash can filled with poopy diapers just to the side of the changing station and knows better than to position the wipes container at her baby's feet thus avoiding having her baby kick the wipes container into the trashcan mid-diaper change and having to dig through the trash can to find the container while keeping one hand on her squirming baby to make sure he doesn't roll off the changing station onto the floor, or worse yet, into the trash can himself!
  • knows how to nurse discreetly even when sitting in a small room with a large window in the door thereby preventing indecent exposure to every man, woman, and child who happens to walk past the door.
  • combs her baby's hair before leaving the house.
So, I've chalked the drama of last Sunday up to inexperience and am looking forward to the many experiences which await me in this adventure we call motherhood.


nevadanista said...

Hahahaha! Good post!

Why doesn't someone cover the mother's lounge window? It sounds better than the Neil Rd mother's lounge though, which is actually a converted bathroom, complete with toilet (hidden by a curtain) and everything - A hated that lounge!

Anywho, sounds like it was wonderful first Sunday with baby initiation :) Good job on having at least his ugliest outfit along.

Greg and Sariah said...

Welcome to motherhood Jenny. It's wonderful. I always said when I didn't have kid- my kids will never be at Wal-Mart
- in high water sweatsthat don't match anything
- messy hair
- dirty face
-snotty nose
And well...I managae to do all of those EVERY time I go out. Oh the joys of a frantic mother. Glad to hear you are on board and experiencing the very best of it.

Nellie said...

Um, why do you have hand-me-down outfits yet? He's #1!? Just wondering. Also, even "experienced" moms have these same problems, trust me. Have fun tomorrow --

Camille said...

Yes, Nellie is right, even experienced moms deal with the same issues-You are a fabulous mother! We were really missing you guys this week when we had lots of fun ear issues with Talmage-Poor kid-Dave would have been much less intimidating than our ENT(who is actually really nice, just no David).

Quinn said...

Dads get it easy don't they. Don't worry, you'll learn much more quickly than David. I still have those kind of experiences with our 2 year old when my wife's not around.

J-Lo said...

Nellie, by hand-me-down I mean handed down from very generous mothers who have had several boys of their own and have imparted their left overs to us. I'm very grateful for them, but some are more than a little worn.

tiffany said...

Girl, i love the post. Just have to disagree with the first point. I think experience will teach you that a 'smart' mother returns to life at whatever pace works best for her and her family. And a great response to the 'finally' comments is, "I know, don't you wish you had the past few weeks 'off' of some of yoru 'sponsitilities?" That will at least give them some food for thought.

Kerri said...

I think I still do all of those things occasionally--must have seen those mama's on a good day :)

Sheri Willardson said...

He he-you just described my first motherhood/church experience perfectly! :) I still feel like I am completely clueless-but eventually, you kind of get the hang of things. If you are getting sleep, half the battle of motherhood is won.

Carol and Tyler said...

Now i understand why mom didn't go to church with Ali for like 2 years. That's one smart mama :)

Wish I could have seen the look on your face when the wipes got kicked in the poopy trash can!!! hahahahaa!!! Love ya!

Young Family said...

Oh Jenny, "good" mama's make it to church. Period. Occasionally looking cute. :)

Live and learn, soon you will be a pro and you will realize everyone else is winging it too!

P.S. Don't comb his hair. I like it spiky!

Noel said...

Funny Funny~! I remember a very similar experience my first week to church (which I believe was close to the 8 week mark, as well), with one minor change... Picture a MAN (one of the nerdy wierdos-- in there rocking his 3 year old daughter, who has no desire to be rocked.)

Melany said...

Freak Jenny! I'd forgotten how complex church was with a newborn, thanks for reminding me! Its a miracle we ever make it there and back some Sundays ha! Did baby really end up in the trash can? That is awesome=Sorry.

Jen H said...

Too funny! What better way to learn is there than to make a few oopsies on the way. :) I hope next week goes a little better. Plus by march you will be a Pro!!

Heather said...

Girl...we have all been there!!

AND, I don't think I ever got the "discreet" breastfeeding thing down. When I was in the mother's lounge I would "cover-up" once Hoyt was latched on, and if anyone had a problem with it...oh well!! :)

Emily said...

I enjoyed your last few posts. Your videos are so cute, Caleb is adorable. I love "new mother"'ll still have them with each new newborn. Have fun...hope you are still not waltzing at 11pm.

Shawn and Colette Mecham said...

Welcome to motherhood! All of this has happened to all of us and will most likely happen again with the next one the one time you think your are prepared for both but are not. I feel like I am never prepared.