My Two Cents

My friend brought an amazing blog about motherhood to my attention: A Letter to My Pregnant, Child-Less Self. I was laughing so hard, I almost peed myself (due to my compromised pelvic floor).

Since I know someone about to enter the motherhood club for the first time, I thought I would add a few thoughts of my own.

1. You are fucked. No decision you make will ever be right again. It doesn’t matter how trivial you think the decision is, someone else will think you should be turned into DFS for it. Don’t have that glass of wine, runny cheese or sushi at dinner, because you could do serious damage to your abdominal hitch hiker. Women in Japan and France have those every pregnant day – you are over-reacting. Drug free labor? You are a masochist. Epidural? You are doping up your precious baby. If you breast feed people at the restaurant will complain about your lack of modesty. If you bottle feed, passers by will make snarky comments about how selfish you are. Haven’t you given them solids yet?/ ITS TOO SOON TO BE GIVING THEM SOLIDS! In the end you have to just remember that the only person the kids will blame for being messed up when they’re older is you, not the woman at Target who swore you can not under any circumstances give them a hot bath. Make your decisions and stick with them.

2. Be ready to get wet. If there is one thing babies are its viscous. Fluids ooze out of every available orifice with alarming frequency and speed. The little buggers can poop out their body weight, sending it up their back out their collar and down through their leg holes. Baby wipes will be the most important thing in your world. I still have them in the house, and the Rookie is eight. They poop out, spit up, vomit, urp, pee and drool, sometimes all at once. No amount of modern chemistry can make something to contain it all. Don’t buy any white clothes and stock up on burp cloths. Don’t get the cute skinny embroidered ones either. Invest in the largest, most absorbent ones you can find. I think they should make ponchos out of the stuff, but nobody asks me.

3. Don’t bother sleeping now. It’s not like chocolate, you can’t hoard it and save it for later. The only thing sleeping as much as you can now will accomplish is make you miss it more when its gone. What might be useful is practicing getting no sleep. Try to go forty eight hours with three hours of horizontal sleep, three separate 20 minute naps in a seated position, and one snooze while standing at the sink. Practice makes perfect, right?

4. Get the DH involved. He won’t do it like you do. He won’t put the diapers on right. Why would anyone hold a bottle like that? Those are not the pants that go with that onsie. Why is the baby in the Bjorn backwards? Of course your spouse (and I’m picking husband because of personal experience) won’t be nearly as devoted a parent as you are, in your mind at least. Its easy to believe your own press on this one, and Lord knows all new moms could fill up tomes with complaints about their partner in conception. Yes, it is often easier and faster to do it yourself, but make Daddy at least give precious a bath once and a while. Sure, the water will be too hot, he’ll use too much soap, and you’ll just have to bathe the little ooze machine again as soon as Daddy isn’t looking. Even though he is doing it wrong, let him do it. Everyone involved will (someday) be glad you did.

5. Listen to everyone’s advice. Ignore most of it. Learn to smile and nod and never try to defend what horrible mistake you are making (no stocking cap? In JULY?!). They never have to know you are ignoring them. But do listen. Every now and then a kernel of something worth knowing will pop out of the least likely person. One of my best mommy tricks came from – no, don’t say it – my Mother in Law.

No one does this perfectly, we all just do the best we can. Relax, keep your hands and feet inside, but do enjoy the ride.

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