37 Things Motherhood Demands We Do One-Handed
The birth of a child is precious. It’s exciting. It’s beautiful. You’re told to expect to lose sleep. You don’t understand the extent of this truth until it happens to you but still you’re warned. You’re told that you can’t imagine the love you’ll feel for your child. You’re told that your house will soon become cluttered with baby supplies and then toys.
Nobody tells you to expect to lose the ability of one of your hands.
It’s true. Being a mother to a small child means that you do everything with one hand and one hand only.
When that child is born you’ve signed off the rights to the other hand to your child. It is theirs.
As a newborn they sleep in your arms and that hand gently holds them in place. They’re snuggly. They sleep a lot (in the day). Then they get a little bigger. Holding a toddler is trickier. They don’t keep still. Ever. Maybe when they’re sick. You’re constantly trying to keep said toddler from doing something completely destructive like create a mural made of crayon on your dining room wall.
Here is a list of tasks that motherhood demands you do one-handed. It is not a complete list. I can’t type all day, people. I have children to raise and a house to (not) clean.
- Drive. Did you think your only job while driving was to ensure the safety of your passengers? Wrong. You must retrieve dropped/thrown pacifiers. Rescue cups (with lids that do not actually prevent spilling no matter what their packaging said) before the contents completely soak into the floor (thereby leaving a lingering stink that you can’t escape for days). You must find missing toys. Open snacks. Open more snacks. No not that one. Open another snack. Refill drinks. Tickle feet. Play and pause movies. Rewind movies. Fast forward movies through any parts deemed scary. Change movies. Referee sibling fights. Drink your coffee. Yes, that last one is important. You’re sleep and shower deprived. Enjoy that coffee, mama.
- Eat. It is completely against the rules to enjoy a meal without a baby in an arm. When they’re tiny they sleep and your meal is peaceful even while your range of motion is limited. All bets are off when that sleeping beauty turns 1. Eating out with a toddler is all about cramming as much food in your mouth before that squirmy little one makes his way into your lap. Because it’s happening, folks.
- Eat soup. Like regular eating but harder. You’ll only try it once.
- Warm a bottle.
- Drink. Tea. Water. Wine. Coffee. Whatever. Enjoying a beverage is easy peasy with a small baby. You use their sweet little body as a lap table. Or at least I did. Holding a toddler while wetting your whistle feels like trying to contain a tasmanian devil whose only goal is to spill as much liquid as possible. And they will win.
- Go to the bathroom. Of course you can do this one handed. But wouldn’t it be a treat if you could use the restroom behind a closed door, with nobody talking to you, without having to wrestle an entire roll of toilet paper from a little one’s grip, and with the use of both hands so you can enjoy playing on your phone in peace? Don’t tell me this isn’t your dream. I won’t believe you.
- Scrub the toilets. Just kidding. I don’t do that.
- Twist the stem off an apple.
- Twist the lid off a jar. Any jar.
- Change a diaper. This challenge is very present in my life at the moment. My almost two year old has decided she only wants to be changed while standing up. Even if there’s poop. There. Are. Not. Words. While she’s trying to flee I must use one hand to prevent her escape, hold her dress up, and swat that chubby little hand away that’s trying to touch her filthy bottom. Why she wants to touch her poop I do not know. But she does. This leaves me with only one hand to wipe, unfold the diaper, line up the diaper just so, pick it up off the floor when it’s fallen, line up the diaper just so again, attach the diaper, and reattach the diaper when I see I’ve done a crummy job. This skill requires ninja-like training, many prayers, and twenty to thirty wipes. Meanwhile once a week when my husband changes her diaper she runs to him and lies down like a perfect angel.
- Feed the dog.
- Put on socks and shoes. It’s harder than you think.
- Pull hot food out of the oven.
- Butter toast. The toast never wants to stay put when you’re trying to spread the butter. It’s annoying. I need something (obviously not my other hand since that ain’t happening) to hold it steady. I should hire someone for this task. Any volunteers? I’ll need you between 6 am and 6:03 am.
- Peel an orange.
- Open the milk carton. Every. Single. Morning. Twisting off that lid is an acquired talent. You will acquire it. It’s either that or suffer the wrath of a tiny sleepy tyrant.
- Install batteries.
- Repair a toy.
- Change the sheets on a bed. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I’m just going to laugh. Give up now.
- Peel a carrot.
- Speed clean the entire house before the husband gets home or guests arrive.
- Write. You never know how important it is to hold that paper still until you can’t do it.
- Put on makeup. When your baby is new this is no problem. You just time up your makeup application according to when the baby sleeps. I’ve applied makeup while breastfeeding with minimal trouble too. There’s a good deal of balancing involved but it can be done. When your baby is mobile, nap times become less frequent and you are suddenly expected to leave the house on occasion. It gets more complex. My daughter’s face lights up when I pull my makeup bag out. She plops on the floor and waits for me to place it in front of her for her to explore. Every lipstick tube must be twisted. Every mascara wand pulled out. Every powder compact opened and slammed against the tile. With one hand I’m trying to prevent her from destroying my favorite products while simultaneously getting my face ready for the world. So give me a pass when I have mascara smeared on my eyelid please. At least it’s in the proximity of where it should be.
