I did not write the following pearls of wisdom, but I really needed to read them today. I hope you like this post as much as I did. It's from an amazing blog called Girl of Cardigan.
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TEN TRUE THINGS ABOUT THE FIRST YEAR OF PARENTHOOD:
I did a ridiculous amount of reading when I was pregnant. I read
natural parenting books and baby scheduling books and how to make your
baby happy with no crying and eating is good for everyone led by the
spirit of your baby your self books. If there was a book to read, rest assured, I gave it a go.
I thought I knew everything I’d need to know.
How much of that information did I actually use? Some. A
little. The best bits of this, a quick trick from that, but no single
book was spot-on accurate, and nothing was anywhere near as easy as all
my reading had led me to believe. Fable was just herself, and
apparently she hadn’t been reading the same stuff I’d been bingeing on.
All that reading was mostly a waste of time.
These are the words I wish I’d read instead, before jumping
headlong into the mommyhood with my books and my charts and my ideals
and my high horses. They’re flawed, and they aren’t all pretty, but
they’re hard won and honest and as true as I can get’em.
Here’s what I wish I’d known:
1. You are going to suck at this parenting gig and be awesome at it at the same time, all the time.
You will be a different parent every morning to a child who will also
be different, sometimes changing in just hours, or minutes, or before
your eyes. There will be good days and bad days, good minutes and bad
minutes, good choices and not so good ones. You will do some things,
probably a lot of things, wrong. Be gentle with yourself, because you
are wildly loved and incredibly needed. You are climbing Mt. Everest
with basically zero conditioning – expect to be kind of terrible at it
for awhile. You are beautiful. We are for you.
2. Post-partum bodies are squashy
and wobbly and
dimpled and stretched and foreign and embarrassing and difficult and
painful and gorgeously imperfect, and they tend to stay that way for
quite awhile. You made a human.
Now make your peace. Eat
good food. Walk around when you’re well enough. Listen to the people
who tell you you’re beautiful. Take them at their word. Remember where
your worth comes from.
3. Your baby is not like the other babies.
baby is the only one of herself who has ever been, and you and your
partner are the only experts on her. Your baby will not behave like the
books say, won’t like what she’s supposed to like, won’t do what she’s
supposed to do when she’s supposed to do it, and that’s normal and great
and perfectly okay. The best thing you can do is put down your
literature and get to know your baby. What does
What makes her laugh? How does she best fall asleep? What does hungry
sound like? The discovery of these things will serve you so much more
than any stranger’s care instructions ever will. You don’t have to make
your life or your family look like any particular model – you don’t
have to follow the rules. You just have to create a life that works for
you and fosters love and security and a whole lot of laughter. If that
looks like 2am pancake parties, I’m not going to tell on you. I might
actually admire you and be just a little bit jealous.
4. We have got to stop telling people that things should be easy and painless.
We live in a culture that equates ease with value – the easier it is,
the better it is, if it hurts you, something is wrong. Reality check:
sometimes things that are hard and painful are also really, really good.
Every once in a while as a parent, one of the things that you thought
would be really difficult turns out to be incredibly easy and
drama-free. This is called a miracle
, and though it
might be somehow related to some book you read and the alignment of the
stars and a magic way you pat the soles of your baby’s feet and the tea
you drink on Thursdays, it’s still mostly a miracle, and the odds of
that same miracle happening to EVERY OTHER PARENT EVERYWHERE are pretty
slim, even with books and stars and tea and so much foot-patting. We
get excited in our victories, and want to share them, but it’s important
to remember that we are all struggling with different issues. One
daddy’s easy is some mama’s nightmare. And just because your baby
doesn’t sleep through the night at five weeks or eat with a fork by her
first birthday or cries a lot or your boobs get sore from breastfeeding
(even though her latch is perfect) – just because it isn’t EASY and
PAINLESS – it isn’t necessarily wrong. Sometimes hard is okay,
sometimes, often, it’s even good. Hard is how we grow. And guess what,
kiddo – parenting is hard. Any book that tells you otherwise deserves
the big fat sticker of bullshit.
