There is a saying in medicine: “See one, do one, teach one.” I know a few doctors and would trust them with my care in general. BUT THAT IDEA IS TERRIFYING! I know it’s not really true. It’s not really like, “Oh hey I see you have a brain tumor, I’m going to do the surgery for you. Sure I’ve never done it before but I’ve seen it once and the guy who is going to be telling me what to do has done one, so we’re good.” But it is true for things like stitches and taking blood pressure and stuff of that fairly innocuous nature. Trust me, I’ve seen ER, I’m basically a doctor. TV MD.
So I’ve seen a kid. I’ve had a kid. Let me teach you how to have a kid…JUST KIDDING. But seriously folks, I get a lot of advice all the time from soliciting it like a hooker on a corner (what is wrong with me today?) and totally unsolicited. I have sifted through it and here is what I came up with:
1. Do not take parenting advice.
a. I know, I know, I’M the one giving this advice…am I saying not to read the rest of the post like one of those “following directions” tests you got (and I failed) in elementary school? No. But what I’m saying is this: if it doesn’t sound right, then you have no reason to take this advice…even if it’s from your mom or a mom friend who has five genius children…or even your doctor. If it sounds wrong, get another opinion. Or hey, make your own because IT’S YOUR KID. It’s your responsibility and HECK, you have only known the lump for a week/month/year but you still know it better than anyone else does. Maybe, though, stop referring to your child as an “it.”
2. Take parenting advice
a. Wait, am I on crack? No. But life is a paradox so here it is. You know nothing (John Snow)! You’ve never done this before! And even if you have, this is A NEW AND WEIRD LITTLE INDIVIDUAL you just created…and it is different from everyone else on the planet so, if you need help, ask! Or if your kid is liiike having ONLY GREEN POOP (like Booberry recently) and that seems weird to you, maybe follow up on that. Or if someone super arrogant and annoying says something to you and you don’t want their stupid advice and you didn’t ask but actually that does sound like a good tip, just get over yourself and try it out. And there’s no point in me telling you not to read horror stories on the internet because you’re going to no matter what so just refer back to advice #1 as needed.
a. Green poop. That’s what precipitated this. See a lactation consultant. Why wouldn’t you see an LC? If you don’t like the one the hospital brought you, get another one. They are neat. The stereotypical advice moms get is, “Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. BUT OH MY GOD IT HURTS SO BAD!” which is super true. Of course it hurts to have a suction cup pull at your nipple every two hours. That takes some getting used to! But get help with that. Because it should not hurt once you get it all sorted out and somehow train that precious creature that sucks the juices from you to do it without bruising you. If you are not breastfeeding, that’s just fine, and see number 1 because people are judgy bitches about breast juice but some people are adopted and they aren’t dying or stupid because they didn’t get their mom’s precious bodily fluids, so your kid will be just brilliant, too!
Tell people to do your dishes. Realllllly, they don’t mind and everyone knows how to do dishes. Or they should. If not, TEACH THEM and then make them practice on your dishes. Not everyone has my mother-in-law aka “The Hurricane” who will come to my house and clean the entirety in half an hour flat. But you do have people asking “what can I do?” and they can do something. Like dishes. Don’t be such a perfectionist that you redo the dishwasher after someone else doesn’t do it efficiently. Let it go, like a Disney princess, because you don’t have time any more. You are not Olivia Pope and you cannot HANDLE everything (I watched some Netflix while pumping).
4. You are the best parent in the world. You are the worst parent in the world.
a. At least in your own head. Yesterday, I woke up after my child slept eight hours and she smiled at me and had a nice yellow poop (thank you, lactation consultant) and then we went to coffee with my mom group and she smiled and gooed and took a cute nap on my lap and they inquired about my oversupply problem (which is like saying your biggest flaw is being a perfectionist when talking to other moms, but it is actually a thing to fix) and I felt like THE BEST MOM EVER. Then, in the afternoon, I went to my neighbor’s house and wedged Booberry in the corner of the couch while I went to take my birth control and she decided to try to commit suicide by pitching herself two feet forward and head first off the couch and my neighbor TOTALLY NINJA saved her by making it a controlled fall and supporting Booberry’s tiny, daredevil head all while holding her own kid. I felt like the WORST MOM EVER! But my neighbor got to be the BEST MOM EVER in that moment and I’m super thankful she was right there. So basically, every day you will fail a little but, if your kid is still alive at the end, YOU FOUGHT THE DAY AND YOU WON! Mom guilt will happen forever (I’m flooded with shame thinking of her plummeting off the couch) and you will always think of worst case scenarios (I totally just paused writing this to make sure Booberry was still breathing because she’s all the way in the other room and has been asleep for a long time), but deal with it. You’re the best mom ever (to your kid). I mean, logic dictates that you are also the worst mom ever since you are her only mom unless you are in a two mom marriage, but stilllllll….optimism, people!
5. “It goes so fast!” Is a lie…and a truth.
a. I told you life was a paradox. Old ladies and moms of snot-nosed ten-year-olds will stop you on the street to wiggle their fingers at your baby and they will proclaim her the cutest baby that ever lived (your suspicions have been confirmed) and say the SAME DAMN SENTENCE, “Enjoy this. It goes by so fast.” And you will roll your eyes. Because you were up all night with her and you have mastitis (“what cows get”) and she screamed at you for no reason and has weird newborn baby acne and your husband doesn’t like you anymore (he does, I hope), and she doesn’t even acknowledge your presence let alone love you and it’s only 2pm and no one is going to come home to help you or give you a pee break for at least three hours and you MIGHT DIE OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION. It goes slow. SO SLOW. And then, suddenly, you’re packing up the size newborn clothes. And also the 0-3 month clothes. And she can roll off couches and hold things with her hands and put them in her mouth. And you have this beautiful moment of clarity one day as she wriggles between you and your husband at 7am, blowing bubbles with her lips and refusing to go back to sleep because she’s so excited to see you and you will smile and then start to cry because this is never going to happen again. And your husband will look at your like you’re crazy and say “I’m sure we will hang out with her in the morning in bed again” and you say, “But never like this! Never will she ever be this small again! Never exactly this age and stage of life again!” And you will see a little newborn in the bathroom at the mall, dead asleep on his mom’s chest and you will think (but maybe keep the thought to yourself because she looks stressed) “I hope you enjoy this, because it goes so fast.”