I don’t know many new moms that will utter the words “baby” and “boring” in the same sentence, so I’m here to dispel the myth. Babies, especially brand new ones, are mind-numbingly boring. Don’t try to church it up because a newborn baby that looks and acts like a sack of flour just isn’t that interesting.
It took until my second kid before I was ready and willing to admit this in public. I remember after having my first son that I was totally freaking elated, and then tired, and then really bored, in that order. I was (and still am) fortunate enough to work at home, so I would spend the morning working and the afternoon “bonding” with my new baby.
Translation: I would guiltily watch Dr. Phil over his shiny, bald head as I held him in my lap. If I was really bored and too lazy to get up, I would even rest my wine glass on his head because it made the perfect absorbent coaster.
There were many, many times that I tried to do interesting things with my baby to no avail. I took him for special walks in the park in the stroller and in the baby-front-carrier-thing. In summary, he got a good nap or screamed the entire time, and I got some exercise. It wasn’t a total lose-lose situation, but I wouldn’t call it particularly stimulating.
The thing that sucked about not acknowledging the boringness of my baby was that I felt all alone in new motherhood. I made the grave, grave mistake of comparing my reality to Facebook and Pinterest “reality.” All of the moms appeared to be jumping for joy and throwing leaves in the air in a montage right out of Full House. My boring baby just happened to be slumped over in a corner sucking on an old spoon, and he wasn’t having any photo ops.
Finally, I sent an email to a good friend of mine that had also recently had a baby. We were both indulging in some friendly bitching and finally admitted to each other, “Hey! Is your baby boring too? It’s not just me?!?” Whew, what a relief that was. I wasn’t the only person with a chronically boring baby, and I wasn’t the only mom that found the whole gig kind of uninteresting, at least in the early days.
Now, I have to qualify all of this by saying that I don’t totally hate my baby. In fact, I happen to love both of my sons a lot. But the early baby years, my God, they really test you. Unless you’re stimulated by watching paint dry or watching grass grow, just know that new motherhood is ultra-boring, and the day-to-day monotony can get to you.
I think my main problem was that I was expecting something to happen. I don’t know what this “something” was, but I just thought I was missing something and was supposed to be over the moon about this new baby that couldn’t sit up, coo, or even make eye contact.
Now that the toddler years are upon us, they’re definitely challenging, but I like them so much better. I remember when my first son hit his one-year birthday, and my husband and I looked at each other and were like, “Hey, this isn’t so bad! He’s walking around, waving, and smiling on command. Maybe we’ll keep him!”
I kid, I kid, but seriously—it took me almost a full year to feel like parenting wasn’t a total brain drain. Within that first year, there were definitely moments that I cherished and loved, but there were many, many times where I was counting the minutes until bedtime. Unfortunately, no one tells you that during your prenatal checkups, on the BabyCenter birth boards, and certainly not on Facebook or Instagram.
Maybe I’m the only new mom that made the mistake of comparing my super boring life to Internet reality, but I really had no clue that babies weren’t that enjoyable! By the time my second son came around, I was fully prepared for major downtime and a whole lotta nothing, unless you counted round-the-clock diaper changes.
If you’re pulling your hair out with boredom as you nurse your newborn in the middle of the night, know that you’re not alone. (And hopefully you have a smartphone to keep you company!) The bright side is that the early, floppy years pass so much faster than you think—and, no, I’m not going to tell you to “enjoy it while it lasts.”
The boring times are oh-so-boring, but they are short lived. Just remember these words of comfort the next time you pass your baby a teething ring and wipe drool off his slobbery chin for the ninth time in a row. It does get better.
(photo: Getty Images)