Most moms frantically prepare to welcome their first born, spending several months in a haze of fear and excitement, trying to do everything right. But if I could go back to that time, and bring my years of experience to meet face to face with my “about to be a mom” self, I’d tell myself to kick back in that brand-spankin’-new glider and listen up - to 20 tips the now more mature “mommy” me wanted to share:
1. You won’t “love every moment”, even though every parent of a college kid tells you to.
2. You probably won’t follow through with that plan to have a bilingual toddler.
3. You’ll obsess over what your baby eats way more than you ever cared about what you were eating (and put a lot more thought into preparing peas than you ever thought you would).
4. Any white baby clothes that don’t come in a pack of 6, return now.
5. And put back the wipes warmer while you’re at it.
6. No matter how hard you try, your kid will occasionally scream, tantrum and fight. And I use the word “occasionally” lightly.
7. Don’t stress so hard over the pattern of your crib sheets. The baby won’t care and neither will your visitors or (especially) your husband.
8. You will curse in front of your child. I know you think you won’t but just wait until she throws up in your hair as you’re headed out the door.
9. Getting pee and poop on your hands and clothing won’t bother you nearly as much as you think it will.
10. You’ll soon understand why every mom thinks their child is the most gorgeous (except yours really is).
11. You actually don’t need 7 hours of sleep to have a productive day. You’ll do surprisingly well on 4.
12. You’re going to seriously reconsider your vow to never have a nanny.
13. You’ll have a momentous newfound respect for stay-home moms.
14. At some point your kids will melt down in a restaurant. You’ll be “that mom,” sometimes.
15. Having a healthy kid really is all that matters.
16. Family members will have lots of opinions on how you are doing your job. You’ll get incredibly good at smiling and tuning it out.
17. Your 5 year anniversary trip to Bali (planned during your honeymoon) will probably be a 2 night staycation, but any time kid-free at a hotel will feel like heaven.
18. You’ll be astounded that anyone ever has more than one child, until you wake up one day desperate for #2.
19. You’ll hate when your kid’s separation anxiety means she won’t let you out of your sight, but secretly you’ll really love it.
20. The baby days are over in the blink of an eye.
So I’m not going to tell you to enjoy every moment. I’ll simply remind you that the days are long but the years are short. So take more deep breaths, let more people help and try to enjoy the ride. And remember, no matter how big that little one gets, they’ll always be your baby.
Jacqueline Goldschneider is a freelance writer and a mother of four living in Bergen County