Recently, I was asked by a new mother regarding what advice I had for expecting or new mothers. Any expecting or new mother and father is sure to hear a lot of advice- some relevant, some unnecessary and some bizarre. In my humble opinion, here are some tips that you can’t parent without.
Wipes have the ability to clean everything. Soon, you will find these moist sheets can dust, wipe faces, clean the interior of your car and can make spit up vanish in seconds. Never skimp on the baby wipes. Even when your children outgrow the diaper stage, wipes will still be a necessity. Also, do remember dirt won’t hurt. The first child is sterilized, pampered and held tight away from germs. Everything is in order, organized and proper. By the second child, you will start to see it’s not important and a little dirt is fine. Then the third child will have dirt on their face and you will think, “oh good, they ate.”
Time out: This is important, so pay attention. Never, put a child in time out by a wall with wallpaper. You will regret it. Toddlers have the ability to destroy anything and wallpaper is their specialty. They can find the tiniest sliver and within the three minutes have the entire corner bare. I would also avoid chairs that swivel, rock, roll or move.
Laundry: Embrace it, don’t try to manage it or control it. It is a never ending battle and with parenting you will learn to pick your battles. As soon as all 30 piles are washed, dried, folded and put away you will awake the next morning with 40 more piles. I am not sure how four people have so much laundry but I am certain the laundry fairy is delivering more for me to do. Children also love to wear a shirt for five minutes and decide it is definitely dirty; at this point, they will want to “help” you by pitching it in the dirty laundry. More than likely the spot next to the laundry basket is where the dirty clothes go, not in the basket, from my experience. It takes way too much effort to move the extra five inches, lift an arm and place it into the actual basket. Speaking of laundry, socks- are they supposed to really have a match? I am certain that mixed matched socks are in style.
Sleep: I have forgotten what this is. I hear people mention frequently they “slept like a baby.” I should have them visit at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m. when the baby wakes then again at 6 a.m. when the toddler is ready to play. Sleep will be a long lost friend. You will soon look like an extra from the Walking Dead and you will change your occupation to “Mombie.” If you are nursing I would definitely look into the Savi Mom night gown. You won’t sleep like a baby, but you might sleep like a teenager on a Saturday morning.
Tantrums: Prepare yourself, the tantrums are coming. They will arrive when you least expect it and more than likely in front of a group of people. It will last for years and won’t end until they move out. The cause of tantrums varies. It has been researched and many have found that saying “no,” being forced to sleep, eat and get dressed are some of the causes. I have also found that the end of a good movie, running out of cookies, and celebrating someone else’s birthday are also causes. Look away, hold your head up and remember that this too shall pass.
Stop Mommy Wars: Don’t judge the mother who is still wearing her zebra pajama pants at school drop off, or the stay at home mom who is still wearing those yoga pants at noon. It’s easy to look at other moms and see what you think they are doing wrong, what they could be doing better. But, what you might not know is that their child just spent three hours having a melt down over a wrinkled sock. Perhaps, they were up all night with a crying baby. Support the mothers who breastfeed in public, or use formula, who use strollers or Ergo Carriers. We all parent differently, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it just means it right for that family. So next time you see a mom feed her child a Hershey bar for breakfast, bite your tongue; maybe they were running late and dare I say, one day, this situation might befall you. Never, say never.
Everyone has parenting advice; if you are expecting you will soon find this out. Through trial and error you will find what works best for your family. Enjoy the hectic days and the pitter patter; it will go too fast. Hold on to the milestones, whether they be for infants or teens. The most important advice I can give is to love unconditionally, love endlessly, and love without measure.