Ah, newborn life. On the outside it’s endless baby cuddles and adorable swaddled selfies. But on the inside it’s a wild ride. A ride where you have to constantly guess why a tiny human is crying, adopt spit up as your new daily accessory, and function on 30 minutes of sleep. All set against the backdrop of a disastrously messy house and attention-starved older siblings. Don’t even get me started on my personal hygiene and grooming. Remember long, hot showers? Soaking with a bath bomb in the tub? Yeah… I don’t.
This morning, to his credit, my newborn bubs took a solid nap. Since Dad had taken the older kids to the park, I experienced a rare moment of stillness. During which, the thought crossed my mind: “I wonder when I’ll shower today.” It wasn’t long before I corrected myself: “I wonder IF I’ll shower today.” I chuckled to myself because I wasn’t joking. I suppose the popular notion of laughing so you’re not crying applies here. Because I often catch myself feeling frustrated that I’m not in my usual routine. That I’m not as consistent, dependable, and driven as I was before my third baby was born. I see other women who have babies and appear to continue living uninterrupted. Who snap back into pre-baby physique overnight. Who run their million-dollar businesses while exclusively breastfeeding and cloth diapering.
And I can’t even shower.
Today, when these unrealistic comparisons crept in, a voice in my mind whispered, “But isn’t he the best reason not to shower?” It stopped me in my tracks—partially because it was so unexpected and partially because it was so true. This is my last baby (barring immaculate conception or some other form of divine intervention). I will never have this reason not to shower again. This time to get lost in tiny fingers, chubby cheeks, and belly kisses. I have my whole life to do my hair and clean the house. But I will never again have the most wonderful excuse to skip showers, to serve mac and cheese for dinner (again), and to let Mt. Laundry linger another day. At the risk of sounding like the well-known country song—I’m gonna miss this. So nothing has gone wrong here; I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. And while I may not shower today (or tomorrow), I can lean into everything that makes this newborn experience both awesome and awful. While my baby is growing each day, I am too. I’m stretching and morphing into another level of motherhood and into another version of myself.
As I finish writing this, I hear my new baby boy stirring. I know this quiet, reflective time is at its end, and the rest of the day will be crazy. I probably won’t get much done besides keeping my little humans alive. But if I get to see them smile and keep them safe, I’m good. After all, it’s just a season. A hard, wonderful season that I’ll never get back. It really is the best reason not to shower.