Starbucks

“It Goes By So Fast” and Other Things I Won’t Say to New Parents

When you become a parent, you are inundated with advice. Some solicited but mostly unsolicited advice about things that never crossed your mind. My baby is 5 days old and I’m supposed to establish a bedtime routine? The best way to cure jaundice is a light lamp, like the one you find at a buffet?? If I don’t start tummy time now, he could be a three year-old that can’t hold up his own head??? 

Everything is overwhelming and it becomes even more so when you couple a crying newborn with sleep deprivation and the realization that it is now your responsibility to keep this sweet little perfect life alive for the rest of your life.

Here are a few things I refuse to say to new parents. Most of these phrases are well-intended. But to a new parent, some of these can provide unnecessary guilt that they are already failing as a mother or father. 

It’s understandable that a new baby sends everyone down memory lane. But give new parents some breathing space! Their hearts and fears have likely tripled in size — and so have their Starbucks orders.

“Enjoy this time — it goes by so fast!”

How many hours of continuous sleep did you get last night? I’m sorry, did you say 7? A new parent is lucky if they can squeeze in an hour between cries. Two or more hours of continuous sleep and the parent wakes up in a complete panic that they’ve failed at monitoring their baby’s every breath and now something horrible has happened.

This time does not go by fast when you’re in it.

Every hour is laden with questions – is the baby hungry? Gassy? Wet diaper? Happy? Am I doing this right? Can you die from sleep deprivation? The last thing a parent needs to hear is that they’re not enjoying this enough and that enjoying this is something they need to do ASAP because hurry, time is slip, slip, slipping away!

If anyone fails to remember this sweet but arduous time, offer to babysit for a day, or better yet, a night. And, please, don’t forget to enjoy it! 

“Have you tried a white noise machine? Crying it out? Blackout curtains? A sleepsack? Dream feeding? Working on the feng shui of the room?”

I have never been one for giving advice. Even if someone asks me for advice, I’ll preface it with, “well, here’s what I’ve done…”. The thing is, every baby is an individual. What works for one will not work for another. Everything is trial and error. And allow me to let you in on a little secret – new parents aren’t really looking for advice. They’re looking for empathy.

I once had another mother at work preach to me about how I needed to use the cry-it-out method to get Mason to sleep because that’s the only thing that worked with her kids. She coldly listed out step-by-step what I needed to do and if I didn’t, my child would never learn to sleep on his own. As I sat there staring at her with droopy eyelids, fighting the urge to give her a good slap in the face (yep, I said it), I thought to myself, I will never do this to someone else.

All I really wanted was a big hug, a fellow parent to tell me it was going to be alright and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. That’s it. I didn’t need advice and to be told that sorry, those black-out curtains, the white noise machine, the perfectly set room temperature, the sleepsack, and our bathtime routine were all for not. 

Don’t rattle off the recipe that worked for you or the one product that changed your family’s life. Only share if the parent specifically asks you. Then look into their eyes, which have probably been open the past 48 hours or more, and give them a hug.

“But aren’t you worried that [insert catastrophic situation here]?”

This one. Out of everything you could say to a parent, this one is the worst. Questioning the way another parent is doing things then twisting the knife and laying out the potential consequences of said decision.

I’ve only experienced this a handful of times (to my face!) and could not believe these kind of people exist in the world. 

This phrase is rooted in insecurity and applies to more life situations than parenthood. The person is threatened somehow by your way of doing things because it’s different than the way they do things. Let’s be honest — they’re also afraid this way of doing things might be easier or more successful than their way. 

Newsflash: parenting isn’t a competition. No one gets a medal at the end of this lifelong run. No one stands on a podium and declares, “I won because I fed Jimmy organic and gluten-free meals his entire life!” 

We are in this together. Look at your fellow parents as teammates. We all go through ups and downs, times we want to squeeze our children forever because we love them so much, and times we ponder just how dangerous hitchhiking could really be.

Don’t question other parents! They’re doing what works for them and you’re doing what works for you. At the end of the day, we all have crumbs in our car seats. 

