Earlier this week, a friend asked me to jot down some advice to share at a baby shower that I wasn't going to be able to make it to. So I did. And I kind of like what I wrote, and plus it's already written (which is a major advantage) so I decided what the hell, I'll share it here as well.
Everything on this list is a realization that came to me at some point in my own motherhood journey, so hopefully it's not the same tired shit that you've heard a billion times before. Or maybe it is. But there are pictures, so ... that helps?
Patent's Patented Advice to a First-Time Mother:
-- Dress your baby in whatever makes you happy.
Maybe that means nothing but pajamas for a year.
Maybe that means cutoff jean shorts every day.
Or maybe that means color-coordinated fancy outfits with matching bibs and shoes. Don't feel guilty for one single second about whatever you decide to dress your kid in. If hundreds of dollars of gifted clothing goes straight into a storage bin unworn, OH WELL. Don't you dare stress out about it. Don't. You. Dare.
My little peanut wore pajamas almost exclusively until she was 8 months old. Sorry, not sorry.
-- Go to bed at 7PM if you're tired. Hell, go to bed at 6PM.
Maybe you'll feel lame, like the world is going on without you. But the world will still be there when you're ready for it, and meanwhile you'll actually get a decent night's sleep.
While I was on maternity leave, Audrey and I often went to bed at 7PM and then didn't get up for the day until 7AM the next morning. (waking up 3x per night to eat, of course). This meant that if she had trouble going back to sleep, I had 4+ hours of cushion in my schedule to not be overly tired the next day.
-- Don't ever let yourself feel like you're falling behind. Even drug-addicted morons manage to raise kids that eventually walk, talk, know the alphabet, count to 100, and eat solid food. Everything will happen in good time.
-- There's no such thing as "too many pictures." Don't apologize for taking them and don't apologize for sharing them. Anyone who is offended by this can just eat your butt.
I mean come on. Babies are cute as f***.
-- If you can't find the time or energy to keep up with your hobbies for a while, don't worry -- the hobbies will still be there when you can. So will the favorite bars, and the favorite restaurants, and the friends you don't have much time for anymore. If "momness" takes you over at first, just let it happen. Don't forget who you are, but don't worry if you can't be that person for a little while. You WILL get a chance to be you again. I promise.
The best is when your baby is finally old enough to tag along on your hobbies. Beer festival with baby? Check.
So much of the stress of motherhood is stress we put on ourselves for no particular reason. "My baby goes to bed an hour earlier than everyone else's baby!" "My baby doesn't crawl yet!" "One book said it was good to give baby a bath every day, but another book said it was harmful to do that!" "My 10 month old is still eating baby food labelled for 4-6 month olds!" "She still doesn't sleep through the night!" "I didn't go out with my hiking club a single time this summer. WILL THE MOUNTAINS STILL BE THERE NEXT YEAR?"
Uhh ... probably?
STOP ALL OF THIS. Just stop. It's not as easy as that, but in a way, it kind of is as easy as that. Take these thoughts and these stresses and these comparisons and put them on a fire. Remember all the absolute morons who have managed to raise kids through to adulthood without issue. You're smarter than they are. You can do this.
Why does this post end with a picture of my baby at the grocery store? BECAUSE IT'S CUTE STOP QUESTIONING ME.