- Vacuum, sweep, or mop.
- Chop vegetables. Cutting off one of your child’s digits is frowned upon. So good luck with this one.
- Chop an onion. Yes it’s similar to chopping vegetables but there’s lots of crying involved (yours) so it warrants it’s own number.
- Shop. It’s almost like my husband has trained my children to do their very best to prevent me from purchasing anything.
- Grocery shop. Like regular shopping but with snacks.
- Do laundry. This doesn’t seem so intimidating until you try it. Bending down repeatedly to move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer while holding my 29 lb helper is my gym workout. And then there’s folding. That freshly washed shirt might as well be origami. It is that hard to fold one-handed.
- Wash your hands.
- Be sick. Don’t do it when you have small children. Nobody cares. You’ll still be called to do everything you already do but you must do it while feeling like death and with one hand.
- Paint your nails.
- Prepare raw chicken. I am a freak about uncooked chicken. It creeps me out. I make it a lot but I am so very careful about the preparation. My mother in-law laughs because when my husband fries chicken I follow him around with my 409. I know he won’t clean up after himself. I have this mental image of my children getting salmonella from his chicken splatter. I once ate at a friend’s house and watched her flip her fully-cooked chicken with the same (unwashed) tongs she used when it was raw. Although I managed to not throw up at the sight (point for me) I did politely decline to have any on my salad. I tell you all this so you can understand why working with raw chicken while holding my child is such a nightmare for me.
- Read stories. Yes, reading doesn’t require hands. Turning the pages does.
- Open a candy wrapper.
- Unload the dishwasher. If I want to do this at any point during the day other than the 30 total minutes that my toddler is entertained by something other than me, I have two choices. I can bend repeatedly with 29 lbs in my arms. That’d be a no. Or I can put my toddler on the floor and let her assist. It is a race to see which of us can reach the knives and breakable dishes first. I (usually) win.
- Style your hair. Just do what I do and don’t.
55 Comments on “37 Things Motherhood Demands We Do One-Handed”
Hahaha this list is hilarious and so true. I don’t have kids but several of my closest friends do and it was chaotic being around it and a part of it! I can only imagine what I’m in for! And I’m so weird about chicken too (maybe weird isn’t the right word, neurotic?)!
Thank you, Cat! I’ll say that we’re just “smart” about chicken! 😉
Uh yes. It used to be nice when he would sit in the carrier and just WATCH when I did things. Now? Grab city. I’m more worried about cutting one of my own fingers because I’m too busy chasing him these days and the boy is ONLY crawling. Whew. Amen, sister. Amen.
Ha! I am familiar with Grab City! Those little fingers get into everything! And boy will you see more of it when he starts walking! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Gloryanna!
Seriously. I am dying. This is awesome. My little guy will be 5 in July so I’ve forgotten about so many of these. However….baby number 2 will be here in two weeks. I am saving this to read with my one free hand on tough days. I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more!
Aw thank you so much, Jamie! And congrats on baby #2! That’s so exciting. I’ve been enjoying following you on IG and look forward to getting to know you better too!
This made me laugh! It’s amazing how much motherhood can change you! I can’t even remember what life was like before I had kids!
Yes! Every once in a while I remember that I used to make decisions completely based on what I wanted to do. Ha! What a novel idea! Those days have changed but I do love it all! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Stefanie!
Let’s get together with that 29 pounder soon!
Miss you too, lovely lady! I’d love to get together. Let’s make lunch plans!
So true! And Love #7!!!
Thank you, Patricia! Thought I should be completely honest on that one. 😉
My mother would absolutely agree wholeheartedly on this list. Thank you mothers for everything you do.
That’s so sweet! Thank you, Jennifer!
These are so true! Things you don’t think about before becoming a mom!
Absolutely true! I always thought I’d get to keep both hands! 😉 Thank you for commenting, Tricia!
Amen to all of these and I’ll add pack lunches and backpacks…I had my first two kids back to back, and then my 3rd 5 years later. So helping big kids with big kid stuff, one handed, added a whole new level of crazy. Such a fun post!!!
Yes! That’s a great addition!!
This is so true, haha! Glad I’m not alone in the single handed chaos 😉
Thanks, Gina! You are not alone! 🙂
Oh, this is so funny! I have a 6 month old boy and thankfully a little 5 and half year old mini mommy to help me. He’s finally to the point where it doesn’t make me nervous for our daughter to hold or carry him (as long as it’s not up or down the stairs). Trying to spread peanut butter and jelly one handed is quite the skill that I have yet to master! 😉 Do you mind if I share a link to this post with my VIP Creative Club email I send out?
