April 22, 2014 by Melanie L.
Practice makes perfect. That’s a given. Since, I have been “practicing” motherhood for just about five years, I now boast “child-rearing expert” as one of my accomplishments.
But, alas, it’s true. I did make some mistakes along the way. I figured, however, if I can save just one parent from making the same mistakes, my children’s future therapy bills will not have been in vain.
So, dear new moms (or moms-to-be), the following is a list of the six mistakes I regret making and my expert advice on avoiding the same.
MISTAKE #1: Referring to oneself in the third person
We all do it. When we first bring Junior home, we talk to Junior and refer to ourselves in the third person. “Mommy will get it for you.” “Mommy loves you.” “Is that for Mommy?”
But, avoid this mistake!
Instead, refer to yourself as “Fred.”* As in, “Aw, Fred’s here, shhh, there, there.” Or, “do you want Fred to kiss your boo-boo?” In four years, you’ll thank me when you are seated at an outdoor cafe, busy ignoring Junior in order to catch up with your fake friends on Facebook, when suddenly Junior starts acting like a little sh!t, pulling on your jacket and whining at full volume, “But, Freeeeeed, I need to pee RIGHT NOW!” passers-by might wonder where the hell is Fred but they most assuredly will not be judging you.
*My apologies to any moms already named Fred. If that’s the case, try substituting with “Richard.”**
**If you are a mom named “Richard,” please accept my condolences.
MISTAKE #2: Potty-training with little potties.
Speaking of peeing, many first time moms initiate potty training by buying those little potties or potty-seats. It’s hard to resist. They’re very cute. Some of them advertise multi-functionality; others play music. I particularly applaud the penis guard on the traditionally “girl” designs (yay!).
But, do not waste your money!
Instead, do not train your kids to use the potty at all. Oh, hell no! Believe me, when you are stuck on the highway in a five-hour back-up on the way home from visiting Gram and Gramps (or Bubbe and Zeyde) and you discover that Junior really is lactose intolerant after he sh!ts for the third time all over the top-of-the-line Britax car seat, you will thank me that Junior is still in diapers. Don’t worry, his college roommates will teach him how to expel all manner of bodily fluid later. It may or may not be in the bathroom, but at least you won’t be stuck cleaning the mess.
MISTAKE #3: Bottle-Feeding
If you are bottle-feeding your baby, you are a bad, bad mother. What is wrong with you?
Contrarily, if your non-lactating partner is bottle-feeding your baby, especially between the hours of 2 am to 5 am, s/he is a saint!
MISTAKE #4: Breast-Feeding
I know, I know: it is natural. It is what women were engineered to do. Besides, it’s all the rage.
First of all, the benefits to breast-feeding may have been overstated. But, more importantly, don’t fold to peer pressure!
Have you seen what you’ve been eating lately? You’re not fooling anyone with that organic, gluten-free diet. I know you inhaled that sleeve of Oreos in one sitting when you thought no one was looking! And I definitely saw you down that margarita like you hadn’t had alcohol in ten months! Do you really want to be teaching Junior bad habits this early on? Besides, breast-feeding is messy, inconvenient and sometimes painful.
Instead, join a breast milk sharing program and import that sh!t from the Internet.
When your rival co-worker has to excuse herself to pump in the tiny janitorial closet down the hall during her important presentation, you’ll be thanking me for the small advantage.
MISTAKE #5: Arguing in front of your baby
Now that I have resolved the breast vs. bottle dispute, I should mention that arguing with your partner in front of Junior is a huge mistake. I know you’re bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived and it’s sooo easy to just flip out at your partner when, for the millionth time, s/he held the baby this way instead of that way, but don’t do it! Even babies as young as a few months can pick up on the tense vibes when parents argue.
Instead, just get that divorce.*
Later, when Junior is a toddler and requires tons of instructions on everything from how to turn on a light switch (get the stool first if you can’t reach!) to washing his hands (soap and water, it’s not either/or), you’ll be thanking me that you only have one clueless dependent to instruct, rather than two.
The added bonus in correcting this mistake is that your non-existent social life is suddenly resurrected now that your ex is standing in as a free bi-weekly babysitter. Score!
* For those of you who are not legally married in the first place, substitute divorce with “permanent separation.”
MISTAKE #6: Trusting unreliable sources for advice
Like your mother. She knows jack-sh!t about raising babies today. Hell, she tried very hard to kill you when you were a baby. You narrowly escaped a potentially fatal diagnosis of Reyes syndrome after all the aspirin she gave you. Luckily for you, she was unsuccessful in killing you with SIDS every time she placed you to sleep on your stomach. She may have known enough to put you in an infant “car seat” but she may have put it on the floor of the car and definitely did not use the latch system. Gasp! With all the honey she gave you, you nearly died of botulism! Do not trust her!
Now, don’t go learning this the hard way. You’re welcome.