I consider myself a semi-professional parent.
Not a full on professional (I reserve that title for people who have more kids than there are seats in a regular sized car), but I’m a person who had slightly more kids than socially responsible (to replace myself and my spouse) just because I like them.
But, I’m done having babies.
The Dudes have all moved into the walking, talking, and handling their business in the bathroom alone phase of life, and I’m excited about the new possibilities we have (like the possibility to finish a meal without having to get up to take someone potty, clean up someone’s spill, or carry someone out to the car where they can have their grand mal I-hate-PA-TA-TOES-in-PEEES tantrum).
And, since I am never gonna have the joy of giving birth again, I have earned the right to share completely-unsolicited-but-totally-wise-and-stuff advice for the first timers of the world.
Thank me later, it will still count.
10 Tips for About-to-Be and Just-Getting-Started Moms from Someone Who Knows Stuff But Still Ruins Things
1. Do NOT watch any of those about-to-be-a-mama shows that come on TLC, the Discovery Channel, or other stations that specialize in reality shows meant to freak you the freak out. They go too far. Or, as is the case with sugar coated shows like Baby Story, they don’t go far enough. So, when your baby gets his big head lodged in the birth canal and the OB/GYN reaches her fist in your who-ha to save his life, and your body responds by pretty much imploding and bleeding all over the delivery room floor (and walls, and TV, and windows), your husband is ill prepared for the carnage and you are thiiiiiis close to dying without anyone ever even telling you that could happen. It totally can.
2. Do NOT put anything on your registry you really don’t want. Your cheap friends will buy it. And then you will be stuck with a whole mess of baby first aid kits. No one needs that. Baby’s don’t get hurt. And, on the rare occasion that they do, you are not going to have your wits about you to doctor them at home. You are going to throw him into the car and race to the emergency room rocking in your seat and crying the entire way.
3. Do NOT expect your friends to think your newborn is cute. Not in person and definitely not on Facebook. Newborns come out of your insides looking like they’ve um, come out of your insides. You try climbing into an unreasonably small, wet, dark hole for the next 10 months and see how unawesome you look when you emerge. Go ahead and love on your little alien spawn bundle all you want. Ooh and ahh that his swollen nose looks like Uncle Al’s and his bruised mouth looks like grandma’s, but don’t be surprised if everyone else in the room is just doing the silent this-broad-is-nuts-cheese while you do it. And, don’t think that all of those friends posting “LOVE!” and “CUTE” and “ADORABLE” on your Facebook page are doing anything but lying to you. Out of love and respect for your feelings of course.
4. Do NOT believe the nursing-makes-you-lose-weight-hype. Nursing does NOT make you lose weight (I know, I nursed all 3 of my Dudes from birth straight until after their first birthdays and you know how I look), not stuffing your gut with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the middle of the night when you get up to feed your little angel helps you lose weight. All nursing does is support your best efforts. You can even still get fat while you’re nursing; you just have to work at it a tiny bit harder is all.
5. Do NOT let people punk you. That grandma of yours from Mexico who says you have to shave your baby’s head if you want her hair to grow back thicker is a LIAR. Thank her for her
senseless thoughtful advice and tackle her if she comes near your infant’s head with the clippers. Her hip will heal.
6. Do NOT rush to get out of the hospital. I know, the food sucks. The nurses are bitchy inconsiderate, there is noise and bright lights and a constant wave of people coming in and out and inspecting your girly bits as they see fit. But, you know what you will have at home? A husband who is as clueless (possibly even more so) as you are, a phone that won’t stop ringing, a mother and a mother-in-law who won’t stop “making suggestions”, and a baby that won’t stop crying to save his life. Stay in the hospital as long as they will let you, send the baby to the nursery a couple of times even, because the moment you check out it’s on like Donkey Kong.
7. Do NOT expect your husband to suddenly get more helpful (or smarter, or faster, or more in tune to his feminine side). If he wasn’t taking out the trash without a reminder and rubbing your back because you’re pretty before you got knocked up, don’t expect him to start once the little one arrives. And, if he does, do NOT expect it to last forever. DO however expect him to look hotter than he did before. Even if he packed on the pregnancy pounds with you, there’s not much sexier than watching a new dad fall all in love with his new baby. It sorta makes you hate him slightly less for not taking his turn during the night.
8. Do NOT worry about those developmental milestones. Pay attention to them, but don’t worry about them. You have enough to worry about.
9. Do NOT trust anything or anyone more than your instincts. Not your husband, not your doctor, not even your mama. I was a naive, just-out-0f-college 23 year old when #1 was born. I knew mostly nothing about pretty much everything. But, the moment my body expelled that little human and he and I got to spend a few hours together breathing the same air, I just knew him. Like knew him, knew him. So, when something wasn’t right, I knew it.
10. Do NOT think you know how to love anyone more than you are gonna love that kid. From right now when he’s all cute and cuddly and producing sweet scented poop, to ten years later when he’s complaining about homework and trying not to tell you that a girl passed him a note in class he is gonna fill up your heart. And, probably even after that, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
Even though I’m a semi-pro, I’d love to hear it! You can never know everything about being Mom Awesome, even if you do it every single day!
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