Please share! I have a 5 1/2 year old too and he is SO helpful with my almost two year old. She just adores him and he feels the same about her. He can pick her up but her legs almost touch the floor when he does. Ha!
Open the milk! Yes!!! That milk cap is my enemy too.
It is SO hard with one hand! It’s amazing I haven’t dumped the jug yet. Thank you for reading and commenting, Jess!
Oh my gosh -yes! All of them, yes!
Haha! Yes! I am glad I am not alone! Thank you!
Yes1 The makeup part had me in stitches — I have three sons, but they too are completely intrigued with my brushes, wands, sponges, etc! Great read. Thanks for the giggles.
Boy or girl, they ALL love the makeup brushes when they’re small! So long as they don’t get put in the toilet I’m cool with it. Thank you for commenting, Stacy! I appreciate it! 🙂
Ha! This is genius and so SO true. Now that I have a toddler, I am pretty sure I have experienced every single one them. Great post 🙂
Thank you for reading and commenting, Suzanne! Yes, it’s so much trickier with a toddler!
My right arms hurts and I was just thinking it’s because of all I do all day long!
Ha! Yes! I’m surprised I don’t have one muscular arm and one sad little wimpy arm! 😉
This is hilarious! We don’t have any babies over at the Dollhouse but really enjoy this post. I think the onion is our personal favorite.
Thank you! The onion was my husband’s favorite too. 😉
Love the list!!
Thank you so much, Danielle!
I’m laughing because it’s true…sigh. 😉 Great read! When I need to cut a vegetable, I give my youngest a plastic “knife,” cutting board and PlayDoh for her own “veggies.” We all still have our fingers intact!
LOVE the playdoh idea! That’s genius! Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂
Its funny because even without kids, there is still a million things we as women get done in a single day, and guys just don’t get how hard it can be! We are brilliant multi tankers, its a born womanly trait I think! And now to do them with a little one in your arm, is just raw talent 😉 !
You are exactly right! Women are definitely excellent multi-taskers with or without kids! Thanks for stopping by, Jenna!
Driving…YES!!! I sometimes wonder how my arm actually stretched that far to grab whatever they dropped, or in fact how did my arm even twist like that.
Maybe I sense a Mrs.Incredible power coming forth,haha.
YES! Sometimes I reply with an “we’ll have to wait until we get home because I can’t reach that” but then I do it anyways. Maybe we have Inspector Gadget arms?? 😉
Oh, boy! Isn’t this the truth? I am in the thick of #6. It would be just lovely to use the bathroom without company! Haha! I would add Type to the list. Doesn’t matter if it is my phone or my laptop, I am usually trying to type with just one hand. Great post – I will definitely be sharing with other mothers!
It’s funny you mention typing. My husband took a photo of me a few weeks ago and I’m lying on the couch holding our sleeping toddler while I type on my phone with the other hand. It is SLOW going with one hand! Thanks for reading and commenting, Cristina! And thanks for sharing!
Ha ha – this is all so true. I especially love the ‘do not get sick’ point, but think I have done nearly all the things on your list – we should all be given awards for our talents! Really pleased to meet you and your blog 🙂
Haha! I don’t have kids yet, but it looks like I’m going to have to give up my stickshift car…
Oh my, just love this! Need to send this to my own mom!!
I also wanted to drop a note and invite you to Sunday’s Simple Homemaker Weekly Link-Up. Would love to have you drop in and leave a few links! http://www.prairiegalcookin.com/sundays-simple-homemaker-4th-weekly-link-up/
This made me laugh! I am not a mom yet but I am always amazed by my friends who have young ones and they are so good at the one arm thing. I also think mothers grow arm muscles because Ill tell you babies are heavy! I can hold a baby for a little while before my arms feel like they are going to give out. I think that must come along with the baby! 🙂
So true lol my favorite is going to the bathroom still have trouble with this one. My girls even tell me I take forever! I literally go in each time thinking I will have peace and quiet and it never happens!
Soo funny. I was reading this and commenting one handed while holding my 2 week old!
Oh my gosh, this is so hilarious!! And yes, I am fairly certain I’ve done ALL of these one-handed. I have said before that with each child you should also get two more hours in the day and an extra hand. The driving one really cracks me up because I live in California where you have to drive “hands-free” and I’ve mentioned to my husband before that if we have to drive with no electronics we should also drive with no kids, because they’re way more distracting!!
Ok so you’re hilarious! I am not a mom, and after this list I’m not sure I ever will be! No, I kid, I kid. You do paint a very vivid and true picture though based on my friends who are moms. Thank you for your candor and honesty and humor!
Thanks for the laugh!! Especially the changing the sheets part 🙂 Most of them don’t get done when there is a squirmy baby in your arms!
I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you!