I think the majority of first time mothers go into parenting knowing ZERO about what is going to happen. Parenting is truly the biggest learning experience I’ve ever faced. Aside from a few small things I picked up doing a little baby sitting when I was younger, I literally knew NOTHING about children, much less babies. From the moment your first child is born the learning begins. And three years in to this adventure called motherhood I’m still learning new things every day. For instance, just last week I learned from our pediatrician that a little brown sugar water can help with constipation. And the very next day I learned that you should not dress your child in their good clothes the day after serving said sugar water.
So for all of you new moms out there I thought I would put together a few tips I’ve learned to save you the trouble of having to figure these out on your own later. Trust me, there are some things that “What to Expect the First Year” just aren’t going to tell you!
- You may think that you want to push crawling, walking and talking, but believe me you don’t! Enjoy the time you have to just sit, once those babies start moving you’ll be burning calories like you’re running daily marathons. And talking? Sure it’s cute to hear that first mama and daddy, but when that becomes, “I want juice, I like juice, give me juice, where is my juice, I dropped my juice, I need more juice,” you’re sure to miss the days of occasional waa’s and woo’s.
- Too much sugar is in fact not a good thing. I always thought this was a myth. Something that parents made up years ago to keep kids from overeating sweets and turning into fatties. I was in fact wrong. I learned this after my son’s first encounter with ice cream which immediately turned him into the Tasmanian devil.
- Hangovers are actually easier to handle on days that you have to work vs. days you stay home. I can handle eight hours staring at my computer with a pounding headache much easier than eight hours of playgrounds, musical chairs and the hangover worst: duck, duck, goose. The last thing you want when you have a headache is a toddler banging you in the head.
- You’re house will never again be clean. Try as you may, as soon as you erase the crayon mural in your living room you are certain to have an “accident” on the bedroom sheets. Vomit stains on the carpet, milk spills in the kitchen, it never ends.
- Save your money for fancy toys when they are older, believe me, your toddler will be happier playing with the boxes his or her Christmas gifts came in than the gifts themselves. Better yet, throw some tupperware in the box. Tupperware is like an X Box for a 1 year old.
- Television is not the enemy. Although I don’t encourage all day Sponge Bob marathons, I have come to find turning on a few episodes of Scooby Doo from time to time not only allows me to get a few things done, but also has educational benefits for the kids. Where else is he going to learn how to outrun a zombie?
- Unless you are absolutely, 100% sure, something is going to happen, don’t mention it. I have made this mistake many times. “Nathan is coming over to play today” only to find out that Nathan has gotten a terrible case of diarrhea thirty minutes before his scheduled arrival time and won’t be making it. Or “how about we go to the pool today,” ten minutes before a downpour begins. There is nothing harder than explaining why you are a liar to your toddler.
- And this leads me too: honesty is not always the best policy. When my son is asking to go to the library on a day that I have a million other things to do it’s much easier for me to say, “the library is closed,” than to have to explain that we don’t have time to go to the library because mommy forgot to renew the tags on her car and has to go downtown with a check before the police arrest her.
- Unless you have a padded cell in your house time-out is a total waste of time. I’ve tried time-out in the bedroom, he simply plays with his toys in there. I’ve tried time-out in my bedroom, only to walk in and find him dressed in one of my shirts and wearing heels. I’ve even tried time-out in the bathroom where he entertained himself by pumping soap out of the dispenser the entire time creating a mini-skating rink on the bathroom floor. I’m a counter myself. “You better get yourself in this house by the time I count to five!” Luckily by the time I hit the number 3 my son has usually done what he was told, which is good thing because when I do finally hit 5 I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen next.
- Do not waste your time driving yourself insane reading all the books about first time parenting. My first child had acid reflux with a dash of colic and I spent hours and hours reading books and online information, trying to find a way to make things better. Eventually I gave up, and when I did I relaxed, and when I relaxed he seemed to relax. Every child is different and no book is going to tell you exactly what you are doing right or wrong. As long as you love and care for your child to the best of your ability, you're doing just fine.