5. Speaking of bullshit, oh mylanta, the poop.
warn you. They tell you. And despite every warning, it is still
baffling and alarming and downright awe-inspiring how much of your next
year is going to be spent dealing with, assessing, smelling for, washing
off, evaluating, discussing, logging, and transporting poop. Get good
and comfy with poop, friends. The poop cometh. For whom the poop
tolls. The hunt for poop-tober – you get the idea.
6. The sooner you can figure out how to accept unwanted advice gracefully, the easier your year is going to be.
For whatever reason, people love to weigh in on babies – everyone has
an opinion, and everyone wants to share. I believe that most of this
advice is pretty well-intended – most of it falls into the “it worked for me and I am so happy and I want to share my joy joy joy with you because you look very tired
” category, which is at least only mildly offensive and really very sincere.
Here’s the thing – you can stumble through this crazy first 12 months
in defense mode, snapping witty comebacks at judgey old ladies or
know-it-all childless people, or you can decide to give everybody the
benefit of the doubt, smile and say thank you, and become very zen and
confident about knowing what’s best for your child and not giving one
ounce of your abundance of poop about what anyone else says.
If I were you, I’d aim for zen.
Nobody is out to get you. Everyone wants you to succeed. And screw
them all anyway, because you are raising a child, and that is awesome.
Did your kid eat something today? Is she relatively hygienically
sound? Smiles occasionally? You win all the things. You are awesome
enough to absorb any and all commentary, keep the bits you like, and
toss the bits you don’t. How sweet of them to care.
7. Start stretching, because it’s time to get flexible.
I’m not a big fan of general statements like “All babies like
swaddling” or “Co-sleeping is best for everybody,” but there is one I
can get behind – babies are really inconvenient. Your schedule, your
sleep, your stellar punctuality record, your deadlines, your best
shirts, your relationships – everything is about to get messy and
complicated. You have two choices – become a weepinghungrytiredmess of
doom, or swallow every ounce of pride you have and become flexible. Ask
for help. Admit failure. Be late. Stay in your pajamas. Ignore the
dishes. Let slide what can slide and rejoice when you make it through
with all your bare necessities intact. You are going to miss a few
parties and a lot of snoozes and probably many other important things,
and it will be okay. It will be better than okay. It will be amazing.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be one of those parents who gets a magic
baby who responds to the methods in whatever book you read or is just
naturally benevolent and fits like a glove into your fabulous and
organized life. Again, this is called a miracle
. We love you and are happy for you. Now please, shut up.
The most important thing to get for your baby is
not a Rock n’ Play, nor a good set of swaddling blankets, nor a high-end
stroller. The most important thing to get for your baby is a village.
Your village will keep you afloat. They will carry you when you are
tired, feed you when you are starving, forgive you when you are unkempt
and hours late and a neglectful friend who can’t remember to wear socks
let alone whose birthday it is. They will love your baby when you are
too tired or frustrated to hold her at the moment, because you are
imperfect and human and have imperfect and human failings. They will
remind you who you are when you start to think your whole life is only
about poop. They will lift you up.
9. We have to lift each other up
. Raising babies is
the hardest thing many of us have ever done. We can tear each other to
bits, criticize choices, and turn up noses, or we can love each other,
admire adorable babies, offer a hand, and celebrate victories. This is
not a difficult choice, people. Nobody cares that your way is better.
Everyone cares that your kid is gorgeous and let’s chat over coffee and
you been doing with your hair lately because, girlfriend, you look fabulous. Don’t be horrible.
It isn’t really that hard.
10. Success is found in being willing to grow.
the truth: you don’t know much of anything. A year from now, after
your fantastic kid turns one, you won’t know much of anything still.
Gather wisdom around you. Learn from your mistakes. Stay humble.
Stay open. When you know better, do better. Be a better parent
tomorrow than you were today, always, everyday, as often as you can.
Try things out and leave them behind shamelessly if they don’t work
out. Life isn’t a contest or a game – it’s simply only beautifully life
. Live the minutes instead of scoring them. Love that incredible baby.
Oh, lovely – you are going to have so much fun