In honor of friends that just had their first baby, and friends who are becoming part of a foster-to-adopt program, I wanted to share a little insight from a Mom who has learned that out of everything we have to worry about as parents, the most common ones don’t actually matter all that much. Having a young child with cancer really showed me that maybe I didn’t need to lose sleep over whether or not my infant was getting enough visual stimulation. Life lessons at their finest. You can read part 1 of this post here. In the meantime, here are other things that you *totally* don’t need to freak out over. Save that for first dates, mean girls in middle school, and knock-the-wind-out-of-you blows that life may deal along the way. You’re (almost) a parent. Get used to it.
Stuff to not worry about, cont’d.
- Tummy time, skin to skin, and visual stimulation. You know what stimulates babies? YOU. If every child in the history of ever was shielded from black and white swirly mobiles, I’m pretty sure we would still have lots of functional, intelligent people on the earth. I remember stressing over how much visual stimulation I was giving Punkin. By the time Smush came around, I realized something invaluable: babies could care less about zebra stripes. They like the sound of your voice. Same for tummy time and skin-to-skin. Our skin time was nursing. After bath snuggles are also fantastic. My girls all hated tummy time, so I opted for on-your-side time to avoid that whole flat head thing. I know a mom who does a 3 hour rotating schedule of skin-to-skin, tummy time, eat, sleep. Schedules are awesome, but good Lord, do you hate yourself? Parenting is hard enough without giving yourself a report card. Feed your baby. Clean your baby. Love your baby. That about sums it up.
- WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CHOICES? The Nerd and I researched every car seat readily available in America before Punkin was born. When we finally went to buy one at the store, it was discontinued. OMG. But we KNOW that the only one that could possibly keep her safe is the rear-facing to 40 lbs, front-facing to 65 lbs, cup-holder having, head support installing, burrows underground in case of nuclear attack Ultra Mega Seat Of The Gods. Or that other one we picked up that we still use 9 years later. Do some research. Pick a seat. Priority one: DO learn how to properly install it. That makes all the difference. Local police stations will help with that. Or local
pits of wasted moneybaby mega stores.
- Milestone schedules. Baby George rolled over at 4 months. Little Amy is already 4.5 months and still isn’t rolling over. She should probably be checked for spinal abnormalities. Please, for the love of your sanity and all that is good and holy, try really, really hard not to compare babies. They’re all so different. And for one very good reason: They were made that way. If God needed 7 billion Michael Jordans, or Billy Grahams, or George Bushes, or random kids down the street, He would have done that. But He didn’t. Because He knew that right now, the world needs that exact miracle you’re holding (or soon to hold) in your arms. Not the one your friend has. They have a different kid, with a different purpose. You don’t compare elephants and fish, because they’re two unique creatures, made with unique strengths and weaknesses. If God wanted you to have George who rolled over at 4 months, He would have given him to you. STOP COMPARING. Punkin took her first step at 10 months. She was running by 11. Smush didn’t even care about walking until 15 months. Punkin started talking at 9 months and was speaking in two-word phrases at 1 year. Smush barely even knew she could talk until she was 18 months old. They’re all different. Guidelines are important, but that’s what they are – guidelines – not absolutes. Punkin honestly never had a tantrum in her life. Goo met all the criteria for a few different psychological disorders because she was still having tantrums at 4. Then she stopped. Then she got cancer and started again. But guess what? I started having tantrums when she got cancer, too.
My final revelation for parents-to-be: If you’re worried about how good you’re going to be, it’s a really good indicator that you’ve got this in the bag. Because being a good parent starts with one thing: Love. If you already love your child – whom you haven’t even met – enough to be in the early stages of an anxiety disorder due to a desperation to be perfect, you’re already doing your job. Love them. Freak out sometimes. That’s parenting. There is absolutely no way to prepare for it. You just have to dive in head first, and pray. I recommend lots and lots of prayer. In my darkest hours as a mom, I found myself dropping the parenting books, and dropping to my knees to ask the ultimate Father what to do. Works like a charm.
That, and butt paste. Best diaper cream ever. Again, you’re welcome.