***

Mom in Manolos_Smiling BabyNew parents, if you’re reading this, I got your back. I’m not saying I won’t tell you there are precious moments to be had with your newborn, because there are, but I will tell you that you’re doing a phenomenal job, you’re going through all the emotions and motions every new parent goes through, and welcome to this crazy beautiful club! 

Mom in Manolos, Washington D.C.

Let Me Count the Ways… | Why Target is My Lifeline

Embracing my #basic side has never been a problem for me so here’s to being “that girl.” I have always loved Target, even before I became a mom and pronounced it (in hushed tones) as “Tar-jay.” Now, Target is my go-to savior on rainy day Saturdays with a bored toddler and weekday nights when I forgot about that thing I should have picked up yesterday. How do I love thee, Target with the hard ‘t’? Let me count the ways…

1 \\ Starbucks greets me at the door.

Do I really need to say anything else? You might as well hook me up every morning to an I.V. of coffee because that is how I’m sitting here, wine glass in hand (uppers in the morning, downers at night), Access Hollywood on, writing this post. I can hear those amens – and they’re not just coming from parents. Starbucks, great job sucking up your pride and agreeing to merge with the suburban behemoth that is Target. Target, you’re a genius. I’m already hanging on by a thread every time I enter through those sliding glass doors and that grande iced coffee is just the thing I need to power through aisles and not get annoyed by all the red.

2 \\ Silent solidarity with other exhausted parents.

I see you, disheveled mom, passing by the toy aisle with a one-year-old dangling from the side of the cart reaching for that Paw Patrol dog and a very self-aware threenager pontificating about how Maddie at school really needs to pay attention and follow the rules. We briefly lock eyes and exchange a silent recognition that only two parents of kids under the age of five can share. I hear the throng of frustrated parent voices rising from different aisles, uniting in a chorus of what-happened-to-my-life harmonized with high-pitched screams. It. Is. Glorious. As I deal with my own toddler saying “cracker, cracker!” over and over again until I begrudgingly give into the habit I can only blame myself for, I am reassured by other parents who are doing the same. If you’re feeling isolated or like you’re doing this whole parent thing wrong, head to Target for a boost. Those without children, please take pity on us parents. We don’t like kids either sometimes.

3 \\ Wine, cold medicine and light bulbs all in one place.

Do you know the one word that will soothe parents as much as those first 10 minutes of spacing out after kids are put to bed? Alcohol, yes, but “convenience” is the word du jour. Children are the most inconvenient type of people on the planet. Have an important 9 a.m. meeting on Tuesday? The pediatrician only has a 9 a.m. opening on Tuesday. About to board a non-stop cross-country flight? Little Timmy just sh*t himself. Leave the house in a hurry to make it in time to the school play? Turn around, you forgot the almighty pacifier. And then there is Target. The clanging of wine bottles in your cart reminds you to grab diapers before checking out. No problem. Oh no, you “forgot” to make something for Teachers’ Day tomorrow. Head to the food aisle and eye the cookies with the easiest to rip off label. They’ll think you went to an expensive bakery. If they’re idiots. One can hope. While you’re on the subject of hope, go ahead and throw those Spanx in. You got this.

4 \\ Reliable cure for cabin fever.

There are days as a parent when there is NOTHING TO DO. Your kid is at that awkward stage where going to a playground is fun for about 10 minutes but let’s be honest, you do most of the work trying to force fun on them when they really don’t get the concept of fun. There are play dates where there’s a glimmer of hope for adult conversation but that fades quickly as someone falls or gets hit. Library story time is touch and go depending on when/if a meltdown happens. And let’s not even mention the shameful thing that is screen time. Just when you think you’re about to lose it, there is the word “Target,” shining in all its beautiful red glory, allowing parents everywhere a small piece of ‘adult’ in their day. A million items to peruse, 30 or maybe even 35 (!!) minutes of a contained child in a cart, and the feeling of accomplishment as you pile $75 worth of that damn $1 bin aisle crap on top of your kid. Now how many hours until bedtime…

Target, I’ll see you tomorrow.

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