I rarely finish what I start.
But I have a lot of pregnant friends who genuinely seemed interested in my parenting expertise, you know, because I have one child and that automatically makes me an expert in all things baby and toddler.
When I was a new mom, anyone who'd been a mom even a day longer than me was a trove of information that I couldn't wait to glom onto. So to my first-time-mommy-to-be buddies, this is for you.
- Bring your pets a present home from the hospital so they adjust a little bit easier.
- Fix your hair and makeup before the first post-birth photos. They're going to be around a lot longer than that blissful moment of having just produced a person.
- Make sure your chest is covered up during said photos.
- Everything doesn't have to be organic. Sure, there's better packaging and you feel like it will make a difference, but chances are you'll be wasting money on organic washcloths when normal cotton ones are just fine.
- Despite the above statement, these are the best burp cloths. You will use them a ton.
- Observe other moms. If you see a stroller you like, ask them what kind it is and if you can try it out. It's a big investment and you want to know first-hand if it's a good one. Or just listen to me and get a Graco baby carrier with the stroller frame. Once they're out of the carrier, either get a Bob jogger – if you plan on jogging or hiking – or a Chicco Capri.
- If you want your husband to carry the baby more, get a Bjorn.
- Pampers Swaddlers are the best newborn diapers. When they're older, just get what they have at Costco.
- Always carry spare clothes for you and the baby.
- You don't need wipe warmers, a shopping cart cover, or baby mittens.
- Tell your parents not to visit the first month, unless they live nearby.
- Breastfeeding is hard. Study up on it now before you realize it's not the natural thing you expect it to be.
- Prenatal yoga didn't help me with delivery but it was nice to hang out with other pregnant ladies and you can have snacks the whole time.
- Get an iPad.
- The same rules apply to parenting that apply to home repairs: everything will cost twice as much and take twice as long as you think.
- People in public may not go ape-shit over how cute your baby is. It's ok. They just don't get it, but other moms do. We all know who the cutest baby in the world is.
- Shit happens. Literally. Soap and water exists for a reason and your Facebook friends don't ever need to know about it.
- If you ever find yourself typing the words poop, fart, pee, vomit, barf, puke, boogers, moist, chunky, snot, anal, rash, breast infection or scabies on social media, you may want to think twice about hitting the "Update Status" button. Although Blair Koenig is my Twitter friend, I still don't really want people I know to end up on STFU Parents.
- I know giving your kid a kooky-spelling name is the thing to do to make them yoo-neek, but think about who actually has to spell it the rest of their lives. Give them a break and let's take the "y"s and extra consonants out. Little Kattnyss will thank you for it.
- There is nothing wrong with cloth diapering or making your own baby food. There's nothing wrong with Huggies and Gerber. My point? What works for some may not for others and there's nothing wrong either way. We're all in this together, people. Don't judge.
- Except for vaccines...seriously, vaccinate your kids. We don't need to reintroduce polio, for crying out loud!
- Make sure your pediatrician checks for hip dysplasia.
- There is a such thing as being overly sanitary. Did you see this study that just came out about moms who suck the dirt off of binkies that fell on the floor? Those are the kids who don't have asthma. I'm not one to brag, I'm just someone who's always out of wipes. So L.E. has had one ear infection and two fevers in three years. It could be because I sucked the dirt off of her pacifier instead of washing it off. Score one for the lazys!
- You will always need wipes. Buy them in bulk and keep them in every room of the house.
- A leather diaper bag is stupid because it's heavy. Canvas is the way to go. Everyone says to get one that doesn't look like a diaper bag but guess what? That baby you're holding is pretty much a dead giveaway that you're packing bottles and wipes in that Kate Spade Stevie.
- Yes, you need a glider. No, you don't need the ottoman.
- An inflatable exercise ball is necessary for those days when you can't get the baby to stop crying so you just bounce. It also doubles as an ottoman.
- The Arm & Hammer diaper pail is the worst. Ours has been broken for two years. I should have gotten another one but I had potty-training delusionment.
- What do you mean delusionment isn't a word?
- People will give you unsolicited advice – not that I know anything about that. You asked me for this, remember? But take it with a grain of salt. Or come up with a trove of witty retorts about domestic abuse and people will leave you alone.
- Don't get rid of your maternity clothes. Even though I never plan on being pregnant again, I really miss some of those dresses.
- Yoga pants are real pants.
- Your feet may never return to their pre-baby size. But your ass will.
- Hold your husband accountable for his share. I can't tell you how shocked I am to hear that "Daddy isn't ready to handle the baby on his own yet." That's bullshit. Mommy needs to get out or perhaps Daddy will end up with a shovel blade impaled in his skull.
- Remember that you're not quite the same person you were before you became a mom and that's ok. You now have an amazing little person that will be your best friend and your worst enemy. It's ok to be all over the place and a little bit crazy for a while. You'll bounce back but you'll be slightly different. Wiser, more sensitive, more tired and with a way better sense of humor. You'll need it for all of the times you leave the house with spit-up on your shirt and forgetting to wear pants.
Tell me: what piece of advice was priceless for you when you became a new mom?