Sunday, February 10, 2013

Totally Unsolicited and Probably Annoying Advice

My amazing sister-in-law gave birth this week. The day and evening we knew she was laboring we thought about her non-stop. As the night crept on we just wanted to hear the birth had happened so she could be out of pain. Z turned to me at one point, "Aren't you happy you NEVER HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN?" Um, as much as pictures of newborns make my ovaries ache the answer is yes. Although I asked him to remind me how much I didn't want to do it again after I held the baby. I know my resolve will crumble in that moment. Damn hormones.

So to E and K, two women who I love and respect and who I'm grateful are my family here is what I want to say to you as you embark on this insane and amazing and insane and life changing and INSANE event:

First of all, please, as with all advice when it comes to child rearing, take it or leave it. Who the hell am I? I've got a diagnosed mental illness and I regularly ask the internet for advice on how to raise my kids. I'm not rocking it over here. The other thing is this advice isn't just for you. It's for me as well. It's what I would do if I were a better Mom and better human. It's advice for all of us.

And I don't mean to seem all doom and gloom. I'm writing about the hard parts because the easy parts take care of themselves. The easy parts are also the most-of-the-time-parts. The amount of love and joy G will add to your life, man, just thinking about it makes me tear up. The good stuff is why we do this parenthood business, it is truly sublime and I wouldn't give it up if I could sleep in late a million times. Ok, maybe a million. But not a thousand for sure.

So the hard stuff. Well, there are going to be days when you wonder what the fuck you were thinking when you wanted kids. There are going to be hard times when you can't stand her, or yourselves, or each other. And I'm a hypocrite for giving you this advice because I don't to it myself. But. You need to forgive. Forgive yourselves, forgive each other, and forgive G.

Accept that the three of you are going to fuck up regularly. It makes dusting yourself off and trying again a tiny bit easier. I remember seeing the advice left by someone on one of your FB pages to just make sensible choices when it comes to this parenting thing and you'll be ok. Fantastic advice. And you guys will have no problem doing it 95% of the time. Don't beat yourself up for the other 5%. I know you both are super duper over achievers. You are allowed to get frustrated when parenting gets hard. You are allowed to want to give up and totally lose your shit every once in a while. You are allowed to fail. You can't control a lot of what happens now (hello G, week and a half late, huh?), which sucks balls. But the sooner you accept it (by the way, I still haven't after three and a half years) the happier you will all be.

You guys know that parenting these days is done under a microscope. Did you see the adorable video going around the interwebs of the baby waking up and dancing to Gangnam Style? A couple of days later did you see the meme going around pointing out that the kids were strapped into their car seats incorrectly? So ok, they totally were. But heaven fucking forbid someone puts something adorable on the internet without someone else telling them they are doing it wrong. Z has a friend who is struggling to nurse her 5 month old. The pediatrician suggested starting rice cereal to supplement and she shared the info with a friend who isn't a parent yet. The friend sent her an email reminding her that the WTO suggests exclusively nursing until 6 months. Because that is what someone who feels shitty enough about low milk supply needs to hear. I know you two will be able to block out most of that terrible noise. But the constant second guessing takes a toll without you realizing that is what's going on. You start to give yourself a hard time.

Is it shitty that I'm being heavy? E and K, maybe you guys should just enjoy G for a while and read this in a few weeks. Totally enjoy the postnatal bliss that is filling your house. I guess all I'm trying to say is don't be too hard on yourselves. You know what? You guys probably don't need this post at all. You are awesome ladies and I bet you have it covered. It's, um, a pretty good reminder for me, though.

Ok, ok, one last piece of advice. My mom had this brilliant idea when T was new and it has saved me a ton of time. Go buy a couple of lingerie bags for the laundry (I didn't know what they were-small zip up mesh bags) and use them to collect and launder her socks. So you don't spend a million years tracking them down and sifting through the wash to find them. I stopped doing it for a while and a sock slipped down over the barrel and made our belt snap. A cool $150 later and I was back to using the lingerie bag every time. Seriously. Do it. Now I'm done. Love you guys. See you in less than two weeks!

We can't wait to cover you in hugs and kisses G! Photo by Kelsey Leonardsmith.

A new baby in the family is making me nostalgic for my boys as newborns. Sweet T when he was about 10 days old. Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

And C with his lightning bolt birth mark when he was about the same age. Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith.

Holy shit this is making me want another baby. Which is insane. Clearly I need to go to bed. 


  1. I loved everything about this. I have broken at least 2-3 official rules since she came home.

    BTW, for once I took the photo of our baby.

    1. Phew.

      And shit! I'll change the photo credit immediately. xo