First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mommy with the ….
Well, there are a lot of people that don’t do it in that order anymore, but I’m a purist, I suppose.
Lately, I have found myself surrounded by pregnant people. Ok, pregnant ladies. I’ll let you know if I see any pregnant men.
There are at least 5 people pregnant at work and multiple Facebook friends are announcing it as well. Must be the trendy thing to do!
And a lot of these people are first time moms, and since I’ve been there, done that before and plan to do it again, I feel the urge to give them a few tips.
But not annoying tips.
I remember the first time I was pregnant and every other person was like “Oh my GOD they grow SO fast!” (Duh. The pregnancy was already flying by at neck-breaking speed.)
Or my favorite- “Enjoy your sleep while you can, you won’t be getting any for a while!” (Duh, again. Also, you try sleeping with a squirming watermelon in your waistband, then tell me how a pregnant woman is supposed to enjoy her sleep.)
But honestly, I adored being pregnant. No, really. I was that annoying woman. But now that I see others getting their first time belly bumps, I want to share the things I wish someone had told me, because they are some of the things I most wanted (or needed) to hear.
Also because it helps tone down my desire to get pregnant again RIGHT NOW.
Also because I think I feel kind of old.
So here’s my parenting advice (keeping in mind the fact that I am totally winging this as I go. And also the fact that sometimes I don’t take my own advice.)
Don’t Buy Everything
I’m serious. During those nine long months of pregnancy, all you have to do is sit there and internet shop or randomly roam around Babies’R'Us and hold up outfits and squeal, usually with a bored, non-pregnant friend.
But people will buy you stuff. People you never knew even knew your name will buy you baby gifts. And you’ll probably have a shower. There’s something about a baby that gives everyone the urge to shop.
When you register, take someone with you that has had a baby in the past six months. Bribe them with food or babysitting if you need to. If you have no such person, grab someone with an infant in Babies’R'Us. They’ll be happy to help. It’s way too tempting to register for every silly awesome gadget just because it’s nifty. And then you end up with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff you never even look at.
You Don’t Need Everything Now
My kids didn’t sleep in a crib until they were six or seven months old. But it was the first thing we bought when that little pink line showed up. We bought loads of sippy cups, and Corinne refused to drink out of all but one specific kind until well after she’d learned to drink from a cup.
Babies are picky about bottle nipples and binky types. Some diapers will give them rashes. Some babies are born too big to wear “newborn” size. Some grow slower(or faster) than others and don’t need seasonal clothes quite as soon as you’d think. Buy and register carefully, and keep your receipts!
You Will Give Birth
Yes, there is a time (somewhere between 30-40 weeks. Or ALL the time between 30-40 weeks) when you will think “This baby is never, ever going to be born and I will be huge and fat and pregnant forever.” No one is pregnant forever. It will happen.
Same thing with the thought “I will never be able to have this baby. It has become physically impossible and I simply refuse.” Yeah, that’s not happening either. You will become unpregnant. And I’m not going to feed you that “Women have been doing it for millenia” drivel. That is not a comfort. Women Scwimen. YOU haven’t been doing it for millenia, so what do you care? How exactly is that supposed to help you? What will help you is knowing that you have a support team to back you and a body that’s pretty well programmed for this. And medical people that are experienced in this sort of thing.
(I was going to but a picture here. Let’s just say I highly recommend NOT searching “big pregnant” on Google Images.)
Control Your Own Delivery. BEFORE You Go Into Labor
Oh my God, make the big decisions with your significant other ahead of time. And make sure they know that they need to stand by them or you will kill them after the delivery and being in a hospital will be of no help.(I must say, my husband was awesome at this. No, he’s not for sale. We can talk renting if the price is right.) When you are in labor your brain leaves the building and I don’t care if you are medicated or not, you don’t want to have to make one single damn decision.
I’m not talking about the big decisions like natural vs. c-section. You might have a say in that, but it’s a preference. I’m talking about making sure people you do not want in the delivery room are not there. Making sure the people that need to stay within viewing above your waist remain above.you.waist. Making sure the right people get called to announce the news because a phone call will not be your priority.
You will remember, set in stone, virtually everything that happens while you deliver a baby. Try to make it a memory to look back on well. Not one that pisses you off because so-and-so drove you crazy or did this crappy thing.
This is one piece of advice I heard but chose to ignore. But seriously, nobody cares if you have a one-week-old and you haven’t vacuumed the damn rug. Go take a nap or something.
Get That Kid on A Schedule
Not at first. Let the baby do it’s own thing for the first 6-8 weeks. You are just baby’s slave during that time.
But after that, get them on a schedule. And I mean post-haste.
This is the number one biggest thing I did that has made my life easier as a parent. I’m not talking about Junior eating breakfast from 8:24am-9:12am and then exercising from 9:12am-10:22am and then napping from 10:22am-11:47am. Yeesh.
Pick a general schedule and stick with it. Be realistic. Life happens. There are days when scheduling is just shot. But for the most part, naptimes and feeding times should be around the same time everyday. Bedtime should have a basic routine. something as simple as jammies, book, brush teeth, bed will work if you do it every night.
(And OHMIGOD if your kid wakes up during the night do everything you can to show them it is sleep time. Don’t turn on the light or tv. Don’t talk to them (much, anyways) or tickle or play. Give them what they need and put them straight back to bed and THE END. You are welcome.)
Be prepared to adjust as your kids grow. Right now we eat lunch at 12, nap from about 1-3, go to bed at 8. Simple as that. (Oh, and there is NO sleeping in our house after 4pm. Night time is sleeptime and sleeptime is sacred.)
The glory of it is that once you get a schedule in place, then you can sometimes deviate (like I know we will on Christmas Eve). Deviating without a schedule is disastrous because the kids just never know what is going on. Sometimes not knowing what is going on is ok. But never? Not so much. Routine is key.
And yes, you have to adjust your own life. That means I can’t shop from 1-3 and I need to get a sitter if I want to see a movie that goes past 8pm. I chose to be a parent. I make sacrifices. You will too. Deal. Or face the consequences.*
*Consequences include but are not limited to: sleepless nights, crankiness, temper tantrums, excessive whining and extreme frustration. From the parents.
They’ll Hit the Milestones
This is the BIG one. As a teacher AND a parent, I find myself referencing this ALL THE TIME.
Ever met a teenager that wears a diaper? Sucks a binky?
Ever talked to an adult that never learned to walk? That doesn’t sleep through the night by choice?
You kid will do the things they need to do at their own pace. So much parenting frustration comes from people who think their kid is ______weeks/months/years old and should be doing_________by now. Bull. These kids don’t read your calendars, people.
It will happen. Almost certainly not when you want it to. (Yes, I would have preferred my children to be potty trained by age two. No, it did not happen. And no, no one died from it not happening. Surprise!)
Hope this advice helps! Welcome to the parenting club for the first, second or whatever time! And always remember our motto:
We’re all just flying by the seat of our pants!