You can read Doctor Spock if you want to. You can read books that promise you can stop expecting the unexpected. I am not knocking parenting books, I am just saying that a whole book is not necessary. All the tips you need about being a new mother are here:
Everything is disposable if there is enough puke on it. Handmade baby gifts are wonderful. The time and effort your loved ones put into the quilt with the unicorn theme or the blanket stitched with ancient threads from costumes that once graced the original Globe Theater are impressive. However, if your new little bundle of joy expels fluids from every orifice all over the work of art, the best course of action is to just throw it away. Seriously. That’s some disgusting shit. Put the thing in a bag and say your goodbyes. Or burn it. Throwing away or burning the sullied treasure depends entirely on whether or not your child eats solid foods yet.
Never miss an opportunity to nap. Everyone knows it’s important for the new mother to sleep. As far as advice goes, urging a new mother to get plenty of sleep is hall-of-fame advice. Grabbing all the seconds you can for napping is essential, but sometimes those seconds are elusive. Cutting corners saves you. However, since cutting corners has a negative connotation, we will call these ‘life hacks’ instead. For instance, don’t worry about boiling the pacifier every time your baby spits it out. Sooner or later, you will stop washing the binky off anyway. All mothers eventually stop washing off the pacifier. Why wait? You need sleep now.
Also, when your husband swears he will take the first middle of the night shift and then doesn’t because he’s too sound asleep, wait that shit out. He’s faking. He’s not sound asleep, he just doesn’t want to get up. Two can play that game. Besides, chances are, while the two of you are having your ‘who is the most sound asleep’ contest, the kid will fall back asleep.
Don’t forget, when you have a new baby, it’s like hitting the super lotto of excuses. These are golden days that should not be squandered. You can get out of every single event that you don’t want to attend by playing the “baby is sick” card. No one questions it. What new mother would leave her feverish infant in the care of another? Not even Aunt Edna could be mad at you for missing her seventh wedding if you have to care for your sick kid.
Prepare yourself for extreme emotions. For instance, if you return to work and Bob in the mail room looks at you and says, “Whoa! Are you pregnant again already?” do not jam a mechanical pencil into his neck. Yes, Bob deserves to die for that comment, but a jury probably wouldn’t feel right coming back with a “not guilty” verdict. Your baby needs you. People are insensitive twat monsters much of the time. When you are a new mother/ball of hormones, these people will get under your skin more easily. Be prepared. Do not let them win. You can always fantasize about their demise after the baby goes down for the night.
The baby’s father is a new parent, too. Don’t neglect the fact that he is going through his own changes as well. Sure, he isn’t sore, stretched out, hormonal, and producing milk like Bessie the bovine, but still, he’s going through changes. Change of any kind can be difficult. Refrain from smothering him in his sleep and keep the scoffing to a minimum. Remember, too much eye rolling will give you a headache.
Forget about the small breaks. Give yourself a big break. You have a roomful of adorable baby outfits and your little dewdrop has lived in white onesies for two weeks? Good for you! The baby does not care. You certainly don’t care. Your husband doesn’t notice when you change your hair from blond to plaid, so what are the odds he’s going to notice the baby’s outfits? Who else really matters? Your house has an odor somewhere between “diaper pail” and “baby lotion”? Doesn’t matter. Accept the lived-in look while you and your expanding family are getting to know each other.
You find yourself crying over spilled breast milk? Who cares how the saying goes? Cry away. Sometimes, fighting the urge to unleash the tears feels too exhausting. You will find your way back to yourself sooner or later. Then you can save the tears for the important things, like rom-coms and YouTube videos.
When you have a kid, you will be inundated with advice. Some will be good and some, not so much. You will hear old wives’ tales and feel overwhelmed by current trends in childrearing. You will have all this information coming in when you are tired, hormonal, and vulnerable.
At the end of the day, here is the only thing that matters: There is no one on the planet who knows better than you what your baby needs. All the books and in-laws in the world will not change that.
Now, get some sleep.