If there is one thing that I have learned in the past four years, through two pregnancies and being a mom of two kids, it’s that there are far too many sources of advice, tips, do’s and don’ts and just basic overall guidance on the journey from seeing those two pink lines to having to decide between using a “naughty spot” or a “naughty chair” or maybe even foregoing all of that naughty nonsense and getting your child to talk about their feelings instead. You’ve got books, the internet, magazines, doctors, friends and everyone else who all seem to have different ideas about how you should parent your child. Because all of that can get very confusing, I am creating this post as a one stop shop for all knowledge related to being a mom. You. are. welcome.
1. Pregnancy and Food: Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a mom! If you have not already, you will soon be visiting your doctor who will provide you with a list of foods that you cannot eat. Foods such as soft cheeses, cured meats, deli meat, stuffing baked inside a turkey, various types of fish, caffeine, too much sugar, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and the list goes on. Once you announce your pregnancy, you will have your friends, family members, co-workers, friendly ladies at the grocery store and other assorted strangers add to this list of baby harming foods. Let’s face it; nothing is safe. You’ve got your meats that are pumped with hormones and antibiotics and the rest of the foods that come wrapped in either plastic or pesticide. What is the answer? I will tell you. You should clearly eat nothing. Or maybe pie. I never had anyone tell me that I couldn’t eat pie. So choose to eat nothing or just pie and trust me, your baby will thank you.
2. Pregnancy and Stress: This one is very simple. You should not be stressed when you are pregnant. Stress can come from anywhere. Work can cause stress, the grocery store can cause stress; have you ever waited in the deli line at Market Basket? My recommendation for a stress-free pregnancy is to stay home and watch Glee. Now that’s a feel good show! The bright colors and the spontaneous bursts of song and dance are the perfect background for any growing baby. So kick back for the next nine months and enjoy Rachel and Kurt while you let someone else deal with whatever pesky little things life may hand you. Bill paying, meal planning…pshaw! Pass the remote.
3. The Birth Plan: Some people (not me obviously because my first baby was ten days past her due date, I had a scheduled induction and still hadn’t packed a bag) spend hours formulating a birth plan – researching, writing, re-writing, researching some more, and finally settling on a detailed plan that they bring to the hospital printed in triplicate on resume quality paper. I’m not saying that I didn’t have a birth plan at all. I’m saying that I didn’t follow my vaguely thought out birth plan. This might be because when I thought about planning my birth experience, I wasn’t in excruciating pain on a level that I had never experienced before. When I was trying to envision what I wanted my birth to be like, I wasn’t naked from the waist down with a different doctor or nurse all up in my business every hour telling me that I was doing great. I hadn’t been awake for more than 24 hours and my husband wasn’t reading potential middle name candidates to me from across the hospital room since we were really down to the wire and thought we should probably nail down a solid baby name. Did I mention that I’m kind of a last minute type of girl? So here’s what you should do. Lay down in your driveway and ask your husband to kind of try to run over you a little bit with the car. Enough to feel amazing amounts of pain, but not enough to hurt the baby. Once you are in that spot, go ahead and formulate the best plan that you can think of in order to get the baby from point A (your insides) to point B (your outsides). Because this could potentially interfere with your commitment to #2 above, you may skip this whole step entirely if you want to, and enjoy watching Sue Sylvester and her Cheerios plot against Mr. Schue.
4. Choosing Your Parenting Style: This is another topic that causes people to freely offer up copious amounts of unsolicited advice. Attachment parenting. Helicopter parenting. Free-range parenting. Tiger parenting. It seems that you should either leave your child alone in a room and let them figure it out, or you should never leave your child’s side until you drop them off at college. I’m leaving this one up to you.
5. Breastfeeding: Another tricky one. The good news is that pretty much all sources are in agreement that breast milk is the best possible thing that you can give to your baby. What can’t seem to be agreed upon is how long you should nurse. It appears that there are only two possible options to choose from: 1. Not long enough, or 2. Too long. So pick one and stick with it!
6. Potty Training: Well the internet will tell you that diapers are full of chemicals and so are the detergents used to clean cloth diapers. So those are both out. Some people will tell you that you should let your child take the lead when it comes to potty training. Some feel that elimination communication is the best way to go. What is right for you and your baby? I say to try to spend the first year cradling your baby over the open toilet naked. This will allow you to not have to cover that tiny bum in yucky chemicals and it should help to contain the mess. Now remember that all kids are different and learn at their own pace, so you may be in there for more than one year. Possibly even two to three. But it’s important to do what’s best for your child, so don’t give up! Toilet Cradling – it’s going to become a thing.
7. Feeding Your Child: This is very similar to #1. What you may want to do here is buy some chickens and some heirloom non GMO seeds when you find out that you are pregnant. Plant the seeds and feed your child whatever it is that you are now growing, mixed with the chicken eggs. This should be relatively safe and you can rest assured that it is far less life threatening than the conventional foods market. Or just feed your kids pie.
8. TV or not TV: Simple – not TV. All forms of media will turn your child’s brain to mush. You have worked so hard to get to this point; you do not want to throw your child’s life away now by subjecting them to TV shows. Although, that Your Baby Can Read thing looks pretty good. Maybe just try that.
9. Toys: Kids’ toys are basically a cesspool of baby brain melting garbage. Toys today can overstimulate your child, can stunt the growth of their imagination and are likely made with chemicals or paints that are probably just straight poison. Give your baby a block of unfinished wood and a recycled, repurposed piece of cloth and let their imagination run wild.
Parenting can be really overwhelming, so I hope that you have found this summary to be helpful. It should also be noted that I am neither a doctor nor an expert on anything, so 9 out of 10 doctors probably would not recommend anyone following my… ummmm… “advice”.
Happy parenting, enjoy the journey and just remember; the next time that the woman in front of you in line at Target gives you a disapproving look because you just bribed your kids with lollipops to get them to sit still for 5 more minutes, she doesn’t think she is a better mom than you. She knows she is.