Dylan is 13 months and 25 days. So that means, a little over a year ago, I was just some poor schmuck who had NO IDEA what was about to slam into her life like a runaway Mack truck. A little over a year ago, I was just a giant, miserable, bitchy pregnant lady who was so caught up in trying not to spontaneously combust at 10 months pregnant in the dead of summer that I was blissfully unaware that the worst was yet to come. A little over a year ago, I was the new girl, the one who all the moms who’d come before showered with their (sometimes) valuable, (quite often) useful, (occasionally ridiculous) advice. It was an interesting time of change and growth and all around what-the-fuckness that warms my heart (and chills my soul to it’s very core).
But now that Dylan is 13 months and 25 days, I am no longer the new mom. I’ve made it through newborn. I’ve breastfed, sleep trained, been vomited on, survived on 4 hours of sleep in a 48 span of time, made/ate/cleaned up dinner while rocking a baby on one arm, been through teething (ONGOING OMG ALL THE TEETH), and I’ve come out virtually unscathed. Sure, I’ve cried more in the last 13 months and 25 days than in possibly the entire 29 years before. Me and a goodnight’s sleep said our goodbyes right around the same time my boobs took over as ruler and supreme being in the house. And I have neglected to shower/put on makeup/brush my hair and/or teeth on way more days than I care to recall. But, I’ve also laughed more, and loved more, and been more fulfilled and challenged and satisfied that I could have ever DREAMED of being. So I guess right now we can call even Stevens.
But, the whole point of this post, is that I’m not the new mommy! Meaning, there are newer, GREENER mommies, with newer babies! And I am one of the experts now! Ok, maybe “expert” is too strong a word. But, I have been through it, so that qualifies me to dispense advice. Apparently. Disclaimer: I am by no means a parenting expert, unless you call making it 13 months and 25 days without serious incident (and with most of my sanity intact) and a super amazing baby to boot, being an expert. If that is indeed how you measure expertise, than fuck yeah I am! I still find it odd that people ask me for advice, but whatever, who am I to judge.
So, without further ado, the little bit of (sometimes) valuable, (quite often) useful, (occasionally ridiculous) advice that I’ve been able to remember after 13 months and 25 days of living in a semipermanent state of half consciousness and a near complete reboot of my brain via Newborn Amnesia:
-First, this shit is HARD (deep, I know). Don’t be all, “Oh, this is easy, I can totally do this, I don’t need _________”. You do need whatever or whomever you filled that space in with. You need them and it and all their cousins.
-Second, seriously, SLEEP AS MUCH AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. When people tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, they aren’t fucking kidding around. There will come a time when you will re-enter the world of the living, and resume(ish) your regular routine, but the first 2 months is not that time.
-Breastfeeding hurts, even if you’re doing it right. It would hurt if you were the goddamned poster child for How to Breastfeed a Child Correctly. There is no way or scenario or situation in which the first 2-3 weeks of breastfeeding are not going to hurt. Because there will be a human being sucking on them with all of their worldly might in an effort to quell a seemingly never-ending hunger. And all that sucking takes a toll. Go ahead, suck on your finger with even a little force for 10 minutes, see how that feels. Go ahead, I’ll wait…Hey, back so soon? I’m sorry, whassat you say? Finger hurts a bit, does it now? Yeah, now imagine that being a part of your body that is only supposed to be treated with gentle, loving care (save for the occasionally naughty tweak to get the party started). Catch my drift?
-Babies cry. That’s what they do. They cry, they eat, they cry, they poop, cry some more, sleep a tiny bit, cry, cry, fart, stare into space with crossed eyes, poop, cry, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat. And cry. This is ONE HOUR OF YOUR DAY WITH A NEWBORN. So multiply that 24 times. And there’s Tuesday! Seriously though, if you were the one parent who was able to stop their baby from crying every single time they cried, you’d be rich, and could hire someone else to stop them from crying. Get some earplugs. Or not, you really do get used to it, I promise.
-Learn to do stuff with one hand/arm. Because, if you’re anything like me, you’re gonna be carrying that baby around for 99% of the first few months of it’s life. So start practicing when you’re pregnant, tie one arm behind your back and cook something, or start small and make a sandwich. Then work your way up. You’re gonna want to be able to do at least 60% of your normal routine as an amputee.
-Start stockpiling books/DVR’d tv/movies now, because you’re going to have a lot of time to kill. A LOT. If you’re going to sit on the couch rocking a baby to sleep for 3 hours every night, or up all night in a wicked feeding/sleeping vortex, then you may as well have some mindless entertainment to fill the void. And tv sucks at 3am, just so ya know.
-Most of all, most, most, most of all, please know this: you’re doing it PERFECT. There is no right way to be the mother to YOUR baby, except the way you’re doing it. You are the most perfect mother that baby could have ever hoped for. Trust in yourself. You are all that baby needs. Well, you and a really good swing.
So, there you have it. My best stuff from The Newborn Years. Also? It gets so much easier. And more fun. Soon, I promise. The first 3 months is mostly so you have ammunition when they turn into son-of-a-bitch, jerk ass teenagers, and you can scream at them about the amount of stitches you needed in your hoo-hah or the way your nipples used to bleed the minute you they so much as looked in your direction. You’re making memories here people. Enjoy it while you can.