Today marks my 13th month of momming. Some might say more than that because they factor in the pregnancy, which I suppose makes me a 23 month mom – but since my head was in the toilet bowl for 10 months I can’t say I learned much worth sharing from those porcelain views.
Soooooo, in honor of 13 months of momming, here are 13 Cool Mom Tips for Surviving Those First 13 Months
13) Go for walks. Take as many walks a day as you can. Fresh air is the cure for a lot of issues. Cranky baby? Fresh air. Post partum darkness? Get some air. Stir crazy from a horrible nap schedule? Fresh air. Sunlight and fresh air is a wonderful fix and I can’t stress it enough, try a walk if it’s not the diaper or the bottle that the baby wants.
12) Join a Mommy Group. You need friends, you need resources and your baby needs to socialize. I actually recommend joining more than one group, but I realize schedules and finances make that unrealistic for many people.
11) Take time for yourself. Sometimes the hectic pace and unpredictability of the first year can swallow up new parents. Mom and Dad both need something once a week for themselves – something that’s not work. For me it’s basketball. You can’t be the best parent if you’re not in a good place and you’re showing your children the importance of having interests and hobbies.
10) Narrate everything. This is really important. If you pay attention to the radio and local TV ads, California is making a huge push to encourage parents to read and talk to their kids. In my parenting classes I’ve learned that language is developed before age 3 and that labeling objects or narrating what your baby is doing is a great way to increase their vocabularies. It may feel silly and awkward at first to be like “I see you banging that blue block against the red block” but the babies are absorbing the information.
9) Invest in a hand vacuum if you have long hair because the post birth hair loss is quite excessive.
8) Take a parenting class. Don’t assume you know what you’re doing. Recently in one of my classes I learned that I was using the car seat incorrectly! More shocking than that was the statistic she told me about something like 2/3’s of all parents use the car seat the wrong way! Did you know if your car seat has been in a car accident it is no longer considered safe and that you have to get a new one? Take a class, this is stuff I didn’t know and it’s incredibly important.
7) Babies bash each other in the face and pull hair as a way of saying “Hi”. Kinda like dogs when they sniff each others butts. This is unsettling at first and may cause you to run over and be like “NOOO!” or something – if you pause though, you’ll see most times the other baby is actually fine and you don’t have to intervene too much. That’s definitely a weird one the first few times both on the aggressor and victim side because it feels like the biggest situation in the world when another mom is freaking out. I retreat to my narration tactic and just say “Look, Meeku was trying to say hello, we can say hello, right Handful?” and then I take her hand and gently touch my face and my other hand to touch her face while repeating “gentle”. This is a long play. It takes a few run-ins before the kids embrace “gentle” but they eventually do. Depending on who the other mom / baby are, I either remove her from the situation or let them work it out.
6) Not all moms and dads think like you do. I still struggle with this. I assume everyone has the information I have because the resources are readily available. But just because I’m obsessed with Child Development, doesn’t mean other parents share my passion. Parents are going to mangle, not handle and mishandle situations in your face all the time. You’re going to have to parent in the moment a lot. For me this involves letting things slide from time to time, while other times it involves speaking up. I just try to remind myself that I’m the example The Handful is learning from and if I say one thing and do another I’ve negated a teachable moment.
5) Do favors for your fellow moms. Offer to pick up coffee after a particularly sleepless night, help babysit, take their dog for a walk. Little gestures from mom to mom are the most appreciated pick-me-ups and are important for everyone’s morale.
4) Your relationship with your partner is going to change. Communicate communicate communicate. One of my favorite phrases from our therapist to use is “I need this from you” or “It’s important to me …”. Dude, the fights that one saves us from!!!! “Baby Daddy, I need you to take the baby from 5 am – 7 am” instead of resentfully laying there while she cries and then ultimately getting her myself and hating him for the rest of the day. Assumptions are your enemy. The goal is to effectively parent, not accrue favor points or be a martyr for the cause.
3) Smell your baby’s mouth in the morning. BEST SMELL EVER.
2) What goes in, must come out. Broccoli is a super food and a super poop. I’m still recovering from that diaper.
1) Have fun with it! Pterodactyl with her, play hide & seek, let her try both swings at the park to make sure she’s on the best one. It’s easy to get caught up in the logistics of getting to the park and packing the diaper bag and making sure you have all the essentials, but you’re there to have fun! Today we were barking at all the dogs in the park and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. I’m sure we looked insane. I hope we gave a few other people a laugh too.