For all the new moms, a fun bit of insight from one who has been there. For all the seasoned moms, enjoy laughing at me. You know you get it.
For the moms of non-fussy, generally content to lie around and coo or nap babies:
Step 1: I hate you.
Step 2: You don’t need this post. Just stick your baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom and go bathe already. You’re starting to stink (or maybe that’s the smell of jealousy I’m detecting).
Step 2: You might even have one of those disgustingly lovable babies who sleeps on a schedule like a decent human being and wakes up at a predictable time each morning. If this is the case, get your butt out of bed thirty minutes before baby is due to wake up, grab the monitor and go take a shower. You clearly don’t need or deserve those extra thirty minutes of sleep anyway.
For the rest of the first-time moms (i.e. normal people that I could actually consider being friends with. Not the “Unicorns of Motherhood”):
Option 1: Just take a shower when your hubby/partner gets home. Yes, that means in the evening. Get over it. This ain’t no spa vacation, mama. This here is the Land of Newborns and that means pure survival. Be glad you get to bathe at all. Treasure those rare showers where you get to wash your hair AND shave your legs (both of them!) uninterrupted. They won’t come around often.
Option 2: Ok, so you really need a morning shower, huh? And it can’t wait until baby takes a nap at like, 11am? Then I strongly suggest you invest in a swing. A small one. That rocks forward and back instead of side to side. In other words, one that will fit in the bathroom. Then follow these steps:
Step 1: Feed baby and change baby’s diaper. Do everything possible to make baby happy and content BEFORE attempting showering.
Step 2: Deposit baby in aforementioned swing in bathroom. Babies like the sound of the fan and the water. I have found that the combo of those sounds plus the rocking of the swing has been successful in rocking even my highly needy/colicky/screamy/gassy/fussy babies into a state of contentment and even, occasionally, sleep.
Step 3: Make sure baby has lots of entertainment: pacifiers, things to chew on, things to look at, music, etc. Put a small pile of toys next to the shower that you can grab and toss into the swing with baby approximately every eighteen seconds when baby drops previous toy on the floor just out of reach for both of you.
Step 4: Get in and start showering. Make sure to pop head around curtain or out shower door at least once every minute and say “Peekaboo!” real chipper-like with a big smile (ignore the soap stinging your eyes) to ensure baby is still entertained. Consider singing continuously to reassure baby that you have not, actually, disappeared just because s/he can’t see you. Make it the most obnoxious, sure to be stuck in your head children’s song possible – that one will inevitably be baby’s favorite. I recommend “I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas….” (If you don’t know this song, consider yourself truly blessed. Also, I hate you.)
For those that just had a second baby and are thinking about never bathing again because it’s damn near impossible to do with two kids:
Step 1: Accept this as golden, honest truth: THE TV IS YOUR FRIEND. Honest to God, a thirty minute showing of Caillou will NOT rot your two year old’s brain and turn him/her into a juvenile delinquent (I mean, no more than all two year olds are anyway). Better yet, go for Sesame Street. It’s educational AND a full HOUR long which means you can shower AND get dressed AND maybe even have a few minutes left to read this blog. Yup yup yup.
Step 2: Put on TV show of choice for toddler in a well baby-proofed room and walk away. You may want to test this out first by spying on your kid to see if s/he will actually sit and watch the tv. If you’re lucky, yours will do what mine does and not move one stinking inch for the entire length of the program. I’m not even sure she blinks.
Step 3: Proceed as mentioned above with infant. Only, leave the bathroom door open so you can hear any breaking of expensive Ming Dynasty vases (I said “well baby-proofed” you idiot!) or cries for help (Mom! You took too long! The show is over and I need more Caillou NOOOWWW!!!). A door ajar is also nice for providing you with goosebumps right when you want to try to shave your legs. It’s awesome. Try it.
Step 4: After shower and TV program is over, endure toddler’s fits of shiny, happy rage when s/he demands more episodes of his/her favorite show and you decline to acquiesce to their request. Yes, there may be quite a tantrum to deal with but hey, at least you’ll smell good while you deal with it.