Sis and Kev,
You are just beginning the greatest adventure of your lives. You will hear soooo much advice that you will wonder what to believe and what to discard. You undoubtedly will research how to get your baby to sleep through the night, before eventually caving in to whatever works…….and I mean that literally. As new parents, you will have tons of people come to you with tips and unsolicited suggestions. It is okay to consider their knowledge but that doesn’t always mean it will work for you, or your parenting style. The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to love your children…..and all the self help manuals….well, they are not very helpful. I have spent hours, days, weeks of my life, googling home remedies for a colicky baby, a toddler that never sleeps, or how to raise a spirited child…..Let me, let you in on a bit of information; my kids taught me more than any author or any other parent. I know them better than some words on a page, and I have learned to adjust my compass to what fits their personalities. Now, with that being said I am going to offer you a bit of my wholehearted truth, the stuff NO ONE tells you about. The things that the Mothers of yester years has forgotten as time has faded the baffling task of parenting……let me tell you as a mother wading through the muck, mire and enchantment that being a parent teaches you.
- Every day will not be blissful. Being a parent IS blissful, but those who tell you every moment will be filled with joy…they are liars. When you have been wearing the same shirt for 3 days because your little guy won’t let you out of his sight, you will wish for a shower, a moment of peace, and that is totally normal. Do not let anyone guilt you for not enjoying every single second, because we are human and that is not possible. With that being said, rest assured MOST moments will be blissful…..and when you least expect them. Like the moment you have tried every trick in the book to quiet the baby, and then you find the trick that works. You look down on that face and his tiny eyelids flutter shut and he rests quietly on your chest…..THAT moment you will feel the most astounding accomplishment and the realization will set in that it is all worth it.
- Co-Sleep is for the best/Never Co-Sleep. Now, I personally fall into the No Co-Sleep Category but you ultimately decide what is best for you. Don’t fret when you decide to not sleep with Fidget and then you relent and he winds up in your bed one night because you are literally too tired to put him back in his crib. Or if you choose to sleep with him, don’t feel ashamed if later you realize this isn’t working for you and put him in his nursery. The truth is in the grand scheme of things, co-sleep, or not SLEEP is the key word and I promise you that you will do whatever you need to do to get that sleep. Do whatever it takes for some shut eye, I swear that I have, and I am not ashamed!!!!!!! Any sleep is way better than NONE! (I have literally slept standing up)
- Spend every second with your child. This is a struggle every parent has……the first few weeks or months will be spent memorizing every detail, but there will come a time that you want to go on a date, or sleep in, or just do nothing. That is totally acceptable…..having personal time really will help you be a better parent and you cannot neglect your relationship together. It is vital to not only be Fidget’s parents but a couple as well. He will grow up knowing that his parent’s relationship is essential, vital, and a part of him. When you become parents, you do not stop being a couple……against other myths….you still need time to connect……and during those times….yes, I am ENCOURAGING them…..(let me clear my throat *clear throat) you have a free, and VERY willing baby sitter!!!!!! You may know her, she is trustworthy and raising your nieces…at this point she has had 100% success at keeping her kiddos alive and they are turning out pretty darn spectacular….so dial 1-800-auntie-a!
- Breast is best/bottle only….Here is what gets me, each category is one extreme or the other. The truth is you will fret regardless of what you decide feeding wise. You will worry tirelessly about is he eating enough, is he hungry and on and on……The amazing thing is your baby is equipped to tell you just what he wants and coming from a long line of strong personalities…..I guarantee you he will let you know just what he wants and just when he wants it…..Now you can resist, I did, but in the end your child has unique needs and no one…..not even me can tell you better than him what works for him. Don’t you dare let someone condemn you if he is hungry, you will feed him by any means necessary….and I pity the fool that tries to let my little dude go hungry.
- To work or stay at home…..Geez, why does every decision like verge on either or? The truth is there is no right or wrong in raising kids…It is tricky business, heck I don’t know what I am doing half the time….Most of the time….I am surviving…..no joke!!! So if you need to make a decision on going back to work or staying home….it will not somehow change the course of Rhett’s life in a way that will alter who he turns out to be. The only advice I can offer is the time you are with him is what counts, not how much but how valuable you make it..that also gets challenging to occupy the growing demands of your little man but you got this!
- Never let him get dirty/dirt doesn’t hurt….I think there is a happy middle and I am positively certain that Fidget will be the cleanest/dustiest little cowboy this side of world. I bordered on certified OCD with my girls……still I have to talk myself down when they get a little dirt on them…….I am sure as I read this I am grimacing at the icing they have on their carefully, meticulously, expensive shirt……don’t think about it April, don’t think about it……my advice invest in shout, spray and wash, and oxi clean! But when you hold that baby after a long day playing in manure and somehow after a bath and the wonder of Baby Magic…..he smells just like Heaven. Remember that scent….the new wears off like with a brand new car! LOL I secretly still put baby lotion on my kids, (don’t judge me) thank goodness I can render that disorder as I can lather Fidget in it!
