I have been a mother for five and a half years and I think I’m OK at it. I am by no means great, but I am also not the worst mom in the world. The way I see it is this: most people think their mom was the best. So unless I mess up royally, chances are my kids will think of me as more than half-way decent. I’ll take that.
Motherhood has had its ups and downs and it has been a wonderful [and frustrating] learning experience. So here are some tips for those of you just starting out, in no particular order.
1. When your child is first born, don’t wear cashmere. Or anything nice that is dry clean only. Newborns spit up a lot.
2. In fact, don’t buy anything nice. They will scratch, spill on, write on [with permanent markers] every single nice piece of furniture that you own.
3. Give up on the idea of having a ‘child-free’ zone in the house. The whole house is theirs. You’re just paying to live there.
5. There will be times when your own child will feel more like your Nemesis. Don’t hate yourself for it. This does not make you a bad person. It just makes you normal. Also, kids can be real a$%*&s sometimes.
6. When dishing out punishments BE VERY CAREFUL. If you are going to take away TV, iPad or other electronics use think twice before doing so on a Saturday. That is punishing yourself because you will be responsible for the kids’ entertainment for the entire weekend.
7. Always keep lollipops in your bag. They will be your best friend and can be used as bribes and rewards and will make flights, shopping trips and long car rides possible.
8. Do not make ridiculous promises to yourself like: you will not yell at your children, you will not be one of THOSE moms/dads, or you will never say “you will appreciate me when I’m gone”. Hate to break it to you. You will.
9. There will be days when you will start counting down to bedtime at 2pm.
10. Little kids cry a lot. Fell and hurt her knee? Cries. You won’t let him drink bath water? Cries. You are not a bad parent if you ignore the crying over the bath water.
11. Accept the fact that you will never enjoy a dessert in your children’s presence ever again. They will try it, eat it all, spit it out. Anything to keep you from enjoying it.
12. Other things you will not be able to enjoy in their presence include: reading a book, having a glass of wine, having a nice dinner, watching the news, having your first cup of coffee in the morning, talking on the phone.
13. Always bring wipes.
14. Always bring snacks.
15. Everyone is an expert/consultant: random person on the street will tell you to put a hat on the baby because he’s cold. Strangers in stores will tell you that your baby is crying because she’s hungry. Your mother or mother-in-law will say that you’re holding the newborn wrong. Don’t fight it. Just smile and nod.
16. Be prepared to break some of your own rules. Sure no sugary treats before lunch is a very reasonable rule to have. But if you are out trying to finish shopping for the week, and your toddler is bored and cranky and is about to throw the eggs on the floor give him a cookie. It’s not the end of the world.
17. In fact, most things are not the end of the world. Always keep that in mind.