ee that happy preggo above? That oblivious soul got a lot of mom advice when she was pregnant. Like A LOT. Most of which was not necessarily asked for and this trend continues even now, lucky me! Unsolicited advice is my fav. *Insert sarcasm alert* Anyways, despite the copious amount of random advice I’ve received there are a few things that weren’t mentioned that I wish had been. So allow this hypocrite to shower you with unsolicited advice won’t you?
1. Don’t buy a crib.
At least not yet! What I’ve learned in my 6 months as a parent is that baby sleep is an enigma. Everyone has some magic sleep advice that will “save your life”. However, if you’re anything like me you will try most of it and not a single one will work for your baby. You will then abandon ship and wake up 6 months later with your baby sleeping beside you. Now I know some of you are saying to yourself, “not me, my baby will sleep in his own bed. My bed is off limits.” Well, first off, never say never. Especially when it comes to this parenting gig because nothing ever seems to go as you thought it would, and when it does? It changes again in a week. Second, I was you. I understand your convictions are strong. So we’re mine. But my need for sleep and a happy baby was stronger. I still have a very nice unused crib in the next room. We use it for tummy time (see below):
2. Be humble.
Repeat after me: “No one is as amazed by my baby as I am.” You will look at you baby at some point (for some instantly, others not so much) and think to yourself, “my baby is the coolest most perfect baby that ever existed.” Now I say this with love but…most people don’t agree. They either think this about their own kids (fair enough), think all babies look like potatoes (I’ve been guilty of this at different points in my life), or the most likely reason, no one will ever love your kid as much as you do. As a new parent you sometimes expect everyone to want to come see the baby, to ask you questions about the baby, to want a picture with your baby. You get the point… but just because your life has been taken over by this tiny human, theirs hasn’t.
It’s been six months and I have a lot of friends who haven’t met Léo yet. Sure I got all the Facebook congrats, but I was initially a little surprised by how few came to meet him. Truth is your friends and family are likely happy for you, but there are many reasons you may lose touch with people. Maybe you have friends who are kind of weirded out by babies, maybe they feel like they can’t relate to you as a parent, maybe they are actually really busy. For me though I’ve found it’s because it becomes infinitely harder to plan things. You’ve got this tiny human who sleeps on and off all day, so you never have any idea when you can leave the house. Then that stage ends and you enter the “get the baby on a sleep schedule” stage. Basically planning an outing becomes a chore. The only people who will get this is your friends with kids, and I mean recent kids. I think as people get older they forget about the baby stage. They forget how “just skipping a nap once” can ruin an entire day, even two!Now you can’t expect people to always work around your baby’s nap schedule, but others also can’t expect you to just bring the baby to them. My theory is, my house is open to visitors. If you want to see Leo it will be easier, not just on us, but on him as well if you come see us! When he is older and napping once a day things will be more flexible, but for now that’s how we roll.
Wow this turned into a “respect the nap” section, oops! But that’s just another piece of advice that is actually helpful. Look at me, just a fountain of wisdom over here!
3. Lay off the “I would never” crap:
If you’re anything like I was you’re sitting there with your big round belly and book in hand. You’ve read all the books, know all the things and are ready to get this show on the road. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with being prepared. I found that reading everything there is to know about labour actually really helped me, but when it came to caring for Leo… it was different. Thing is every kid is different. Maybe you read that you should feed on a schedule, but you get home and your lil one is like nah, “gimme dat boob! Now and basically always for the next 4-12 months”. Now your sitting there thinking you’ve failed because he’s not doing what he’s “supposed to”. Actually he is. He’s a freaking baby and you really have no idea what your baby will be like. Some sleep great, some don’t. Some breastfeed easily, some don’t. In my opinion it’s all perfectly fine. After all your baby does have his or her own personality! Just like adults they come in all varieties:sweet, quiet, loud, intense, energetic, etc. So really, just be ready to go with it. It’s okay to change your mind as you grow and learn as a parent. In fact I think it’s necessary! So if you want to avoid any annoying “I told ya so” comments, maybe just keep those strong convictions to yourself for now. Please see below for a few examples of me eating my words as my baby sleeps anywhere but his crib after I told everyone he would only sleep in his crib.
4. Prepare for a personal hygiene “makeover”:
I crowdsourced a bit for this article and a friend of mine said, “prepare for your personal hygiene to take a dive”. Initially I laughed. Then I counted and it has been 5 days since I had a full shower. I will leave it at that. If you are currently judging me for the 5 day shower strike I will kindly direct you to the previous section.
5. Mom guilt. It’s the real deal.
I’ve mentioned in another article how I was worried I wouldn’t love my child enough. That maybe I didn’t have it in me. What I didn’t know was how profoundly the whole experience would change me. I am normally not a very sappy person. So I hate saying all this cliché stuff, but it’s just true. There is no way around it. People will tell you it’s a different kind of love, that you won’t know it till you experience it. And honestly that sh*t is true. This all encompassing, chokehold on your heart kind of love I’ve experienced with Leo is some next level stuff. It’s both sublime and soul crushing all at once. I say this because with such a deep connection comes an incomprehensible level of worry. Here’s this little helpless human that you love more than you thought was possible and it’s your responsibility to make sure he’s healthy and happy. Just try not to become a helicopter parent with that level of responsibility! The worry will be often and the guilt strong, but just try to roll with the punches and make sure your drink is stronger.
Side note: I want to mention here that I in no way think that those of you who are not planning to have kids are missing out on something. You can absolutely experience love fully without having a kid. This is just my experience personally. You do you.
As I wrote this I realized that most of the advice was the same thing over and over. I just kept saying it in different ways. Did you catch that too? If not here it is one last time. Learn to just roll with it. Everything you think you know will change before you can even understand it fully. Your kid is going to grow so fast in the beginning that you will barely have time to take a breath let alone figure out what “should” be happening. Focus on keeping you, your baby and your partner sane and happy and all will fall into place.
Till next time,