Mamas and daddies… Y’all get plenty of advice on how to take care of a baby. Here’s my advice on how to TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.
The other night, we were waiting on a baby. Literally, we were 15 minutes away from the baby’s birth … spot-lights on, mama prepped, delivery table set, just waiting for the doctor to arrive. “Well,” the daddy said. “No going back now.”
I can’t imagine being any more vulnerable and open then this mama and daddy were in that moment. Physically, emotionally, mentally. My heart just swelled with love for them, thinking about everything that they had to look forward to, and everything they had to be afraid of.
I felt like I was standing with them 10,000 feet up in the air, airplane door wide open, while they buckled up their parachutes, getting ready to jump. “Don’t ever stop going on dates!” I said.
DON’T EVER STOP GOING ON DATES.
Trust me, no matter how much in love with each other you are today, a day will come as new parents when you’ll want to get a divorce. I’m talking 97.5% of you. (The other 2.5%, please message me … I would love relationship advice). You will hate each other so much that you might imagine all of the different ways to kill each other without getting caught. (NOTE – women or men alike, if you don’t feel safe at home, please contact 1-800-799-SAFE.)
Having a baby is like setting a bomb off in the middle of your marriage. Leaky boobs, sleep deprivation, financial stress, feelings of insecurity … it’s a demilitarized zone. You’re gonna have to find ways to fall in love with each other again. It might take some time.
When you’re ready, put a low-cut dress on (mamas), a nice cologne (daddies) and take each other out on a date. Make-out in the parking lot. Drink too much wine and uber yourselves home. If you can find someone trustworthy to watch your kid, stay out all night. YOU CANNOT TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR BABY IF YOU CAN’T TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER. Remember why you fell in love in the first place.
DITCH THE GUILT.
I remember once when my daughter was around 4 months old, I googled, “Games for babies.” Bahahahaha. Babies don’t need games. Mamas need games. It’s f***ing boring to take care of a baby sometimes.
As long as you’re holding and snuggling your baby, (and changing her diaper every once in a while) you are giving her everything she needs. She might have colic, like mine did, and scream her freaking head off for hours. You might get frantic and google … breastmilkallergy/reflux/glutenfree/doesmybabyhateme. If you want to switch to a macrobiotic diet in hopes your baby will stop crying, go right ahead. If you want to continue to eat pizza and drink beer without guilt, here’s an answer … JUST STOP FEELING GUILTY. Some babies cry. She’ll grow out of it.
LET EACH OTHER OFF THE HOOK.
Daddies, your wife/woman is going to spend an awful lot of time crying. It has nothing to do with you. Her hormones are all out of whack and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. She might yell at you for putting the baby’s diaper on backwards, or for getting non-organic milk, or for forgetting to feed the dog. Really what she needs from you is: 1) a meal that appears in front of her without any effort on her part, 2) an hour-long bath where she can’t hear the baby crying, 3) a nap, or 4) to be told she’s still beautiful. Trust me — try it and see.
Mamas, your husband is the father of your child. HE IS THE FATHER OF YOUR CHILD. Daddies have special powers, like throwing children violently up into the air, feeding them cookies and candy when they shouldn’t, and teaching them strength, confidence and fearlessness. That’s their job. If you ever want a day to come where you can hand him the baby, shut your bedroom door and sink into a dreamless, uninterrupted sleep … then stop controlling everything he does! He was not born competent at baby and child-care. He needs time and space to figure it out. Believe in him.
ENJOY EVERY MINUTE
No, scratch that. DON’T enjoy every minute. Some moments can go ahead and suck it. Sometimes you need to go and sit in your closet and cry. Sometimes you are gonna lose control and yell. It’s ok. It just means you are a person. Here’s better advice — don’t hold it inside. Say how you’re really feeling, and then ask for what you need. Life will be so much better.
YOU DO YOU.
Some people were born to have five children, homeschool them and teach them how to sustainably farm, raise bees, goats and heirloom vegetables, and never expose them to neuron-growth-distrupting screen-time. Others of us have one or two children, teach them how to draw outside of the lines, bring them camping, and allow them to watch kid’s shows way past their bedtime so we can watch Survivor with our husband, drink wine and eat pizza. We’re all doing the best we can.
You are beautiful and gifted in your own way. Live life the way YOU are meant to. Kick music together to the curb and instead do yoga at home. Water-color. Make bacon-wrapped donuts. Go for walks. Watch Downton Abbey. Figure out what makes you feel whole again, and the most like you, and DO THAT. YOU DO YOU MAMA. That’s the only way to live.