Do you believe in arranged marriages? I don’t, but I already offered up my little prince to my best friend’s princess-to-be at her baby shower today. She’s that important to me.
We discovered we both have the same first and middle names in Kindergarten, and that’s nothing short of a cosmic connection for five-year-old girls. We quickly re-branded ourselves with hybrid names–Jodiy GoldKing and Jodyi KingGold–and formed an unbreakable bond. We survived a duel for the same boy in Elementary School, puberty-induced Middle School mayhem, High School cliques, double-dating two boys named Jimmy, crime and punishment, 80s hair, playing the same Varsity sports, attending different colleges, being Boston roommates, multiple moves, three marriages, two divorces (mine and my parents’), trips abroad, my Mom’s ovarian cancer diagnosis/battle, unrelated health scares, and pregnancy. And she is still one of my closest friends.
Today, I offer what I have learned about Mommyhood thus far to my beloved friend Jody. I certainly don’t know it all–Alex is just eight-months-old–but here’s what I do know:
– Doctors may cut the cord at birth, but they will never cut the connection to your daughter. She is truly an extension of you.
-You will never look at your husband the same way after he becomes the father of your baby.
-When you wake up in the morning looking like a dead ringer for Alice Cooper, know it’s only temporary. Your daughter’s frequent wake-up calls (every two- to three-hours) only last for a few months. Pretty soon she will be sleeping through the night, and you will miss waking up with her. There’s nothing like the feeling of your baby falling asleep on your chest in the still of the night.
-I loved breastfeeding. Nourishing your baby is empowering, and it intensifies your primal bond.
-I hated pumping. I won’t sugarcoat it.
-When your baby cries her first real tears, your heart will break in half.
-When your baby smiles at you for the first time, your heart will mend.
– You will be covered in pee, poop, snot, spit up, drool, breast milk, and/or rancid-smelling formula. Embrace it.
– Trust your instincts. You know what to do. You know what she needs.
-Recessed lighting and ceiling fans can entertain babies in a pinch. So can your personal rendition of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
– You won’t always be able to sleep when your baby sleeps. It’s hard to sleep-on-demand, even if you’re bone tired. Do the best you can to get enough rest to function.
– Try to set a schedule, but always go with the flow. You’ll miss out on a lot of fun if you’re a stickler.
– Don’t wear sweatpants all of the time. Get dressed every once in awhile…for you.
– Babies test your patience every day. Take deep breaths. Scream into a pillow. Whatever works…
– Forgive yourself. ImperfectMommy is still SuperMommy.
– Your baby will make you feel like a comic genius. Dance with wild abandon, sing your own silly songs, and act like a fool. She will love it. My son lights up with I do my “Blame it on the Boogie” routine. It’s our thang!
– Don’t leave the house without bibs/burping cloths, diapers, wipes, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, binkies, a blanky, a change of clothes, toys, and bottles. When she begins teething add Auqaphor and extra bibs/cloths to soak up the never-ending drool to that list.
– You create a new memory every day. Try to write things down, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t seem to get to it all of the time. I write myself Cliff Notes and fill in gaps if needed.
-Nine months on, nine months off. Don’t feel bad if you leave the hospital with your baby in your arms but still look six-months pregnant.
-Black tops help camouflage post-pregnancy pudge, but highlight spit-up on your shoulder. Pick your battles.
-You will fear moving your baby out of the bassinet and into her own crib. It is scary, and you won’t sleep a wink, but everything will be alright.
-Pay attention to milestones, but keep in mind babies develop at their own pace. No one will remember who’s baby crawled first in the long run.
– A little Mommyjuice is recommended (post breastfeeding, of course…or “pumping and dumping” while breastfeeding works, too).
-You will remember your delivery. The overwhelming joy of seeing your precious baby for the first time will overshadow it, but it won’t make you forget. Don’t look at the photos you took of me when you visited me in the hospital before you deliver, my friend.
– Your love for your child is indescribable. If someone asked you to physically rip your heart out of your chest for her, you would do it without hesitation. It’s surreal when you realize that’s how your Mommy feels about you.
-You will worry about everything. Get used to it. You’re Mommy now. Welcome to the club.
To be continued…