You do not talk about Babies
My husband and I have been saying this rule since the first week of bringing our first born home. If you talk about babies, you’re jinxing it. I said “She sleeps so well!” … And then she didn’t sleep for a week. He said “I think she’s going to sleep through the night!” And she woke up before he got the sentence out. We thought, “We totally have time for a movie.” And she’d wake up angry at us. If we commented on her eating so well, she’d go on a hunger strike.
We now try not to make any positive observations. When we do, the other will glare and spit out in hate “The First rule of babies!”
Ya know… watching that Fight Club clip… it’s surprising how similar having a baby actually is to Fight Club. The “fight” is only over when they tap out and go limp. “Fights” will go on as long as they have to… Yeeeeeah. That’s for sure. And the final rule of fight club is… if it’s your first night at fight club … you have to fight. If it’s your first kid… You’re going to fight so much. Fight the new life you have; to keep your old life; fight to make your kid what you thought he’d be; to accept that your kid is an individual; fight to teach him the alphabet; fight to get her to finish her green beans. So. Much. Fighting.
Do What Keeps You Sane
If not giving into your children’s craziness makes it easier for you to handle being a mommy, great! (Liar.) But if you cave on getting the princess fruit snacks instead of the hippie dehydrated fruit… Who cares? (Bad people, that’s who.) I always said I wouldn’t make a separate meal for my kid. And I didn’t for a long time. But that meant my husband and I ate a lot of hot dogs and mac n cheese. So now I make slightly altered meals for my girls. (Mostly I pull their food out before I season it.) I thought I’d limit the TV time severely. But I have days where I just need to be alone for five minutes. Or longer. And doing dishes, folding laundry… everything, is easier if you don’t have a kid in tow. You wanted to breast feed but it’s just too hard.
You want to do the things that those “Pinterest Moms” do; What all the books say. You want to do gift bags for Valentine’s day and never want to spank. But you need to remember that each life is different. So you maybe too busy the week of Valentines to muster up gift bags. Or your kid could not respond to any of the discipline tactics the books suggest.
If the guilt is too much for those things, find some coping mechanisms. Sneak pureed sweet potatoes into their mac n cheese. Make the only shows they watch educational. Do the same skin to skin you would do with a nursing baby while you bottle feed her. Buy the expensive Valentines that come with some sort of toy or candy or something. Have a glass of wine, mamma. A sane mommy is the mommy who can respond to their child’s real needs. Or emergencies. If you’re already at your wits end with the every day stuff, when the kid paints the wall with it’s poop it’s gonna be a lot harder to not end up on the 6 o’clock news.
Thou Shalt Not Judge
This goes hand in hand with do what keeps you sane. Because you don’t know what’s going on with another mom. She may all kinds of crap going on. She’s just doing what’s keeping her sane. You don’t know why she has a bottle instead of breast feeding. There could be any number of reasons for what they’re doing. If she’s not hurting you, then let it go. No dirty looks, not rolling your eyes.
So stop judging her in her phone at the playground. Or her kid screaming at the store. Or tantrum-ing in church. She’s probably just barely holding on. If you’re not currently struggling, be a doll and offer to help. We have all been there.
Vaccinate your Kids
Oh, look! A loop hole! You can totally judge this one, though. Because it affects your kids, too. So judge away, momma. Because, unless there’s a legit allergy or sensitivity or immune disease… there’s not a single reason I can think of to put your dirty hippie, disease vulnerable kids around mine.
My kids eat dirt, sure. But they don’t have freakin’ measles.
It’s a lot easier to Keep them Happy than to Make them Happy.
Dads don’t get this. They say “Oh let her fuss a little!” or “She’s fiiiiiiine” or “Would you stop freaking out over every little cry?” But they don’t get it. Because when the baby gets really cranky, what do they do? That’s right, they give the baby to you. So of course you want to keep the baby happy. Because getting up and giving the baby his pacifier once every few hours is easier than getting up and staying up for 45 minutes trying to calm the baby back down.
If You Wouldn’t Do it to a Stranger, Don’t do it to a Toddler
Toddlers and babies are picky. You don’t know what’s going to set them off. The very same thing that made them squeal with glee the last time you did it could send them in a baby hulk rage if done again. So, this one’s simple. If you wouldn’t do it to an adult stranger, don’t do it to a toddler. Especially not a toddler stranger. So… Stop coming up to my kid in the store and trying to tickle them. Creepers.
You Wake the Baby; You Take the Baby
If you’re being loud and I warn you the baby is asleep and you persist until my baby is woken up; You will be taking care of the baby until it’s sleeping again. I don’t even care if it’s my 5 year old who wakes her. She can freakin’ feed her and make googly faces at her until she’s back to sleep. Which she loves doing… for about 5 minutes. But when she has to do it for an hour, she’ll think twice about screaming outside the baby’s door.
Personally, though, I like saying this to my husband, who loves to watch TV too loudly. (He’s probably just deaf because he’s in a loud as heck plane all the time, but seriously. Just read the subtitles. Don’t wake the freakin’ baby.) I like it when HE has to keep the baby because then he can realize how hard it is to put the baby back to sleep and maybe, just maybe he’ll think twice next time, too. (hahahaha riiiiiiight.)
When you’re a new mom, you think the key to your sanity is keeping your baby happy. So you jump through hoops. You say “The baby sleeps better while I’m rocking her” or “I just need to do one more load of laundry while they’re napping.” But you can’t always make baby happy (Hard lesson, there) and you’re better equipped to handle a pissy baby if you’re well rested. And if you have a bad sleeper for a baby… no one gives a shit about your laundry piling up. Tell your husband to do it. (hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha)
You Are Part of a Team
So yeah, obviously if you’re a single mom this may not apply to you. But if you’re a married parent, heed this advice: Do not take it all on yourself. Even if you’re a stay at home mom. Maybe especially if you’re a stay at home mom. Yes. The baby goes down better and more smoothly with you. But you can’t be the one to do it every single night. What about if you both want a date night? The baby has to get used to other people and the first step to that is getting used to daddy.
And it goes back to staying sane. It may creep up on you; you may think you’re handling the pressures on your own just fine. And then one day you aren’t. And then you have to play catch up and basically have to run away from it all for a bit. Take breaks. Rely on your spouse. They’re a parent, too. Anything you do, they should be able to do, too. It’s sometimes work “training” baby and hubby to accept him into the routines, but it’s vital to your mental health.