1. Don't underestimate the power of a solo trip to Target. The baby is fed and slumbering peacefully? The hubs is resting on the couch flipping through sports? GO. TO. TARGET. Don't ask questions, don't think twice, just wave good-bye and zip on down the road. Trust me on this. Target is a safe haven. While perusing the candle and other assorted home decor aisle, there will be a moment when you hear a baby wail from across the store and instead of your heartbeat picking up at the thought of having THAT crying child in the store, you will revel with relief in the fact that this one time - IT'S NOT YOURS. You don't even have to buy anything, although if you have the will power to resist all the various and lovely sundries Target has to offer, I would gladly shake your hand in awe and admiration. Just slow down when you're in there - pick up the books and read the back covers, close your eyes and inhale all the candles and don't forget to hit up home decor and talk yourself into that one teeny, tiny little piece of fabulousness that the shelf in your living room is just crying out to house.
2. No one is on their best behavior at 2:00 am. Not you. Not your husband. And certainly not that bouncing bundle of joy that is awoken like an angry little monster begging to be fed, rocked, cuddled, snuggled, fed again and that finally falls asleep on your chest while you're sitting up against the pillows with the nightlight JUST out of the reach of your fingertips. Ignore your husbands ignorance and insensitivity at this time. Pray that he ignores yours as well. Exhaustion plays tricks on your mind. Words, phrases, statements and tone filtered through an exhausted mind can turn into insults, tirades, anger and venom. Not to say that your thoughts and feelings (and the hubs as well) aren't important and that communication isn't vital to a healthy marital relationship and parenting partnership......but perhaps all grievances should be aired when one or both parties aren't drunk with exhaustion, fatigue and frustration. So.......maybe when the child turns five?
3. Baby OxyClean. Babies poop. Frequently. And although little tiny baby clothes are absolutely adorable, I just didn't have the budget to go out and replace every single outfit that my darling daughter had a blow out in. Baby OxyClean has helped me to scrub poop, spit up, blackberries, more poop and even maybe a coffee stain or two out of my own clothes. Spray it generously
4. Buy a portable baby swing. There is a ton of crap throughout the aisles of Babies R Us, each item seemingly shouting "buy me or your baby will be stupid, sick and unsafe" at you, placing the fear of God (or the CPS) into your soul. When they're really tiny, they don't need much and most of the larger items you can find at your local Goodwill or neighborhood garage sale (just check that it's in good condition and douse it in bleach when you get home). One of the most lifesaving items that we were gifted at one of our showers was a basic portable baby swing. Initially I was disappointed because it looked kind of lame and didn't have all the bells and whistles that the one on our registry had. I sorely underestimated the intelligent design of a portable baby swing. It's one o'clock and I haven't showered yet? Just strap her in and carry that sucker into the bathroom and plop her in front of the glass door to my shower. Natalie was kept entertained by the solo bright fish hanging down but yet still comforted by the fact that she could see Momma. Most brilliant plan ever.
5. Repeat this phrase: "She will not graduate high school ______________________" and then fill in the blank with whatever newborn or baby activity is frustrating you at the moment. For example, the most frequent one that came out of my lips was "waking up in the middle of the night for a bottle." Or how about the "by crawling across the stage - she will learn to walk eventually." And then you'll turn around one day and she'll by zooming down the hall screeching gleefully wearing only a diaper and slinging her sippy cup full of milk all across the tile and you'll think to yourself.........can you be tiny again?
6. Off Duty Hour. There are articles and pictures on Pinterest out there that wax poetic about how a mother's job is never really done and how even though it's a 24 hour job, it's the most rewarding blah, blah, blah. You know what? There are some days that I am quite happy to plunk my child down into her daddy's lap for her night-night routine so that Momma can be off the clock. I go into the bedroom, turn on the lamp and click over to Bravo to catch up on Real Housewives. And I don't worry. I don't feel guilty. I don't stress. I don't do much of anything. 8:30 is my off duty hour. Whatever laundry or other household chore didn't get done during the day.........isn't getting done. Sometimes I even have a glass of wine and read a book or blog. Whatever it is that I'm doing, the most important thing is - I'm NOT doing anything for anyone else but instead doing something exactly for me. It might sound a little selfish but I work very hard during the rest of my day and I'm just the type of person who has to have down time before bed in order to truly get a great night's sleep.