panic at the drive-thru.

After Everett was born, I distinctly remember spending a lot of time on my couch.

He was my first baby, after all. That’s what you do with first babies. You breastfeed all day long and binge watch Netflix and eat a ton of Cheetos. Right?


After Carson was born, I enjoyed two whole days of peace and quiet in the hospital, and then it was business as usual. Playdates, errands, laundry, dishes, Starbucks drive-thru, repeat. I hopped right into life with two kids, as remnants of my old life swirled down the shower drain, along with a quarter of my hair.

It was almost as if I had something to prove the second time around. I’ve done this before! He’s my second! This isn’t my first rodeo! I totally know what I’m doing…..kind of!

Needless to say, after being cooped up in a teeny tiny hospital room for a whole weekend, I was ready to hit the town when we got home. When Carson was four days old, I decided it was time for our first official family outing. I had a whole plan in mind: a short road trip to our favorite baby store to peruse double strollers, followed by lunch at the nearby mall next to their outdoor playground. It was perfect! We’d knock something off our to-do list, feed ourselves, and let Everett run off some energy. What could possibly go wrong?!

(I think we all know where this is headed.)


Everything could go wrong.

First things first: it took us 2.5 hours to leave the house. I wish I was kidding, but that is not an exaggeration. Carson started fussing in his carseat as soon as we walked in the store, so I quickly took him out to hold him/bounce him/shush him. No big deal, just walking around this giant baby store with my five-pound, four day-old baby. Nothing to see here! Everyone was staring at me, as if they were half impressed that I had dressed myself, and half horrified that I was out in public with a baby that small.

Meanwhile, Everett was running around the store from toy to toy, wanting All The Things. I ended up nursing Carson in the mother’s room for a few minutes just to get him to calm down. 45 minutes later, we checked out with a bottle, two pacifiers, and a box of breastmilk storage bags. AKA: all things I could have gotten at Target. We did not look at a single double stroller.

The mall parking lot was a total zoo, so we decided to go to In-N-Out instead. On our way there, Carson started crying in the backseat and I immediately regretted our decision. We were driving a tiny rental car because my car was in the shop and it suddenly felt like a clown car with all of us strapped inside.

“Do you think we should just go home?” I asked Brett.

We were almost there, and Everett was already asking for a grilled cheese. I bit my lip.

Carson’s cries were getting louder as we pulled into the drive-thru. I started to panic in that motherly instinct sort of way when you need to breastfeed your baby and you can’t get to them. I saw a car pull up behind us and my heart started beating faster.

Carson was officially screaming, and we were trapped in the drive-thru.

“Grilled cheese?? Grilled cheese, daddy?”

“Welcome to In-N-Out! What can I get for you today?”

“Babe….what do you want to eat?”

Everyone was talking. Carson was screaming. My head was on the verge of exploding. I felt claustrophobic, like the walls of the clown car were caving in. I was hot, and sweating, and could barely breathe. I could not hear anything over Carson screaming. There was a line of cars behind us in the drive-thru and all I wanted was for Brett to throw the car in reverse and get the hell out of there.

I burst into tears.

“I need to get to Carson! I cannot listen to him scream for another second!”

Brett looked at me, helpless. Confused. Concerned.

“What do you want me to do?!” he asked.

“Nothing!” I screamed. It was official. I had lost my mind. I grabbed my nursing cover from the diaper bag, threw open the tiny door, stepped out of the car into the middle of the drive-thru with tears streaming down my face, and proceeded to extract my five-pound baby from the backseat. I carried him through the drive-thru in front of the parade of cars and curious onlookers—choking back sobs—to a nearby picnic bench where I could feed my baby in peace.

It was 102 degrees outside, but I didn’t care. I needed space. I needed to breathe. I needed to get out of the itty bitty rental car with the screaming newborn and the whining toddler and the husband trying to order burgers. It was Too Much.

I ate my cheeseburger in silence on the drive home.

“Are you okay?” Brett asked.

“Yeah,” I answered honestly, “I just want to go home.”

As soon as we pulled into the garage, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I promptly changed out of my adorable and flattering maxi skirt and got back into my favorite black sweatpants. I threw my hair in a messy bun and grabbed my five-pound, four day-old baby from the carseat.

We curled up together on the couch with Netflix and a bag of Cheetos, right where we belonged.

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14 Responses to panic at the drive-thru.

  1. Stephanie says:

    Oh man,
    I had a few of these over doing it moments the first and second time around. The couch is always the better option…always!
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..Spider-Man, Is That You?

  2. Ellie says:

    Oh love. This one had my smiling through teary eyes. Thank you for sharing this <3 I think I'd be looking at you with wonder, pondering "How on earth is she out and about already?! It took me two weeks the first time!"

