No Really, You Should Listen to This Advice

New mothers, soon to be mothers and hope to be a mothers.  I know that you don't get much advice from family and strangers (eye roll) so I have a little bit of advice for you.  It's not going to change your life or make parenting any easier.  It won't do your dishes, help your baby sleep, give you a better sex life or wipe your french bulldogs butt, but it WILL actually help.  At least I hope it will or I spent all this time straining my brain for nothing.

Ready?

#1.  Learn how to pick things up with your toes.
I'm telling you right now that this advice alone is worth reading all of my nonsensical gibberish.  If you are pregnant then this is the perfect time to practice and perfect this skill so that by the time your baby discovers that gravity is the coolest thing since sticking his fingers up your nose you can save yourself hundreds of back breaking bend overs. 

#2.  Lower and/or change your expectations.
In fact, have NONE!  It took me many months to figure this one out and when I finally did it made life oh so much more livable.  I wish I would have gone into this mother business with no expectations or ideas of what "normal" is, so I'm saving you the months of anguish.  Don't expect your life to look a certain way.  Don't try to force things to happen and try not to let the smudges on the refrigerator eat a hole in your soul!

#3. You will never sleep the same again.
Okay, so this isn't really "advice" per say, but it is something to wrap your head around.  Even if you are blessed with a really good sleeper, you will still not sleep the same as you did before you had children.  Why?  Because a piece of you is in the other room, or next to you, but still a  part of your heart is living on the outside and you will CONSTANTLY be aware of it.  You will become hyper aware of every noise, every breath, every wiggle.  I am pretty sure that I can hear Caches' heart beating at night while he sleeps.  Haha, I made a joke!  When he sleeps

#4. You will get WAY too much advice... kinda like this post, hummm
Give birth, heck, even announce that you are pregnant and all of a sudden you get 50 different opinions about child rearing.  It is overwhelming, sometimes heartfelt, but most often unsolicited and downright annoying.   Learn to IGNORE.  There is no reason to engage in a debate, try to prove a point, or even share why you are doing something unless the other person is genuinely interested and open minded; just smile and nod.

Smile and nod for two reasons.  First, because this usually makes said person think that you agree with them which makes them feel satisfied that they have saved your otherwise improperly parented baby.  They will usually then leave you alone.  Walk away slowly and don't so much as touch the baby until you are out of eyesight.  Second, because it is YOUR BABY!!  You carried it for 40+/- weeks, you gave birth, you are overflowing with hormones and intuition and YOU know what is best for your baby, really, you do! 

No book, no mother in law, no friends, no "child experts" know your baby!  They know their children, they know a little bit about your child, or have studied groups of children, but they don't know yours, not like you do.  And I promise you will not screw up your baby, it really can't be done!  Your toddler, adolescent or teenager on the other hand, you can totally fuck them up, so be careful. 

#5. You don't need so much crap
When I was pregnant I loved looking at baby stuff!  Still do in fact.  All the different strollers, clothes, blankets, diapers and carriers... There is an overwhelming amount of baby stuff out there and it is all so damn cute!  It is also all marketed the same way;  to in some way shape or form, make your life easier, make your baby sleep better, or shut your baby up when they just won't. stop. crying.

You don't need it!  Sure you need some things, of course you do, but the millions of options and gadgets and toys and bullshit is just not necessary!  A video monitor though, THAT is 110% mandatory.  How did people survive without the hidden camera in the baby room!?!?

#6. Let the baby be the book
I wish I wouldn't have read so many books about babies.  I wish I would have accepted that my baby wasn't like the babies in the books sooner.  I wish that I never wanted him to be "normal".  I wish I would have known better, and so I'm telling you.  PUT THE BOOK DOWN AND QUIT GOOGLING! 

Sure, there are good books out there and you may even find one that fits your style very well and offers some great insight, but every baby, every mama and every family is different.  You can not, nor should you strive to train your baby to be like "all the normal babies" in the books.   Yes, most babies fit into a basic pattern of feeding and sleeping but yours might not, and that's okay.  Or maybe it will, and that's great too.  But know this, you have a lot less control over it than you think.  Your baby is born with a personality all his own.  Try to follow your baby's cues and go with the flow.  Which leads me to my next bit...

#7.  The flow sucks sometimes
 Babies are black holes of need.  You will be tired and hormonal, you will want to kill your husband/partner/dog, at least once a week.  You will cry, think you are doing it all wrong, make mistakes, and it will be HARD!  You will get shit on, leak milk through your shirt, dread going poop and avoid trying on jeans for a while.  You will get frustrated, your baby will cry in spite of your best efforts to soothe him, you will look like hell, sometimes feel like hell and you will forget to shower...for days.  You will be pushed to your limit and then pushed some more. 

But know this; it will get easier.  I used to HATE HATE HATE when people would tell me this because in my case it took a LOOOOONG time, but it did.  It gets better and all the while you get better too.  And stronger and more confident as a mother.  And much more willing to let the dishes sit in the sick because you are tired and/or the clinking of porcelain and glass will wake your very light sleeper.  And guess what...the world will not end because you go to bed leaving dishes in the sink!  Crazy, right?!  I totally thought it would too!

#8. You can not spoil a baby
No really, you can't.  So hold that baby as much as you both want and don't worry about it.  From a mother who at times held her baby 20+ hours a day, when baby is ready to be more independent he will be.  

#9. There isn't a #9 or #10.  Kinda drives you crazy, doesn't it.  Me too


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