So, my little pint of Chunky Monkey is 5 weeks old. Yeesh.
It's been a pretty good five weeks, as far as things go. We've had our share of challenges, like being stuck inside for a solid week, because the weather was far too hot for a newborn. However, we've had so many wonderful times too, mostly sleeping baby cuddles, which far outweigh the stresses of those hard times. I mean, can we all agree that a sleeping chubby baby is the closest thing to perfect ever? In case you need further evidence of this...
Having a newborn is the strangest thing ever. There are days when I feel totally capable. We're all happy, the milk is flowing the way it should, and I even manage to shower AND wash my hair. I might put the same yoga pants and t-shirt on after my shower, but you know, baby steps. But then there are also the days where I never even re-do the bun I slept in, let alone shower. The baby is extra fussy, and no matter what either Ammon or I do, we are unable to soothe our little chunk. Those days bring us back to reality, and remind us that this parenting thing is no joke.
There are some key lessons that I've learned over the past few weeks though, and I think they're worth sharing. They are less parenting advice (although there's a little of that), more general life reflections: because parenting isn't really an activity, it's just a phase of life.
- Even if you think you don't need help, you totally, absolutely, unequivocally need all the help that you can get.
- Hire a housekeeper. Even if you don't have kids yet, or you don't think you have the budget. Your life will get so much better.
- Tune out 98% of what is on Facebook. It will make you anxious, cause you to second-guess yourself, stick you in the middle of the comparison trap, and generally make you miserable. The "hide notifications" button is your friend.
- You can go a suprisingly long time without washing your hair if you put it up and never take it down.
- Sometimes, the best advice doesn't come from the leading researchers in the field, but from [your] parents, doctors, and nurses who have been around the block. Parenting and life advice may often follow trends, but trendy is not always effective.
- Google the answers to questions you're too embarrassed to ask. Like, "Is it normal for newborns to be bow legged?" Or, "When do babies start rolling from tummy to back?" Often, I feel silly asking people these things, because there's never a convenient time to ask someone who might actually know the answer. Enter the one time that the internet is your friend as a parent. Just make sure that the question is specific, and that you don't get sucked into a rabbit hole of second guessing what is currently working for you.
- At the end of the day, you can't let other people's opinions on how you're rolling with the punches get you down. They don't know you or your family in nearly the same way that you do, so unless they are a respected advisor, like a Doctor, take everything that they say with a grain of salt. And if they are a trusted advisor, think about their suggestions, and really examine how they might or might not work before taking them at face value. There's tons of great advice out there in the world, but that advice is not going to work in every instance for every person.
- Finally, it's okay to not fully embrace certain aspects of your life all of the time. Big adjustments take time to come to terms with. Go at your own pace, and do the best you can. And if the rest just sucks, it's okay to feel that. It'll get better.
- Kissing a baby solves just about any problem that you might have. So does holding a sleeping baby.
For the parents out there: What life reflections would you add?