- To Let Him Cry/Hold Him…..I was in the belief that I should hold my girls when they needed soothing but only to reassure them. This was very hard, as I wanted to hold them all the time but life continues and chores and those baby slings just didn’t fit me right…..and I had sooooooo much to do……anyways, you will find there are times you have house work, chores, errands or things to do like SLEEP, did I mention how important sleep will become? If not remember when you forget every thing else…..SLEEP is so much of life you never realized until it was over. Like how you think how beautiful the sun is until it scorches you…….yeah, that is how you will feel when you miss sleep. Any who, the only thing that got me through was the fact that eventually I would not be able to carry my kids around. A cute newborn is so hard to put down (TRUST this rule does not apply to the aunt, repeat DOES NOT APPLY to the aunt, if the aunt is present relinquish the baby and no one gets hurt). The newborn stage is so precious and you will want to hold him all the time, and go for it. But be warned the newborn turns into a tantrum throwing toddler who will be heavy and will follow you around relentlessly. I had one of each lol! So, do yo’ thang’ if you want to let him cry…….do it, if you want to pick him up, go for it. If you are brave enough to do household chores with him around your neck and you so sleep deprived you truly don’t know if you are mopping the yard or the floor….then have at it! Like I said, there is no right or wrong……parenting is basically doing whatever works….don’t listen to the other people they are lying. If they had the secret to parenting they wouldn’t be at your baby shower they would be on a yacht!
- Bond with the baby 24/7 or let others help. Ok, first off, I am obviously partial to this area………let others help (insert the obsessed aunt)…but seriously, with Braelyn it was so easy, she was so good, as I hope Fidget is. And she was new, and the first baby in since my sister was born, everyone wanted her, I could barely keep her…….UTILIZE this time……because when baby #2 comes OR goodness forbid fidget is bad you will want all the help you can get……you may even beg lol No need to beg if he is magical and perfect like Braelyn was (which he will be of course)or he is bratty and beautiful like Brynlee, I got you. I have experienced both.
- Bond immediately or not…….well, obviously you are going to bond to your baby…….if you don’t I am open for applications to adopt the child…..only this child or any future children of you and Kev……this does not apply to other orphan kids of other genetic makeups……..lol Seriously, I thought I was over this baby thing but I guess I am not!! When he comes into this world all brand new and foreign to your prior life. There will be a moment of awestruckness that will leave you breathless and you will count his fingers, and toes, and memorize every beautifully perfect feature…..and that lasts for about 2 weeks……and there will be times you look at him and wonder why it never sleeps, or wants to eat every 30 minutes, or doesn’t want to eat ever, or enjoys screaming randomly and making you worry you got this whole thing wrong……and right before you give up and start crying yourself (if you cry it is acceptable……I have cried to the point both my girls went silent like what is up with mom crying……truthfully, I would have tried this earlier if I had known it worked)…….But then right before you start crying he falls asleep and you feel like the whole world just turned back on it’s axis, you revert to being mesmorized by his perfectness…..IF and I repeat IF he doesn’t stop crying……skip all the previous sections and just start wailing……I swear it works! LOL
- You will never have a life again/they are the only life you have……….these are both accurate. Your life will be altered but in the most amazingly, impossible, magical way that is imaginable. I cannot prepare you for this…….no one can. He will be the only life you have…….to some degree but you will need to cherish each other just as much as you treasure him…..it is not only important; it is vital. During the tag teaming the sleep squad, the diaper team, the feeding schedule it is easy to get lost in the madness of just surviving…..But do more than that…….Thrive, laugh at the moments that are so ridiculous that no one could even brace you for the moment you have urine streaming from your face and Kev has vomit all over his shirt and both of you are wearing bags under your eyes like a new accessory that you cannot discard…..just look to the side of you….that person beside you holding a smelly diaper or telling you it is your turn to burp him…….THAT is the person that you share your world with, that is the one that makes a difference in Fidget’s upbringing, not if you hold him constantly or let him self-sooth, not if you work or stay home, not if he is dirty or clean…….those things only build character, they will not alter his future….oh but his mom loving his dad, and his dad loving his mom…..well that will change his universe……… I have all the faith in the world in you…..and if you falter (I may secretly hope you do need help at some point) I am here. But most importantly you two got something great….each other……and if all else fails you got trusty ole’ Auntie A for back up… It will be hard, it will be challenging, and even though I know it is impossible as I look at my two babies turned children…….I have to ask you to try to cherish it……….even the endless days and sleepless nights, and exhaustion..and did I mention sleep-deprivation…they got one thing right it does go to quickly! I love you two, and my sweet nephew…on to your best adventure!!!!!! I am totally tagging along as the third wheel…..if you don’t like it you can totes leave Fidget with me any time 😉