As a mom with a near-2-year-old toddler man-child, I think it is safe to say that my rookie "new" mom season is coming to a close. Now, I am well aware that in a way I will always be a rookie with my firstborn, since every day, stage and milestone is new for both of us; however, I feel it is my duty to share the top 10 mistakes I, and fellow rookie moms, made during our first year in the mama big league.
1. Thinking that the parenting books are the gospel of parenting, and when you or your child fails to meet the goals or milestones, you are sure you suck at parenting, and your kid hates you. WRONG! Those books are mere guidelines written by perfectionists; take them with a grain of salt and a bottle of wine. If you must read the parenting books, look for books with "this shit is crazy" in the title.
2. Thinking you have parenting figured out from all of the hours of advice you got while pregnant, and that your baby will NEVER be like those babies in the store that cry the whole time, stay up all hours and don't meet milestones on time, or God forbid, do not pick up baby sign language. Give it up. Give all of your preconceived ideas and plans up now. Parenting is hands-on learn-as-you-go. Nothing works out how you planned. (Don't fret, sometimes it works out even better!)
3. Wishing for new milestones. You will soon learn that days you could leave your baby in one spot and know they would stay there will be known as the "easy days." Wishing for crawling is like wishing for the dog to chew up your new favorite pair of shoes. Wishing for walking is like wishing for a tornado to remodel your home. Wishing for talking is like asking Congress to hold meetings in your bed at night. Trust me on this one, love the slug, because when the slug becomes mobile all hell breaks loose.
4. Cleaning the house while your family is away. They will turn your house back into a dump the minute they get home. Spot clean and disinfect the surfaces, then put your feet up, have a glass of wine, grab a magazine and enjoy the quiet time.
5. Thinking you can still have a social life, friends and normalcy once your baby is born. Sure, when you become a mom you still have Happy Hours, except now they are called nap time. I became the worst friend when I became a new mother. I was so damn tired at the end of the day, that the thought of going out instead of sitting on the couch enjoying baby-free peace and quiet was crazy! I am just now making regular baby-free outings with friends.
6. Expecting that you will experience marital/relationship bliss like you have never known when the baby arrives. Your family will be complete... Blah, blah, blah... WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Babies eat bliss then shit it out all over you. In fact, I have never heard of a relationship that gets stronger right after the new baby arrives. Marital bliss is one thing; being a strong parenting team is another. The two take a long time to meet up in the middle.
7. Thinking you will lose the baby weight before you leave the hospital, or at the very least in six weeks if you breastfeed. Not. Gonna. Happen. It took you 10 months to pack it on, it's gonna take work to lose it, and that's for a healthy, cardio-crazy 20-something. If you plan to lose the weight fast, you better have a damn good plan.
8. Buying new baby clothes every time you go to the store. I look back at the closet and drawers full of newborn and 3-6-month-old clothes I had ready before my baby even arrived, and think, dammit, what a waste of time and money! My son maybe wore two newborn outfits and grew out of 3-6 months by 4 months old. Buy the minimum, especially when your baby is young.
9. Thinking you can have nice things. Until your children move out of your home, you cannot have nice things. And from what I hear, they end up moving back in, bringing significant others, and then before you know it there is another baby running around. Just give up hope of nice things. Save the money for a vacation.
10. Making plans to be somewhere at a certain time. HAHAHAHAHA! Not gonna happen. Even if you tell yourself you have to be somewhere an hour early, there is a certain Murphy's Law to leaving the house on time with a baby/toddler. From the diaper bags full of crap and bottles, to the thinking you can plan around naps and feedings... An appointment will only be met when you do not have a baby in tow, and even then you have a plethora of variables that could work against you. My kid is 20 months old, and I still struggle to make it to the bathroom on time.