I have a friend who had her first baby a few months ago and she recently shared something that sounded very familiar to me. She said, "I still can't believe I'm a MOM. I mean, I do and I don't, you know? I spend my entire day taking care of my kid and then once my husband is home I'll drive somewhere by myself and I'll glance in the rearview mirror and it's like, WTF, there's a CARSEAT back there."

I knew exactly what she meant. In fact, I still have these moments, like I catch sight of myself reflected in a grocery store window or something and I think, jesus, who IS that frazzled-looking lady chasing not one, but two kids? Or the day I had my first parent-teacher conference, and I realized I still inexplicably think of myself as someone who's closer to a student in age than some 38-year-old MOM.

Being the parent of a new baby is the most dramatic adjustment of all, though. While there may be one particular occasion you fully and completely understand that you're a mother now (holding your baby for the first time after birth? Weathering the first scary sickness? The day you see a no-shit 100-percent-for-real smile?), it's usually a bunch of little things that drive home just how much your life has changed.

I thought of some of the silly, random things I could remember from being a new mom, and how the instant they happened, I realized: whoah. Things are very, very different than they were before.

You know everything's changed when ...

• You've redefined the concept of an all-nighter

• The contents of a diaper have become your daily Rorschach test

• You find a teeny, tiny puddle of barf in your bra—and you don't even care

• Bellagio fountains? More like changing time geysers

• It occurs to you that your washing machine is getting more action than you are

• You find yourself nabbing a dried umbilical cord off the floor like it's NO BIG DEAL

• You realize, belatedly, where that kind of thermometer's supposed to go

• Your booger suction technique knows no equal

• You suddenly realize it's YOU that smells like that

• You have a new superpower: waking up exactly one second before the baby monitor explodes into life

• You contemplate laundering those pee-sprinkled clothes, then toss them in the dryer instead

• A blowout no longer has anything to do with your hairstyle

• You experience firsthand the mistake of playing airplane after a feeding

• You cheerily count tiny toes every day ... before mindlessly stuffing them in your mouth

• You've transformed all your favorite punk songs into lullabies ("Twenty-twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours to go-oh-ohhhh ....")

• It's your birthday and all you ask for is a hot shower and when you finally TAKE one you're plagued with Phantom Shower Baby Cries

• Is that Chanel No.5 you're wearing? No, it's the beguiling smell of stale milk

• You can talk on the phone while simultaneously performing a goddamned blue-ribbon swaddle job

• The scent of someone's head makes you weak in the knees

• You're willing to be your life that THAT smile wasn't "just gas"

• The spitup stains match your outfit? WINNING!

• You find a week-old burp cloth in the bottom of your purse. At the grocery store checkout counter.

• You realize, all in a rush, that the stretch marks and saggy boobs were worth it

• For the first time, only you will do

What little "You know you're a Mom when" moments do you remember from early parenthood?


Image via Linda Sharps