Thursday, September 20, 2012
12 Tips for Making it Through the First 12 Months
Congratulations on the news of your upcoming bundle of joy! You asked for some tips because you thought I was handling motherhood with such grace. My apologies for snorting and gracefully spraying coffee through my nose at you. You are such a kind soul and I really hate to burst your fuzzy "Yay, I'm pregnant and my life will look like the pages of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog" bubble.
Little man has been in my life for twelve whole months and while that certainly does not make me qualified to dispense child rearing advice (like that ever stopped anyone on the internets!), I think it does warrant twelve observations on motherhood. So here goes:
1) Adjust your love affair with food. Because truth is, you will never eat a hot meal again. In fact, the majority of your meals will consist of half eaten pieces of bread, cold lumps of scrambled eggs, and squished slivers of cheese covered in carpet fuzz. Consider it the best weight loss strategy ever!
2) Don't focus on looks alone. Your skin will be wrinklier, your hair frizzier, and your face bumpier. And you will know that your friends are lying through their teeth when they say motherhood looks gorgeous on you. But bask in their compliments anyhow.
3) Appreciate the kindness of strangers. There will come a time when your kid is covered in sticky orange goop from gnawing on a dried papaya spear at the grocery store. He will scream bloody murder when you try to take said spear away from him so you can pay for it. And a kindly checkout clerk will tell you it's no big deal because it's only one goopy spear (okay, half of a goopy spear because that baby can eat, even without teeth). You will want to cry at the generosity of said cashier. Do not do so because between you and the baby, one blubbery mess is enough. But do thank the kind cashier. Oh, and smile.
4) Don't set the bar crazy-high. There will be days you will be forced to feed your darling baby microwave-nuked meatballs from Costco. It doesn't matter if he's only had homemade organic purees up to this point. It also doesn't matter if you grow your own vegetables, make, and can your own artisanal sauces. The day of Costco meatballs will come and you need to accept it. Serve the meatballs with a side of homemade, free-trade quinoa if that makes you sleep better.
5) Learn to function on limited sleep. You will never need an alarm clock post-baby. Doesn't matter if the baby slept at 6 p.m. or 12 a.m. He will wake up at 5 a.m. so stop watching that episode of Downton Abbey and go to bed because "morning" is just five hours away!
6) Embrace all kinds of fashion. You know those teenage girls at the mall in their pajama bottoms? There may be something to that fashion trend after all, especially on a "morning" where you were up until 3 a.m. catching up on episodes of Downton Abbey.
7) Be prepared. Put a blazer in your trunk. In fact, throw an extra shirt, pair of jeans, and shoes in too. You never know when you'll find yourself in the middle of a pootastrophe or barfageddon.
8) Practice good hygiene. Invest in large quantities of hand sanitizer, baby wipes, washcloths, and club soda. Oh, and long fingernails which are great for scraping off dried baby cereal and other gunk on your clothes. Especially when the baby decides to rub his strawberries-and-cereal-smeared face into your shirt right before you need to leave for work.
9) Become an optimist. If the baby throws up on you one second after you've taken him out of the car and two seconds before you enter the house, that is a victory. It is really hard to get puke off of car seats and carpet. Trust me.
10) Don't judge other moms. Sure, it's easy to pass judgement on the mom plying her kid with Cheetos but we are all just doing our best to make it to tomorrow. And for the record, they sell all "natural" baby veggie straws that are quite tasty and a great distraction. Not that you should ever use food as a distraction.
11) Give yourself a break. You want to make your kid the perfect first birthday cake because that's your job as mom. There is a remote possibility said first birthday cake may look like a hot mess vaguely resembling a birthday cake (see above). Oh, and the picture may turn out blurry. Your kid will still enjoy tearing into it while you mentally freak out over the amount of processed white sugar he is eating.
12) Despite all of the above, motherhood is still the best gig ever.