While having a conversation with a friend this week we had a random discussion about “baby arm.” Baby arm is when moms have one arm that is clearly stronger from constantly holding a baby/toddler. It launched a mini-discussion about all the things I had no idea I could do one-handed before I had kids. I asked other moms, “What things have you done with a baby in your arm?” Moms are amazing multi-taskers and this list proves it. In no particular order here are the top 15 answers.

Sydney loves when I do squats with her on my shoulders, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror, which creates a game of Peek-a-boo with herself.

Sydney loves when I do squats with her on my shoulders, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror, which creates a game of Peek-a-boo with herself.

 

1. Cooked – Ok, don’t call CPS and don’t tell me you haven’t done it. It’s either hold the baby or have cold cereal for dinner some nights, especially when they hit that fun separation anxiety phase. I always thrust the hip with the baby away from the stove and stir away. I’ve also used the baby carrier as well to get dinner made when I need both hands.

2 Used The Bathroom – Ok this one is just as awkward as you can imagine, but it can be done. It requires even the slightest movement to be super calculated. Put baby on hip, unzip pants with one hand, scoot pants down a little, shift baby to other side and so on till pants and underwear are down, holding baby awkwardly to the side while you go to the bathroom and then repeat process in reverse for pulling pants up. There was a weird situation where I didn’t have shoes on the baby’s feet and no stroller while at the doctor’s office and when you gotta go, you gotta go. They say necessity is the mother of invention. I say Motherhood creates the necessity to invent.

3. Wash Your Hands – This one involves a similarly awkward process of shifting baby from one hip to other while you wash each hand separately. I think there’s a semi-squat position involved when soaping up hands together, then balancing baby on hip holding the baby with one arm around them and then moving to the other side.

4. Cart Luggage Through An Airport – When Hannah was almost two we went to South Carolina by plane. As if carting luggage through the airport without kids doesn’t suck enough, try it with kids. As a toddler she wanted to walk but could only go at a snail’s pace which isn’t conducive to the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. So I sat Hannah on top of my rolling luggage, holding her on with my free hand and rolled her to our gate. I got two kinds of looks from people – “You Are CRAZY!” and “YOU GO GIRL! Why didn’t I think of that?”. I think I had her straddling the handle, holding her back while she was facing forward.

5. Help Your Other Kids – Having a baby doesn’t mean your other kids will stop needing you to do things for them. So moms learn to improvise and do a lot of things while holding the baby like brush your child’s hair, help them find clothes, read them a story, made them a sandwich, etc.

6. Eat – With the exception of cutting meat, eating while holding a baby isn’t that hard. Getting everything on the plate and not the floor while the baby tries to steal from your plate is another story.

Doing squats while holding your baby is good for you and fun for them.

Doing squats while holding your baby is good for you and fun for them.

7. Exercise – Sometimes exercise is only possible while holding the baby and let’s be real it can be quite fun too. Baby squats anyone? I also like putting the baby on my legs to do crunches. Sometimes I put her on my shoulders and do squats and she thinks it’s hysterical, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror so she dips below the mirror and then pops up to see herself once again.

8. Feed/Walk A Dog – I don’t have a dog, so I thanks to the ladies in my mom’s group on Facebook for suggesting this one. I can imagine the struggle of getting the dog to go one way while balancing a squirmy baby on your hip. I’m sure a baby carrier is the way to go on this one.

9 Blow Dry Hair – I can imagine this gets quite tricky, especially if your baby is like mine and hates loud sounds like hand dryers in public restrooms and the vacuum.

10. Open A Bottle Of Soda – I’m not even sure how you twist a cap off of anything while holding a baby, unless you’re using a baby carrier. I’ve been assured it can be done, but the degree of difficulty puts this one in the Mom-Olympian category.

11. Laundry – Laundry stops for no one. In my house it’s a daily battle and so is getting anything done without Sydney crying to be held. Don’t you just love the separation anxiety phase?

12. Grocery Shop – Pushing the cart with one hand is no easy feat, yet I think we’ve all done it at least once. I had all three kids with me and no baby carrier when Sydney held a melt down that could only be calmed by holding her. Needless to say, it took about three times longer to get through the store that day.

13. Clip Coupons – I haven’t personally done this one, but I can totally picture doing it (with some safety scissors of course).

14. Check Messages/Surf  The Internet – Who hasn’t done this one? Do we even get time to check our e-mail or surf the web without a child absolutely NEEDING something at that moment? Sure, there are nap times and bedtimes during which you sprint through the house trying to get everything else done that you can’t while the baby/toddler is awake. Trying to type with a baby in between your arms is especially tough, because the keyboard seems like the perfect thing to mash with their little hands.

15. Cleaning The House – Mopping, sweeping, and unloading the dishwasher are just some of the things moms learn how to do with our one free hand. The next time your husband looks at you and says, “You want me to cook AND watch the kids?” forward him this post so he can see all the things you quite literally balance all at once.

Moms are some of the most talented multi-taskers I’ve ever seen. We can do it all, though sometimes I feel like I have a serious case of dementia when I’m doing SO MANY things at once. Where did I put that item? There’s laundry half folded when I remember I have to take meat out of the freezer for dinner, unload the dishwasher and check my e-mail simultaneously. So Moms let me just say, “You Seriously Rock!” You put that baby on your hip and carry on like the soldiers you are. Just remember to switch sides once in a while or you’ll end up with a serious case of baby arm.

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