That sentence makes me stabby. Every time I see it on a Facebook comment or hear someone spew it at a baby shower, my eyes immediately roll. While I know it is harmless advice and, to some, completely true and sound, it is a classic “easier said than done”.
I think some of it comes from momnesia. Seasoned moms are comparing to their kid who is awake for 12+ hours straight. They long for the quiet. They remember cat napping with a baby on their chest and sniffing their heads and not the skipped naps that snowball on themselves. “Newborns sleep all the time!” While somewhat true, we aren’t talking large chunks of time. ESPECIALLY really early on. They eat every 3 hours or less. They take at least 30 minutes to eat. If you have a particulary stubborn one, they take 30 minutes or more to rock, jiggle, hum to sleep. So in an ideal scenario, we are talking 2 hours of them sleeping. “So you go take a nap!”. Ok, oh wise one, when do you eat, pump for freezer stash, use the bathroom, wash your hands, or just sit still with no one touching you? Then you do find one interval of the day and you go lie down. 4 out of 5 times Murphy’s Law comes knocking and the baby wakes the second you shut your eyes. It can make even Little Miss Sunshine crabby.
Then, if the age old statement isn’t enough, some feel the need to point out what you SHOULDN’T be doing. “Don’t worry about the house and dishes. You need rest”. Now I agree with this statement 100% but ya know what is sometimes nice? TO ACCOMPLISH A MOTHER FUCKING TASK. Yeah the world still spins if the dishes stay in the dishwasher but if I unload it, I feel like I actually did something that day. Sometimes a nice clean counter makes ME feel better. Taking a shower can make a HUGE difference to a person. Someone on Twitter said it perfectly “Am I supposed to clean when the baby cleans?”. And while other people can come help you with some tasks, I know I don’t want my friends washing my underwear or scrubbing my tub.
Such a piece of advice also has kind of a backhanded feel. Like you HAVE been doing those things. And what if you haven’t? What if you have been barely keeping your abode slightly above “livable” and still getting no sleep? I think it sometimes puts a seed of doubt in the new mom’s mind. That false picture of what motherhood SHOULD be like. Sure mom A can care for her newborn who just sleeps all the time, gets plenty of naps and cooks casseroles on the reg but what about poor mom B? The one with the baby with colic that forgot to eat for 2 meals because she was never free of him for more than 20 minutes? She is exhausted, pissy as hell with low blood sugar, covered in spit up and just wants to stop rocking or jiggling for a few minutes. She logs onto Facebook to just vent about her shitstorm of a day and then comes “you should be taking a nap!”.
And to that mom, I say, cmon on over to Twitter where we complain and vent all day long. You’ll never look at Facebook the same again.