Within 48 hours of returning home from the hospital I realized that showers weren’t just a “nice-to-have” but an absolute necessity. I know, I know. Bathing is an everyday occurrence in our society – why is it so important now that you have a newborn at home? For so many reasons, dear reader – so many!
For one thing, I was nursing Vivi, and the early days were rough. She nursed around 3.5 – 4 hours total a day, and that didn’t count hours spent working on her latching skills, burping her, or cuddling during a mid-nursing nap. All told, we spent most of our waking hours in my favorite armchair, now affectionately known as the “nursing chair”. Those were precious moments, but let me tell you, it could be exhausting.
I also had a mean case of “the new mommy”. Even with my own mother – arguably the best mom there ever was – I was always lurking around the corner or hovering nearby. “Does Vivi need me?”, I’d ask. I couldn’t stand to miss a single diaper change or snuggle, and every little cry signaled to me, Vivian needs her mommy right away!
Additionally, as most parents know, it’s a dirty job. At some point in the day you will be spit up on, slobbered on, or otherwise slimed with an unmentionable fluid.
Here’s where the shower comes in.
Not only did it wash away all the yuck, it was like a sensory deprivation tank. The water and fan blocked out all other sounds. No whimpers or cries triggered my overactive mommy reflex. And though I loved holding my baby close, it was nice to be alone. In the sweet quiet of white noise, I could finally relax and let go.
After a shower, I felt more awake, less in a fog. I felt happier and more “together”. And when I had time to blow dry my hair afterwards, I even felt pretty again. Seriously – I cannot stress the restorative power of a shower enough. It got me through the roughest patches of the first few weeks.
Now, ten weeks into mommyhood, I no longer need a shower to feel relaxed, but I would tell every new parent: it is so important to give yourself at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time a day. Take a shower, go for a walk, read your favorite magazine. You and your baby both will reap the benefits.