I know you’re just trying to help, but you aren’t helping—quite the opposite in fact. Unless I ask for your parenting advice, I don’t want it. I don’t need it. Not interested.
So, don’t tell me to…
1. Enjoy this time because it goes so fast.
Everything goes fast when you’re finally through it. If you ask any World War II veteran how slow time went from the Invasion of Normandy to when Madonna made everyone from PepsiCo to the Vatican crap their pants with her video, Like a Prayer, I bet he would say it’s been the blink of an eye—just like all those parents of older children saying this to you right now.
2. Just relax.
It’s just a crying baby who hasn’t napped in 12 hours. You’ve got this. Have some tea.
3. Nap when the baby naps.
The only feasible time to do this is when the baby is in utero, and that’s only if you can find a comfortable position. So, basically, nope.
4. They’ll grow out of it.
Sure, if you’re talking about teething. That’s because they only have 20 of them. Everything else is a crapshoot.
5. It gets easier.
No, it doesn’t. That’s not how parenting works.
6. What a fun age!
Yes, back-talking and saying “no” is awesome. So is peeing on my couch and floor like a puppy that isn’t house trained. I’m sure the rebellious tween years will also be “fun”—hopefully with fewer urine stains on my bed.
7. Keep trying. You’ll get the hang of breastfeeding.
You can’t force a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn’t always work for everyone. Nothing is more unnerving than someone telling you that your lousy latching baby, who doesn’t have a fully developed suck reflex, will get better. If yours did, congratulations. Mine did not.
8. I need to get out more.
Are you volunteering to babysit?
9. Find friends at playgroups.
Finding parent friends whom you get along with at playgroups isn’t like speed dating. You don’t just pick someone and say, “Well, I like her sweater so…I guess I’ll marry that one.” There’s a complicated chemistry in finding people with whom you connect outside of “I have kids too!” I’ve never found any soul mates at playgroups. I did, however, find a few ladies who were happy to point out all the things my kids should already be doing by their age at that particular time. I also found a lady who was 210% OK with drinking at playgroups. She was also very drunk at the time. She may have been my spirit animal.
10. Have patience.
Sure, it’s a virtue. But so are integrity and dignity, and I don’t have those anymore either. I have no issues lying to my kids about what happens if they don’t eat broccoli. As for dignity, I lost that the day I had to clean poop off my child’s entire crib, and some of it accidentally ended up in my hair—maybe on my forehead too—and I had to get the door when UPS rang.
I know I’ll be one of these people who find themselves regurgitating at least one of these lines to someone someday. When most of this is finally behind me, I’ll heal. I’ll bounce back just like Pepsi’s popularity despite the stigmata and burning crosses inadvertently used to advertise their soda. I will say these things because my mind will fast-forward through the things I don’t want to remember. So yes, I probably will rattle off that it gets easier, enjoy this time, it’s a very fun age, and you need to get out more.