When people told me there was nothing I could do to prepare myself for motherhood, I believed them. Biggest mistake! I continued reading pregnancy books and mommy blogs, religiously went to the antenatal classes, googled almost a hundred questions everyday related to pregnancy or motherhood… all while naively believing that nothing could prepare me for the real thing. One year into motherhood, I think I have a pretty good understanding of what I could do as preparation. So here’s a list I put together for pregnant women or any woman who plans to have babies at some point in their lives.
Things you will need:
- A box of nappies
- A feeding bottle
- Some baby clothing
- A human volunteer who has the capacity to be annoying on demand. Husbands are a good choice as it comes to them naturally. If not, a friend will do. In this list, am assuming that the husband will oblige.
- A lifelike doll
- A friend's baby on loan (if not, a live octopus will do just fine)
- An audio recording of a baby crying. Ask your mommy friends to record one. They can do it at really short notice.
9 months (if you do at least 5 things on this list every day for the 9 months)
- Make yourself a cup of coffee at least an hour before you plan to have it. Get used to the flat, cold, taste.
- Play the audio of the baby crying every evening for a couple of hours. Try getting some important work done (like making an important phone call) while the audio plays.
- Take the live octopus and place it on a flat surface. Put a nappy around its body (whichever part you can access while it wriggles). Play the audio of the baby crying while you do this. Ask the husband to hold a bag of organic fertiliser very close to your nose during this exercise.
- Dress the octopus up in layers of clothing. Make sure you include a beanie and a pair of socks. Play the audio of the baby crying while you do this. Spill some milk on the fully-dressed octopus two minutes after you have dressed it up. Repeat this step.
- Place the doll on your lap in the middle of the night. Put a bottle of milk in its mouth. Sit still for 45 minutes watching how the level of milk in the bottle remains the same. Do not move during this exercise as it might upset the doll. (Optional) - Play the audio of the baby crying while you do this.
- Identify one valuable and irreplaceable item in your house that you are emotionally attached to, for whatever reason (family treasure, special gift, travel memento bringing back lovely memories…whatever). Break it.
- Strip your house of all accessories and decor items…and a few utility items like the coffee table and theatre speakers. Get used to the blank, sterile look. You will later learn that this is called “child proofing”.
- Spend 30 minutes researching a recipe that you think a child may enjoy eating. Spend the next 30 minutes cooking it. Now, take the wok and throw all that you have cooked straight into the bin. (Optional) – Ask the husband to take a spoonful and spit it out straight away. Make sure he spills most of the food on the chair so that you can spend the next 30 minutes cleaning it.
- Let the husband bathe in pasta sauce. Spend the next 30 minutes cleaning him, while he screams. Make sure you both have zero fun while doing this.
- Dress up for a special work or social event. Just before stepping out of the door, spill a tiny amount of milk on your shoulder, taking care that it trickles down slightly towards your chest. DO NOT change into fresh clothes, as you don’t have the time for it. Try enjoying the event while trying not to get irritated by the white smudge on your black dress or when people (involuntarily) stare at your chest.
- On a day that you are extremely tired and sleepy, pour some cold water on your bed just when you thought you were ready to retire. Spend the next 30 minutes changing the sheets. Play the audio of the baby crying while you do this. For best results, try this on a winter night.
- Walk into a restaurant with the live octopus and the audio of the baby crying. Put the octopus on a high chair and give him small pieces of food from your plate. Watch the look on the waiter’s face when the octopus spits the food out and throws most of it on the floor. Next, play the audio of the baby crying and watch the look on the faces of the other people in the restaurant. Now, leave your food unfinished, pay the bill and a big tip for the inconvenience you have caused, and rush out of the restaurant apologising to every person you meet on your way out. Do not go to any restaurant for the next hundred years.
- Rock your doll and sing lullabies to it for 30 minutes. When it falls asleep, put it in the cot and quietly close the door. Walk to the living room feeling happy that you can now enjoy a much-needed glass of wine after a tiring day. Just when you have poured yourself a glass, ask the husband to play the audio of the baby crying. Leave the wine on the bench top and run back to the cot and repeat this step 5 times. The last time, fall asleep with the doll (forgetting all about the wine or dinner).
- Identify the most popular kid’s show at the time. (These days it’s Peppa Pig). Watch it every day at least 60 times. Make sure you watch the exact same episode on a loop. Remember, there is no such thing as too many times...
- Send at least one email to your boss with the word (and just this word) "fffccckkkkuuuuuu". Apologise a hundred times, explaining that your baby dived onto your keyboard when you were trying to write an email to him. Pray that he believes you.
While I do agree that every baby is different and therefore every mum’s experience is different, I strongly feel that this is a pretty generic list that every woman will find useful. If any of your mommy friends tell you that this list is rubbish and it’s not this bad….shoot them. They are lying and secretly waiting to watch the fun when you dive into the motherhood experience totally clueless.
I am also fully aware that despite the shocking nature of this list, motherhood is the best thing that happened to me (and many like me). And no list in the world can prepare you for what you feel when you cuddle your little bundle of joy at the end of a very tiring day.