Back Home Again in Indiana
We’ve been at this whole parenting thing for just over a year now so we’re pretty much experts at this point. Just kidding. We know nothing. But I think that’s how you win round one of the parenting game – admit you have no idea what’s happening to your life. Of course, admitting that just opens the door for the parenting “experts” (aka everyone who’s ever caught a glimpse of a child) to bombard you with advice. I promise to never be that parent because, as we just established, I know nothing. I will, however, share with you what I’ve learned over the last year so you can feel better about your parenting expertise.
Lowering your standards is a game changer. If you’re like me, you went into this with all sorts of crazy ideas like making your own baby food and bathing every day. Guess what. It’s a real possibility your child will do nothing with that caringly made baby food other than throw it on the floor; so you could waste hours churning that out and cry as it hits the floor or you could just buy whatever the grocery store has and let out an annoyed sigh as you wipe a dollar off the floor with a paper towel. Also, showering daily isn’t a requirement. Every other day is perfectly fine. I even know people who can go 3 or more days, and to them I say, “You go, girl (guy).” I can’t do it because my head starts to get itchy, but just know that as I’m shampooing, I’m quietly seething in jealousy of your extra 30 minutes of sleep. I’m also looking at my shower and thinking how badly it needs to be cleaned, but that’s a separate issue.
This lowering of standards also applies to your child’s sheets. Odds are good you started this journey changing his sheets at 2 in the am because his diaper leaked or he spit up a little and you’re a good parent, but trust me – it’s only a matter of time until you realize you can just put him back down in the dry spot. Obviously if his diaper leaked poop or he threw up, change those suckers, but remember – pee is sterile and spit up is a snack so not unlike leaves of three, let that ish be.
The second most important thing I’ve learned is that literally every baby is different. The proof is in the bookstore: if all the babies were the same, would there be that many baby/parenting books? Exactly. Keep this in mind when idiots start asking things like if you’ve thought about physical therapy for your child because he’s not walking by age one. The only person whose opinion on these types of things matters is your pediatrician’s. Everyone else can suck it.
You know who else can suck it? These people with children who sleep through the night. Seriously. They can suck it straight to hell and bring me Starbucks on the way back.
And while we’re on the subject of life sustaining liquids, possibly the most important thing I’ve learned in this first year is it’s okay that wine is my best friend now. It’s there for me after a long day of screaming and nap fighting. It’s there for me when we take this child to a restaurant and I don’t trust a stage 5 meltdown’s not lurking around the corner. And it’s there for me when I haven’t slept in 3 days and have decided it’s someone else’s turn to experience the joys of not sleeping (I like to double down on those nights to make sure I’m out cold).
I’ve also learned important lessons like self medicating before shopping for baby clothes is a solid idea, being a boy mom will turn even the manliest of us into girly girls, and if you thought you’d never be a hoarder, just wait until you pop out a kid, but we’ve already covered those and as we all learned years ago, if you have time to re-read something, you have time to take a nap.