Momservation: It’s inevitable that your little prince or princess is frequently going to be a royal pain.
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So the royal baby is finally born.
Well, Will and Kate, welcome to parenthood where it doesn’t matter if it’s 2 p.m. or 2 a.m.—the poop still stinks and someone’s gotta change it.
That makes us all commoners now doesn’t it?
Since the world is stopping to rejoice in the birth of this third generation heir to the English thrown (Queen Elizabeth is causing quite a back-up here hanging onto this monarchy), I’d like to offer my own congratulations and advice for the new parents.
It’s a list of ways to keep your little prince or princess from turning into a royal pain in the arse (as they like to say in England):
Momservations® Survival Tips for New Parents
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. Or, what are you doing awake right now? If you’re lucky, newborns will give you 3-4 hour stretches of being asleep. While they’re sleeping if you’re trying to catch up on all the things that fall to the wayside when caring for an infant you will soon become a zombie. Zombies don’t make good parents. Maybe take that shower you’ve been needing, but then get some sleep—you’re going to need it for this job.
- Create a routine. Welcome to the movie Ground Hog Day—mind-numbing repetition is now your life. The baby wakes up, you change it, you feed it, you have some awake time together, rinse, repeat. Yes, you will do this over and over aching for that first smile or roll-over to change things up, but this will also be your saving grace. Babies like routine and cry less when you meet their needs. When their needs are met, then you can meet yours—as long as it fits with the schedule.
- Get a good diaper bag. Because it is now an extension of your body. Like a good Boy Scout you need to always be prepared. Make it functional, not cute. I actually got a backpack from REI because A) Then Hubby would carry it without protest because it was too girly (key) B) You could wear it on both shoulders distributing the weight more evenly of all the crap you need to keep a baby happy C) A backpack has more pockets, compartments, and functionality than standard cutesy diaper bags.
- Invest in a good stroller and car seat. These babies are in it for the long haul (both the equipment and the kid). Your infant will turn into a baby, then a toddler, then a kid who needs to be transported everywhere. Try to find strollers and car seats that will transition through the stages safely and then buy a good one that will last and take the abuse of daily use. It will save you money in the long run and your kid is worth it despite the ill will you harbor them at 3 a.m.
- Buy in bulk. Diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food, Diaper Genie refills, onsies, burp cloths, and Shout stain remover. Those things you use on nearly an hourly basis go quickly and you will need for many, many moons. Stock up on them when they’re on sale, buy them at Costco or Sam’s Club, and buy them when you think you have enough and don’t need more. You always need more.
- Get out of the house. Despite the little old lady in Target who’s giving you the stink-eye for taking a fresh newborn out of the house already, continue to do it. For your sanity and for your baby’s immunity. Sheltering your baby for fear of germs actually makes them more sensitive and more susceptible without exposure to the outside world. Plus, you will go crazy if you don’t get adult interaction. Join a playgroup, go for a walk, stroll the mall, take Gymborie classes, find excuses to get out and be social.
- Splurge on gadgets. Necessity is the mother of invention and mothers are creating lots of new products to make parenting easier. When my kids were little it was the Diaper Genie, the Baby Bjorn, and the multi-serving formula dispenser. Now there’s the mamaRoo bouncer, video monitors, wipe warmers, and hi-tech high chairs. If it keeps you from dissolving into a fit of frustrated tears, it’s worth every penny.
- Change your perspective. When the seasoned mother in the grocery store tells your sleep-deprived, sanity-by-a-thread self to enjoy this time because it’s fleeting—try not to flip her off and tell her, “Yeah, time really flies at 2 a.m. with a screaming baby!” Trust her. Infancy was not my best genre, but now that my kids are teenagers, I wish I had kissed their little toes one more time, snuggled them a little longer instead of getting to the laundry, and could feel again my cheek lying on their impossibly silky soft heads.
- Parent on your terms. Take the advice you need and ignore the advice you don’t. If you and your baby are happier with a halo of pacifiers around their head to soothe themselves, who cares about the naysayers? I’ve yet to see a kid walk a graduation procession with a binkie in their mouth. Don’t want to breastfeed, want to go back to work, believe in a family bed? Everyone’s got an opinion, but the only one that matters is your own. You’re raising this kid not them and I haven’t met a perfect parent yet.
- Ask for help. If you try to be super-mom the only thing you’ll succeed in is being super stressed, super sleep-deprived, super cranky, and super emotional. Let your husband feed the baby too much. Let your mother-in-law put the wrong outfit on. Let your neighbor bring you their horrible chicken casserole. Call your dad to come awkwardly hold the baby so you can shower. Call your best friend to sing off-key to the baby just so you can get a moment alone. Let people who want to help you help and ask for it when you need it without judgment if they’re doing it right. Parenting is hard and you can take any help you can get. That’s what makes you a better parent.
Welcome to the world all you new little prince and princesses out there! Mommy and Daddy (royal or otherwise): The best things in life aren’t always easy, but they’re always worth it.