The first time was survival: raptors in the kitchen at Jurassic Park, Battle of Hogwarts, King T’challah fighting for his throne survival. Yep, that’s how I would sum up the first 4 months of parenting. Tired is such an inadequate word that it’s comical.
The difference between my first and what I think is my last child is experiential perspective. I hate to say hindsight is 2020 so maybe hindsight can be 2005 when the peak of my day was getting ready for school while MTV played bangers in the background. What I’d give to watch my 14-year-old self paint on 1/4″ black eyeliner before jumping on furniture and thanking my fans as I transitioned seamlessly from JoJo to Lostprophets to Missy Elliott. That was a simpler time.
You know the unsolicited saying, “the days are long, but….the years are short.” Well, I’ll be, they were right. But now that I’m actually getting rest at night I want to share my personal thrival tips for those early days (read: years.)
Breastfeed and bottle feed
With my first baby, I tried nursing and my LC kept pushing me to keep going but then my baby started losing weight. I wasn’t going to nurse with my second and brought formula to the hospital, but the baby latched well immediately so I decided to do both. I got to sleep because my huz could feed the baby while I rested and that in itself changed the whole game. I’m also thrilled that when the baby’s teething I can give my nips a rest and let the bottle take the beating instead.
That isn’t up for discussion
If only people wanted to give out candles or wine at the same frequency as their unwanted anecdotes and advice this section might not be necessary. You don’t want to give your baby a certain food? Want to teach your baby the correct anatomical terms for their body? Haven’t started potty training? Plug in your own scenario, but if you get unsolicited advice or maybe a, “Well I did it with you,” all you have to say is, “It isn’t up for discussion.” Andy’s mom had her infant forward-facing in the front seat of her hatchback in Toy Story and it turned out fine, and while we’re #gratefulthankfulblessed that it did, we’re going to do it a little differently. You don’t have to be rude, but this is a polite yet firm way to let someone know you have a boundary there.
Have alone time in your own house
I am in the target market for most big box stores. I like walking the aisles with a beverage or snack in my hand while I sift through clearance endcaps; however, I’m rarely at home, in my own space, alone. It’s nice to get things done around the house (or not) at my own leisure and listen to the explicit versions of my favorite songs. Get out of here, Cocomelon.
Lose the baby weight later
The only thing that’s running a 5K is my hairline due to postpartum shedding. If my nipples so much as hear another baby sniffle then milk will fall like the Wall of Jericho at the sound of trumpets on the Seventh Day. I try to be kind to myself during my weekly spa day…that is, my uninterrupted shower where I listen to something that I like and do a full wash, condition, and protective style on my hair. Sometimes I feel insecure about my hormonal acne or my kangaroo pouch and sometimes I want to write my pre-pregnancy boobs a postcard to let them know I miss them, but I’ll run again someday and it won’t be because someone says, “Uh oh,” from another room.
Get low-maintenance friends you don’t have to compete with
My closest friends and I know it’s an outlier when one of us texts back immediately. We’re more likely to receive a response in 7-10 business days and we’re all fine with that because if you really need something then you’ll double-text or call. My friends and I realize that if we’re planning to meet somewhere at 9 AM that it’s a loose 9 AM and people will probably get there around 9:30 AM. It took me three kids to find my group and they’re beautifully hodge-podgy, but no one is trying to outdo anyone else here and that’s a good feeling.
Therapy, communicating with my spouse, and doing hot girl stuff with my friends like trivia night or a staycation.
“Alexa, play Schoolin Life by Beyonce and roll credits.”