There are so many things they don’t tell you about parenting.
Probably because no one ever decided who “they” was, and the ones who should probably be saying those things you need to hear are too exhausted to remember if they fed the dogs today or bathed within the last 48 hours.
Then there are the experts. Either professionally titled or self-proclaimed, they say far, far too much. Not just in more graphic detail or with greater fervor than you ever wanted, but in terms of sheer volume of information.
They take the idea of internal locust of control to the nth degree. They count their macros and micromanage and insist that you can schedule and flowchart your way to the perfect child.
What To Expect When The First Year is 783 pages, not including the index in the back. And that’s assuming you ever graduated from pregnancy to child-rearing books.
What I desperately wanted at the time of having my now eight-month old child was more like a pamphlet. A tri-fold brochure you’d find on a rack in a hotel lobby. “How To Keep Your Baby Alive For 12 Months, The Highlights.”
I’m a big-picture person. I appreciate a good overview.
In preparation for this blog post, I tried to think if I could be a good and virtuous “they” and offer anything helpful to those that are a couple of steps behind me on the mom marathon.
The truth is, I got nothing. I have very few tricks, tips, Lord knows I haven’t found any shortcuts, but I can say this –
Don’t let yourself feel guilty. It will make you crazy(er than you already are).
Don’t do it. Don’t let yourself get mired in feeling you could or should have done something different or better.
For returning to work too early, for staying home from work too long. For not returning to work at all, even though you swore you would.
For not breastfeeding, for not breastfeeding long enough. For breastfeeding beyond common social standards.
For wondering if that sushi you ate while pregnant is the reason your baby is the last one at daycare to start crawling.
For wishing they still took healthy babies to the nursery so you could get some SLEEP while you’re still in the hospital. For crying when they take the baby away, just for a minute, to get a hearing test.
For letting them cry it out. For snuggling them at night and letting them fall asleep in your arms.
For not reading enough, and instead Googling things from your phone while holding a crying baby.
For telling your family to give you space. For telling your husband he’s just going to have to put up with your family all up in everyone’s space because you need them more than you thought you would.
For taking time to yourself when you need to escape. For temporarily abandoning hobbies that meant so much to you before baby.
For feeling like you’ve completely lost it.
(For scribbling your ideas for a blog post on the back of a note from your daycare while you sprinkle rice puffs in front of your baby to distract him.)
For all the thousands of things that make up your new life as a parent. Because your life is going to get reallllllll messy and you don’t have to have it all instantly figured out.
Just stick in there. You’ll find your way.
And eventually, you’ll find a day to squeeze in a good shower.