I recently rummaged through a plastic tub in my closet in which I keep mementos and things for my son. You know – hospital bracelet, the “coming home” outfit, his certificate for completing his first swim lessons…
…and the advice cards. Oh, the advice cards. Cards my sweet shower attendees gave me with their best wishes and suggestions.
When you’re expecting a baby, and then become a parent, you will get loads of both solicited and unsolicited advice. By now, I take the unsolicited with a grain of salt and I try to catch myself every time I start a sentence with “you know what worked for me…” I think we are all well-intentioned, whether the advice is warranted or not, and maybe there’s something to be taken from each piece.
Now that I’m totally an expert, (you know, I have an almost 2-year-old, so, I’m a pro! ha!) I decided to look back at these advice cards, and look at what I’ve listened to, and what I might need to throw away.
- “Love/enjoy every moment – even the not-so-fun ones.” Poop (usually) washes out. Teething is a sign of a beautiful smile s l o w l y appearing before your very eyes. It’s true that a silver lining can be found in even the most trying of days.
- “Read to your baby.” Every day. Even before the kid knows what a book is. Reading opens so many doors, and is such a great bonding experience.
- “Don’t worry about keeping your house clean.” I’ve embraced this advice so much better in the last six months after I literally broke my arm dusting the mantle of my fireplace. I mean, I broke a bone! Cleaning is overrated. And dangerous!
- “Respect your children, if you want them to respect you.” How easy it is to forget that these tiny humans are learning from us even when we don’t expect it. I try to keep in mind how much my son is learning and becoming his own person even though he’s still so young.
- “Be confident – trust your instincts and your gut.” Sometimes it’s so hard to trust yourself – but you do know your child best.
- “Laugh.” It’s the best medicine.
- “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” L. O. L. Seriously, why do people always give this advice?! It’s right up there with the one about “taking advantage” of the abundance of sleep you get when you’re 9 months pregnant. It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t. My advice for future moms – sleep whenever you can. And know that one day (maybe 18 years from now), you will sleep again. For those mamas out there who’ve actually managed to do this – I applaud you.
- “Never shake a baby.” No, it’s not funny, but I love this piece of advice. It was from a non-parent who made it abundantly clear baby showers were not really her thing. The advice truly belongs in the “great” category, and what I love about it is how every parent needs to remind themselves of this sometimes. I remind myself of this almost every time I’m at the grocery store with my toddler when the “Hey Kids! Free cookie!” cookies are all gone.