Maybe I’m Not the One to Ask for New Parenting Advice
Recently someone I know told me his wife had just had a baby. He was apologizing for being “off” or not as on top of things as usual. After the obvious and enthusiastic “Congrats!” (as well as the relief that it’s someone else and not me) and all that, I couldn’t help myself:
“Screw the sleep when the baby sleeps. You’re not getting rest for at least a few years.”
Sometimes I forget that through email you can’t hear my tone. There’s no sarcasm font…yet. So I was left to wonder:
Uhh, too honest?
The advice I give to new parents – usually unsolicited and just part of a conversation where I let my sarcasm show – isn’t anything like what you’ll find in all the books you buy or websites you visit.
Buy lots of wine, beer, liquor, or your alcohol of choice. You’re going to need it. (No, I would never tell a breastfeeding woman that – but I will tell a new father to do it.) Sometimes, at the end of a long week or day…or morning, what you need is a drink of something that makes you feel like a grown-up – because the spaghetti-o’s you cleaned up off the floor sure don’t.
You don’t really think you’re going to sleep when the baby sleeps, do you? [Insert incredulous snort.] When Sean was first born, I can remember standing in the living room, rocking him back and forth (desperate to get him to stop crying and go the fuck back to sleep) as I dozed. Yep, I rocked, shushed (lovingly), and dozed while standing up.
You only need a few packs of onesies and some diapers. It’s okay if your half-naked most of the time. I swear to you, my kids only had on complete outfits when we needed to go somewhere. Until my oldest was about three, he lived in a diaper/pull-ups/Thomas the Tank Engine underpants.
You’re sure you want to make all your baby food from scratch? Call me when you’re crying because you can’t remember the last time you showered, then we’ll talk about that baby food thing. I think we all have amazing intentions when we know a baby is on the way, and when a pregnant woman goes into nesting mode, watch out. You’ll be spending a few hundred dollars on a blender – specifically for that homemade baby food.
Screw the playdates. Give your kid a box. You’ll all be happier. I’m the least social person I know. Getting together to watch two small children drool, ignore one another, and then fuss when they realized they weren’t alone – who is that other kid?? – in order to discuss all the “Mommy” things was never my style. And really, kids can entertain themselves with almost anything, including big empty boxes.
Yeah, so maybe I’m not the one who should give parenting advice. And really, if you’re looking for affirmations and guidance, I’m not the one. But if you need a margarita and a few laughs at your own expense, I’m probably your girl.