I troll a lot of new mom, new dad, and expecting parents’ forums and blogs. Even in my own birth club, I’m constantly finding parents who are expecting entirely too much of their tiny humans. And, truthfully, I get it. We’re all excited. Babies are wonderful. We can’t wait to make memories. We can’t wait to play games. We can’t wait until our babies reach that next milestone. You know, the one where they can amuse themselves for long enough for you to eat breakfast. What’s that called? Oh, right: an illusion.
Too many new parents are heaving toward the imaginary finish line of toddlerhood. And I have one thing to say to them: slow the fuck down. These moments – the ones you desperately want to leave behind – are memories you could be making. So, relax. And, also, stop worrying about these things:
1. My newborn will look like the Gerber baby. Hahaha. You’re crazy. See that adorable picture of my son, Clark, smiling? Yeah. It took us 7 weeks to get to “social smiles”, and, for the first 5 weeks of his life, he lived in hats. Not because it was cold. He was born at the end of July. No. He wore hats because, although no longer cone-like, he had Bozo hair. Yes, I repeat, BOZO HAIR. He had hair only on the sides of his head. He was bald on the top. Adorable (to me). Awkward and worthy of unsavory comments from frenemies. Thus, the hat.
2. When my baby reaches X milestone, weight, age, etc. he/she will sleep through the night. That’s cute. Tell me more about how you’re going to have the perfect child who miraculously adapts to your ideal schedule. Prove me wrong when your baby does abide by your rules. I have one thing to tell you: you are seriously overestimating your child’s consideration for your life. Seriously. And, your baby is fooling you. Clark STTN (that’s slept through the night, for you non-mommy versed peasants) for 1.5 weeks, then he decided he was bored with that shit and wanted to wake up every hour. Then he got bored with that and STTN again. Every night, I lay my head on the pillow expecting nothing. And, you know what? I’m happier that way. If I get to sleep, great. If I don’t? Well, I get to spend the day with my baby. Honestly, what’s better than that?
3. Other people are crazy and must not be good parents because they don’t do it our way. Stop hating on your in-laws, relatives, friends, and acquaintances for the way they choose to parent. And stop insisting that anyone who looks at your baby must have the same methods that you do. If you want to drive yourself insane, stick with your sense of superiority. But, if you want to retain any sense of integrity at all, respect others. I’m not saying leave your baby with a convicted sex offender. That is clearly out of the question. What I’m saying is, as long as the people who want to love your child and who want to give you a break are supervising/attending to your baby in a safe, clean manner, then give yourself permission to relax. Maybe your mother-in-law has a different style of swaddling, or your father-in-law wants to calm the baby down (even though you know your little one seriously needs a bottle (or boob)). It’s easy to get upset because you know your baby best. But, take a deep breath. It’s all okay. If your baby cries for three extra seconds, it will not lead to brain damage (no, not even in that part of the brain that is affected by the cry-it-out method and found in serial killers). You have to let other caretakers learn, too. The way that you did. You know, when you came home from the hospital and didn’t know it all? Yeah, remember that? If you let others help you, you will be a much happier person.
Do every human being on the planet earth a favor and give yourself permission to enjoy the day. Live in the moment. Cherish each new achievement. But don’t rush the milestones. And, remember, Beethoven was deaf. So, if your baby doesn’t roll over by the sixth month, that doesn’t mean the Olympics are out of the question. But you know what it does mean? It means you need to calm the fuck down. For real, though.