Wash and sterilize used bottles.
Take out the trash bag full of dirty diapers.
Start a load of laundry for the third time this week.
Why is there still that gross smell if you just threw out all the dirty diapers?
Realize that gross smell is you.
Remember that you’re supposed to make time for self-care activities, like basic hygiene.
Brush your teeth for the morning, even though it’s past noon and you’ve been up since 4:30.
Debate whether to shower for the first time this week.
Decide against showering because you won’t be able to hear the baby monitor with the water running. Make do with spraying yourself with air freshener.
Pick up all the toys scattered on the floor: rattles, stuffed animals, stacking rings, sensory balls, baby teether in the shape of a croissant.
Why is your mouth watering at the sight of a wooden croissant?
Remember that you’re supposed to make time for self-care activities, like food.
Rummage through the fridge.
Realize the fridge is empty because you haven’t been to the supermarket all week, and leaving the house for even a ten-minute walk with a newborn will take at least six hours of planning.
Eat a fistful of stale Froot Loops out of the box while looking for more diapers to stock the changing table.
Realize you’re out of diapers.
Panic. How can you be a good parent if you can’t even remember to buy diapers?
Go online to order more diapers.
See a bunch of targeted ads reminding you to buy baby flashcards that teach shapes, colors, fractions, Mandarin, pentatonic scales, and quantum physics, so your baby isn’t behind her peers when she gets to preschool.
Find a brand of flashcards that claims to be “phthalate-free.”
Google what a “phthalate” is.
Realize you don’t understand any of the search results because you don’t have a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
Panic. How can you be a good parent if you don’t even have a Ph.D. in neuroscience to understand all the latest research on childhood brain development?
Reminisce about all the hopes and dreams you had before the baby, like getting a Ph.D. in neuroscience, or backpacking across Southeast Asia, or having five minutes of uninterrupted alone time to relax.
Remember that you’re supposed to make time for self-care activities, like hobbies.
Read a book. Maybe one of the 28 parenting books you purchased on your Kindle during your panic attack yesterday about not being a good parent.
Learn about something called a “529 Plan,” which you were supposed to open when your baby was born so you can start saving for college.
Panic. How can you be a good parent if you don’t even have $300,000 in savings to send your baby to college?
Google what kind of extracurriculars kids need to get into college. It’s never too early to start preparing.
Read about a 16-year-old who climbed Mt. Everest.
Read about a 13-year-old who won a Nobel Prize.
Read about a toddler who hasn’t cured cancer but is getting pretty close.
Panic. How can you be a good parent if you brought a child into a world that doesn’t yet have a cure for cancer? Or a solution for climate change? Or a plan for what humanity will do when the sun expands into a red giant and swallows up the earth in a mere five billion years?
Check the baby monitor to ensure the nursery hasn’t been incinerated by the sun turning into a red giant ahead of schedule.
Uh-oh, where’s the baby monitor?
Look for the baby monitor.
Turn the house upside down because you can’t find the baby monitor.
Realize you left the baby monitor in the box of Froot Loops because you are exhausted from the relentless sleep deprivation.
Remember that you’re supposed to make time for self-care activities, like sleep.
Hold the baby monitor up to your ear to make sure you can hear the baby breathing.
Close your eyes.
You should really get visual confirmation that the baby is breathing.
Stare at the baby monitor until you’ve watched at least 20 cycles of the baby’s chest rising and falling in a normal breathing rhythm.
Close your eyes again.
Remind yourself that you’re doing your best, and everything’s going to be okay.
Take a deep breath…
And that loud wailing sound means naptime is over. Hope you enjoyed your break!