Bad Advice

This go around, I have finally recognized that I am the gate keeper. There are no set rules that dictate the do’s and don't s of parenting my children so I am eliminating the following pieces of bad advice:  

1). A baby only cries for a reason

Lie. Sometimes you can try simultaneously: soothing, feeding, burping, singing, rocking, or changing your baby and they will still cry. Don’t beat yourself up when you have tried everything, tag your partner in and quickly locate some ice cream.

2). Wait 6 to 8 weeks before introducing a pacifier or a bottle  

You might as well Velcro your baby to your boob because you will be their only source of food and comfort for the next year, and likely until they start college.

3). Don’t vaccinate your children

If you listen to this advice, you don’t have time to be reading my blog. You should be out researching cures for diseases such as Polio and Small Pox. Oh wait, they already exist.

4). Don’t exercise for 6 weeks

Unfortunately, you cannot consider breastfeeding a form of exercise. While you shouldn’t be doing squats or bench pressing anything, it’s amazing what a walk can do for your mental health after feeling like you’ve been under quarantine since you gave birth.

5). Your toddler is trying to manipulate you

While obviously my toddler is a genius and capable of more than most well trained Labradors, manipulation assumes that toddlers have the ability to use a part of their brain that hasn't actually developed yet. It would be like saying your baby was kicking you in utero before he developed limbs. Sometimes toddlers are tiny terrors, but that's why they make them so gosh darn adorable. 

6). Get your newborn on a schedule

A newborn eats every two hours. Wrong! They eat on demand and sometimes that can be every 15 minutes. The only item scheduled into you day for the first months should be humming the mantra, “Stay calm, this too shall pass”.

Parenting is all about trial and error. Sometimes you gain a nugget of insight from a fellow Mom or from your past parenting experience which becomes a life saver. Other times you simply have to kiss your baby and throw the bad advice out with the bathwater. 

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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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