Unsolicited New Mommy Advice

Clear you calendars and your agenda because there is literally no way to mentally prepare yourself for becoming a parent. For all my new parents (to be), this one is for you.

Take it one day at a time, one baby at a time

In the throes of the most difficult parts of mommyhood I kept thinking, there is no way I can do this again. This is what I fondly refer to as “the mommy spiral” where you start off crying about the baby being hungry and then you quickly find yourself balling about all the hungry children in the world you can’t feed.  I was the queen of catastrophizing. Do yourself a favor and don’t make any major plans during this time. Limit yourself to the right here and now.

Require friends and family to bring food.

Think Jesus and the wise men, but with casseroles instead of frankincense. While it is wonderful that your family wants to come and coo over your new baby, make sure they don’t arrive empty handed. As I was being discharged from the hospital, the nurse told me to require guests to bring a dish or perhaps wash some upon arrival. I thought she was being funny so I laughed (even though it hurt) and she explained that she was serious. I can barely remember the first two days but I do remember those visitors who brought lasagna.

Breastfeeding, next to sleep deprivation is by far the hardest part of motherhood.

Breastfeeding requires you to be more selfless than you ever thought possible. You feel like just because you have boobs it will come to you naturally and if you don’t know surely the baby will. I love that my generation has embraced that breastfeeding is best. There is even a hashtag on Twitter and Instagram #breastfeedingselfie. While I won’t be posting a selfie, you better believe I am patting myself on the back for providing breast milk for my daughter for the first year of her life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give yourself credit (or a cookie)

It’s tempting as a mother to believe that because you carried your baby all by yourself for 9 months that you can do it all. You are amazing, that's for sure. But the moment that I found the greatest relief was when I said out loud, “I need help”. You will find that everyone you love is more than thrilled to come to your aid.

It feels like next to everyone asking you how you/they are sleeping, they always come with a nugget of wisdom, myself included. You will be offended, confused, frustrated and grateful all in the same breath. Treat all advice about parenting like a buffet: take what you need and leave the rest.

Because clearly, I'm doing it right. 

Because clearly, I'm doing it right. 

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The Land of the Flakes

It doesn’t really matter if you were healthy, punctual, and dependable before you became a parent because your baby will make you sick, chronically tardy, and the world’s biggest flake. These traits are generally forgiven by other people with children, but completely lost on those who are not yet on the baby bus, and by bus I mean sport utility minivan. The only thing you can 100% count on is that you will eventually send a text message out into the universe that says, “I’m sorry we are not going to make it.”

We were supposed to go to South Lake Tahoe this weekend for my birthday. Due to the "storm" we decided to not risk driving in the snow and canceled our trip on Wednesday. So incredibly, it was not Charlotte causing us to change our plans, but Mother Nature. However, if we weren’t parents, we would probably say to hell with it and go anyway. So I could legitimately direct some blame her way, but that’s a dangerous thread to pull at since I’ve only just forgiven her for contractions. Generally speaking there is always a lesson to be learned in parenting, and as annoying and Dr. Seuss-like as that may sound, it’s true. My new motto has become, “Well, what are you going to do?” Those who are completely rigid and structured as parents probably struggle with that concept, and I'd introduce you to them, but they are undoubtedly too busy editing my blog for typos and checking their baby’s diaper for their 8am poop. I'm pretty sure that irritatingly catchy song from Frozen, "Let it Go" is directed at you guysSometimes things don’t work out as expected and we need to make adjustments, as the child needs dictate. The parents I’ve seen having the hardest time are those that expect the baby to be flexible around their lives. The only thing flexible about babies is their soft spot, and just like the bear that sleep deprived moms turn into, don’t poke it.

Who are you calling inflexible? 

Who are you calling inflexible? 

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It's Not Like Hoarding Cats

What is it about beginning a new stage in your life that makes people immediately ask when you will move onto the next? Your first moments of marital bliss are peppered with paparazzi-style questioning about children. Have you thought about babies? Do you want kids? When do you think you will start your family? Or your feet are in the stirrups for a 38 week check and the gyno asks about your postpartum method of birth control. To this I answered, “Uh, my baby.” My doctor was not amused. I don’t think sarcasm translates well when you’re not wearing pants.

So if you’re me and generally speaking pretty snarky most of the time, when someone asks about baby #2, I respond with:

"I just really want to enjoy every second of my daughter’s childhood without having to think ahead to our next one."

It has just the right amount of bite and you will still be invited over to play. I haven’t trademarked it yet, so please feel free to use it as needed. 

The decision to have a second is, in a lot of ways, more real than the decision to have your first. With your first baby there was still a sense of mystery and wonder. When you decide to get pregnant again, you have finally figured out the dance and then someone hands you some flaming ferrets and tells you to juggle. Why do they have to be flaming you ask? You must not have children. 

With all of my free time, I started watching 19 Kids and Counting, where they treat having children like hoarding cats. I wanted to look at the extreme end of parenting in the name of market research and they don’t have a show called My Fulfilling Life Without Kids, unless of course you count The Bachelor. I always assumed we would have a big family, but after having 1, I realized they don’t come as a litter for a reason (those with twins & triplets, bless you). Each one is a big decision and I shall treat it according. Not to say I’m ruling anything out, but when you’ve already created the world’s most perfect child, how can you possibly improve upon perfection? We’ll get there someday, but until then, thanks for not asking.

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A sibling? I'll have to really think that over.