A friend called me today to tell me the wonderful and exciting news that she is expecting her first baby. “Guess what?! I’m pregnant!” I immediately replied, “Oh my god I’m so excited for you! You’re going to be such a great mom!”
Then she said something I was not at all prepared for. “I am going to put you on speed dial. I plan on calling you to get all kinds of advice.”
It hit me at that moment that my cover is about to be blown wide open. Advice? From me? Ha, that’s laughable. Sure I’ve been a mom for almost seven years now but the fact that she thinks I actually know what I’m doing is just plain funny. I feel like the Wizard of Oz. I’m over here chilling out behind the curtain but the moment my friend has her baby the curtain will open and I will be revealed. I am clueless. Frankly, I’m just making this shit up as I go along. So far it’s working for me but it’s only a matter of time before I am in some type of situation that I don’t have a clue how to handle. I’ve heard the teenage years are something all-together frightening. I’m shivering just thinking about it.
After we hung up the phone I started thinking about what kind of advice, if any I could really offer a new mother. My youngest is three so I had to dust off the cobwebs in my brain and think back to when I was expecting my first son. Here is the list of advice I came up with offering expecting mothers. Let’s get real about this shall we?
1. The Birth Plan
That kid is coming out one way or another, so just go in there knowing that and you will be fine. If you don’t plan on getting an epidural, more power to you. But if you change your mind just know that no one will think any less of you for it. Hell I was begging for that thing with what turned out to be gas pain.
2. Bottle or Breast?
Do whatever works for you. Babies are always hungry, so feed them. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks and if someone tries to give you shit for whichever choice you make simply tell them you started your kid off on steak and potatoes but after realizing that was a bit too heavy you switched to the bottle or the breast. They won’t judge you anymore. In fact they probably won’t talk to you anymore and that’s okay because judgy people are super annoying anyway so it’s a win/win.
3. Sleep Training
Oh dear god if the kid is sleeping do not wake them up. Do what works best for you. Will your kid only sleep in the bouncy seat? Bounce away my friend. Do you need to visit a park at 10pm and hold them in a swing for five straight hours to get them to sleep? By all means get to know your local Park Ranger. Do what works. Obviously do what is safe (I’m not a complete moron) but if your baby is sleeping long enough that you can take a hot shower and clean the spit up off your face then do it. If you don’t care about the spit up on your face but would rather get your zzzzz’s while that child is sleeping (raising my hand and jumping up and down) then do that. Don’t worry about what everyone else says you should be doing. You are holding the baton, so run on my friend.
4. When will my body look normal?
Define normal? Stop. You just pushed out a kid. You literally brought a human being into the world. Don’t even worry about getting back into your jeans. Yoga pants are your new friend and when things settle down again you will start to get back in shape. You might become a whole new shape than you were pre-baby and that’s OK. I will go shopping with you. Shopping is fun. Not with kids though. Shopping with kids is some type of torture you should avoid for as long as possible so leave that baby with someone else on the day we go shopping.
5. What should I make sure I have before I bring the baby home?
Diapers. You will not believe how much babies poop. Girlfriends. You are going to need one or two good ones who will listen to things like “My nipples are so raw.” And “My husband just doesn’t get it.” It’s vital to have some people lined up to help you, listen to you and hug you. Granny panties. Stock up on a bunch of those girls. You can just throw them out when you don’t need them anymore, or hold onto them to laugh about one day. All that stuff you got at your baby shower is great but you won’t need half of it until that kid can sit up and trust me that doesn’t happen overnight.
6. How will I know if I am doing everything right?
Ha! What does right mean? Is your child still breathing? You see the thing is everyone and their mother will have an opinion to offer you, and by offer I mean jam down your throat when you are at your most vulnerable. Invest in good earplugs. There is no right way to do things. There is your way and then there is everyone else’s way. Do what works for you. At the end of the day if your child feels loved, then you are doing it right. Sure your house may look like it was ransacked by burglars and you might serve your family questionable milk from time to time but if your child is happy then rest assured the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter.
You see my dear friend, motherhood is a journey. You will learn as you go and some days will be an epic success and other days will be an epic fail. It’s not about the days though. It’s about the years. I guess after seven years on this journey it took you to help me figure that out. Go ahead and put me on speed dial. I won’t be offering advice but I will definitely be here for you and the wine will always be stocked!