    Filing this away as a 'must-remember' for April when our second little arrives.
    Ellie´s last blog post ..A tiny ode to the autumn months

  3. Larissa says:

    I have a 2 year old and am 36 weeks. Even though my second is not born yet, this was so comforting (?) to read (maybe because I’m slightly terrified for what is to come and it’s nice to know that others have dealt with major challenges?). Anyway….couch, Cheetos…I’m with ya.

  4. Holly says:

    Oh, gosh! I remember our first outing as a family of four and it was quite similar to yours! When Ellie was three days old we went to Babies R’ Us to buy some smaller clothes for her (she was 2 lbs smaller than her brother at birth, we had nothing that fit her!) – she hated the car seat so she screamed the entire way there. I tried to feed her in the Mother’s Room but she was having issues with latching properly so that ended in tears and frustration for both of us. We were there at the end of the baby sale so they didn’t even have anything in Ellie’s size! We left with a nipple shield for me and a sheet of stickers for Topher. I agree with Stephanie: The couch is always the best option!
    Holly´s last blog post ..No More Excuses

  5. Katie says:

    Oh, if I could count the number of times that I’ve lost my mind like that. And how many times I to tell myself to remember the lesson the next time and give myself the grace to stay home. And the times we don’t, two words: low expectations. 🙂
    Katie´s last blog post ..down and up

  6. Lesley says:

    The very best and worst parts of the first weeks is just how primal they are. I love this mama bear story. And loved meeting Carson this weekend! xoxo
    Lesley´s last blog post ..For the warrior in pink

  7. annette eland says:

    I hope this encourages other new moms to stay home after delivery! You just had a baby, why the need to run around town? I really don’t understand why moms are so quick to start back with business as usual…especially when the business has changed. Stay in bed with the newborn and let daddy do the work around the house and care for the other kid, that’s what they are home for!

  8. xoxo I can relate to that with busy with kids and trying to do the schedule. It gets better 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your panic at the drive thru .
    julie@m5monkeys´s last blog post ..Cover Lusting ( auto read authors )

  9. Aww 🙁 this sounds horrible. I would most definitely be thinking omw how on Earth is this lady out of the house so soon, so BRAVE! Don’t ever think of people’s expectations of what you ‘should’ be doing now that it’s baby number two. You do what you can, and what you feel comfortable and ready for.

    We all know you write amazing words from that couch in your sweats with that bag of Cheetos 🙂
    Sarah-Louise B.´s last blog post ..Not Good Enough

  10. molly says:

    Hi Ashlee! After doing too much with my first baby right off the bat, we created a tradition of hibernating for 2 weeks after our future babies were born, and it’s been the best thing ever! I’m so sorry you had a rough outing, but I’m glad you discovered that home is the coziest place to be xoxo PS > I knew immediately that you were my kind of gal when you mentioned in one of your pregnancy posts that you eat Cheetos + cookies w your daily turkey sandwiches, and this mention of Netflix + Cheetos further confirms my initial feelings 🙂

  11. Jen says:

    had you had a C-section, you likely would have still been in the hospital being “waited” on my nurses, having meals delivered to you, fresh sheets daily – you know the drill – BUT instead you were out and about!!! I don’t know what it is about fast food lines, but I had a pregnancy total meltdown in the Taco Bell line. The more the hubby asked if I was okay, I was certain I was not. Darn hormones 🙂

  12. Jessie says:

    I actually was in the hospital for a week after giving birth to my daughter, so I completely know the feeling of wanting to get out of the house and having grand plans for what you would accomplish! We ended up going out to breakfast the morning after getting home and surprisingly it actually went smoothly. My husband says it is the best coffee refill service he’s ever gotten 🙂

    I must say though, the couch and binge watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime while nursing my daughter are some of my favorite moments from the first month we were home. I still remember getting to an episode (spoiler alert!) where one of the daughters has toxemia/pre-eclampsia and ends up dying due to seizures after giving birth. It made me so thankful to have had the medical care I did for pre-eclampsia and that I was able to be home and healthy with my beautiful daughter.

  13. Ashley says:

    Sometimes the best things in life is a relaxing day with comfort food 😉
    Ashley´s last blog post ..break [from] the internet.

  14. Molly says:

    Oh my goodness I feel for you! When my daughter was born, we did not leave the house for 2 months. No joke. If it wasn’t a doctors appointment, it wasn’t important. I was very wary of exposing my newborn to unvaccinated strangers– until she had her first round of vaccines, Netflix and trying to breastfeed were all I did. Even after those 2 months were up, I was so afraid to go anywhere with her alone. What if she cried? What if she had a blow out? So many hormones and insecurities and fears. I’m positive that if I had pushed myself outside of my comfort zone even one month after she was born, I would’ve found myself hyperventilating in a drive-thru somewhere too!

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