A Little Advice you Didn’t Ask For:

Posted on | October 22, 2010 | 11 Comments

Something strange has been happening over the past few months. People around me, people in my life that I really care about, are starting to have babies. And… get this… they are asking ME for advice.

Stop laughing, I’m serious.

It occurred to me that as a not-so-new mother, maybe I do have some insights. Maybe there are things that I know that I didn’t know before. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not a complete and total fruitcake when it comes to parenting. Hmm… that might be taking it a bit far. Maybe I should just say that it’s clear that I  learned a few things since first setting up my tent in the Parent Hood. So as a “courtesy” to all my friends who are popping out offspring of their own, here is my Not-so-Exhaustive list of Sh*t I’ve Learned about babies:

1. There are a million and three “wrong” ways to burp, feed, snuggle, change, bathe, dress, and in general look at a baby. Sadly, there are no “universally right” ways.

2. No matter how badly you really want to do it all by yourself, suck it up and let someone else help you. Trust me. You will feel so much better having clean floors and a non-sticky counter top that someone else cleaned than you ever would feel about dragging your sore nether-regions into the kitchen and doing it yourself.

3. Try. Something. Else. Seriously. This sort of became my mantra for a while because see, babies? They are mutable. Your kid could be the biggest fan of close knit swaddling for the first two weeks of his life and then suddenly, mid sleep, he is going to decide that if you don’t get that damn thing off of him his life will be over. Your little princess might decide pacifiers are the world’s worst creation and will only and I mean ONLY sleep with a boob in her mouth. Or maybe you just haven’t found the RIGHT pacifier yet. (Yeah, they make a zillion different kinds… try them all if you have to. The peace you will have is totally worth the money spent on useless versions.) The thing to remember is that babies don’t mold to you… you mold to them. So no matter how much you wish your child would fall asleep with you rocking him, if he’s still crying after five minutes, it’s time to try. something. else.

4. Feed, change, snuggle, and if necessary? Repeat. And it will be necessary. If you are taking care of these three things you are doing a bang up job at parenting. I promise. You are going to think there is something you’re not doing. You are going to worry that you need to be, oh I don’t know, teaching him something. You There isn’t. You don’t. All you have to do is feed, change, snuggle and repeat.

5. This is an important one. NEVER and I mean NEVER say anything that can even remotely be construed as negative about parenting, your child, or your sanity around anyone with an opinion. Because they will give you that opinion several times over and then, once they are finished, they will call up their aunt’s sister’s mom and seventeen of their cousins and have them give you their opinion. You will hear things you never thought you’d hear. Things like “Oh, I have the perfect remedy for that…” complete with a recipe that includes raw onions. For a baby.

6. Start. making. lists. Even if you’ve never been a list maker in your entire life, you will NEED lists now that you’re a mom. You will need them like you need oxygen. In fact, invest in some of those refrigerator magnet pads. And a dry erase board. And a million Post-it note pads.

7. When you are pregnant, never ever ever EVER say “I will never…” followed by something you will “never” do to/with/for your child. Inevitably, that is what your child will want/need/kill someone for. Like cookies. Or pacifiers. Or really whatever you swore they would never have. And trust me, someone in your life… probably in your immediate family… will be the smart ass who looks you in the eye when you are sleep-deprived with a screaming three week old and says “Hmm.. Though you weren’t going to do that?” And then you’ll have to kill them.

8. Get your husband/spouse/partner involved as early and as often as possible. I can not stress this enough. As a new mom you are going to feel like no one should touch that baby except you because hello? He might break. And also you love him. A lot. But if you constantly make your husband/partner feel like they can’t handle the baby they will start to believe that they can’t handle the baby. And that is the very exact moment when you have screwed yourself royally. For life.

9. Take pictures. Take lots of pictures. And keep them somewhere precious. You will love looking back at every stage… even the ones where she is all wrinkly and smushy and looks like your Great-Uncle Joseph.

and last but not least….

10. Breathe. Just remember that there has never been a perfect mother. Never. It is actually an impossibility because the measuring stick is constantly changing. There will come a time when you think you just can’t take it any more. In fact, there will be several times when you think that. When those times come, remember that they do not make you a bad mother… they make you human. And have the strength to put the baby down and walk away while you compose yourself. Your child will not remember the three minutes you let him cry while you stood with your head in the freezer and said words that would make your Grandmother cry. I promise. Take care of yourself. Treat yourself with the same exact love and care that you give that little baby and you will both make it through the first year relatively unscathed. After that? You’re on your own. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet! 🙂


11 Responses to “A Little Advice you Didn’t Ask For:”

  1. lunablue
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 12:09 am

    bookmarking this. this is great.

  2. amy
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    love it.
    this is such a good post! You are a great writer doo-dah!

  3. Heather
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    Fantastic post! Especially the one about letting your husband/significant-other do more… I am sooooo guilty of that (Even today).

  4. Raising Madison
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    I need to file this under "things to remember" come June.

  5. Angie
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    So true on so many levels! The opinions I got regarding teething usually involved brandy instead of raw onions, but otherwise, our experiences are amazingly similar. Everybody has an opinion about how you do everything with your baby, and you're right, there are a billion wrong ways!

    Wish I had known to take the advice never to say, "My kids will never," because they love nothing more than to make a liar out of me!

  6. Mama Pea
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

    #7 is SO TRUE. Whatever is your thing, even if you only have one thing, that will be the thing!!!!

  7. Kim
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    They all rock, and I wish I'd known them from baby #1, but #3 and #4 are so FREAKING true!! Excellent advice!! See? You DO give great advice! 🙂

  8. Eliza
    October 22nd, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Love love love this. It should be given as a gift at baby showers every where!!!

  9. Valerie
    October 23rd, 2010 @ 5:05 am

    Great Blog – I subscribed via google friend to keep up with future posts!

  10. ~*Jess*~
    October 23rd, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    Fantastic advice. Thanks for the reminder! Oh and that surrendering power, I mean asking for help thing…I'll have to really do that one this time around.

  11. Mama Fisch
    October 24th, 2010 @ 1:08 am

    What an awesome post. I am not one to ever ask for help but I realized I needed every bit of it. My DH was 50/50 the entire time…he was a rock star and to this day I am eternally grateful b/c he does bath, bottle and bed every night which is a HUGE stress off my shoulders!

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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