10 Lessons in 1 Year

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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In the past year since Joshua has joined our family, I’ve learned so much about being a parent.  It’s amazing how you really don’t know what having a baby is like until you actually have one.  But for my childless and parent-t0-be friends, I want to share some of what I’ve learned to help give you a little bit of an idea about what being a parent is like. 

10.  Car seat installation is the #1 cause of divorce among new or expectant parents. (Anecdotal evidence only.)  And just when you’ve mastered buckling as quickly as possible, the baby outgrows the infant seat and you have to install the bigger version.  I’m so glad to learn that there’s a huge safety benefit to extended rear-facing car seats, because I don’t think our marriage could withstand turning the car seat around.

9.  Cosleeping is a survival tactic.  I was dead set against it, since I have a sleepwalker for a husband.  But after being up many, many, many times each night, I found it’s so much easier to nurse Joshua in my sleep than to try to stay awake until he was sleeping deeply enough to go back in the pack & play next to our bed.  Which leads to my next lesson…

8.  People who claim their babies sleep through the night within a few months are liars.  They don’t want to scare you away from having children, so they lie about how great their baby sleeps.  Parents-to-be, you heard it here first: one year in and we’re still up four or more times each night.

7.  There’s no such thing as “Just one more minute.” Whether it’s sleep, a relaxing bath, a TV show or a meal that you want to enjoy, it doesn’t matter.  When your baby is hungry, he’s hungry now.

6.  The only thing more difficult than dealing with sleep deprivation is clipping those tiny baby fingernails.  I have to trim Joshua’s nails twice each week, and I can only do it when he’s sleeping.  The kid is a raptor.

5.  Babies don’t care about stuff.  It doesn’t matter if you have designer clothes, tons of gear or the “it” toy.  Babies just want to be around the people who love them.

4.  Daily showers cease to exist when you’re a new mom.  Greasy hair and all-day-PJ’s are the new mom look.  The only way I get to take a bath is with my baby, and I’ve (mostly) enjoyed our daily baths. 

3.  It’s all about poop.  I could work a poop story into any conversation with anybody.  You’re not truly initiated into motherhood until your baby poops in the bathtub (see #4).

2.  Babies like to be held.  Forget those images of moms carrying around their babies in car seats or pushing strollers.  Joshua screamed his head off every time he was in the car seat or stroller, and I never could figure out how to unfold the stroller anyway.  Enter babywearing. 

1.  Follow your instincts. Be confident in the face of unsolicited advice.   Nobody knows your baby better than you do!

So, there’s my top ten lessons for new parents.  Veteran moms and dads, do you have anything to add?

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “10 Lessons in 1 Year

  1. Love it! These hormones are making me unable to form coherent sentences that I could really share with another human being so I really enjoyed this! I agree with all the points, except that I would have moved #6 up to maybe #2. At 20 months, I have to hypnotize Liam with Animal programing in order to get him to not try to claw my face off during nail trimming time. I look forward to the day when he can handle those clippers himself.

  2. You pretty much nailed it. And don’t fool yourself thinking the next one will be different. I had four to prove this to be dead on target every single time. Great list.

  3. ctdaffodil

    Oh and wait until Joshua is a big brother….#2 will sleep through anything, but totally rewrite the rules on a few things….Happy first year!!

  4. Haha great post! Yep, been there done that!

  5. Jennifer Hamilton

    Co-sleeping was the only way that my babies would sleep. I lied to my pediatrician about it because she insisted that my babies not sleep with us in our bed.(obviously she never nursed a baby–and she hadn’t) The only other item that I would add to your very insightful list is the act of having to sit on your toddlers to get them to take their antibiotics. It would literally take both my husband and me straddling our son and pouring the medicine down his pried open mouth. It was so awful and NO ONE EVER told me that I would have to do that to my poor child!

  6. boheime

    :) Another tip: The key to being able to read aloud for hours on end is to force through it that first time. When your throat gets sore and you don’t think you can possibly read any more to your children, push through.

  7. NorCalRN

    I love this list Abbie- made me laugh! :)
    ~Erica

  8. Ha ha ha. I love your #2. I have a few nearly-new strollers to sell since my baby WILL NOT sit in a stroller for any reason. And don’t even mention the carseat! I have turned to public transportation and a sling as the only way to get out and about with my children.

  9. What a great list! I would add something about the fact that fruit spoils, babies don’t ;)

  10. What a great list! I can relate to everything.
    I feel like my daughter is very smart, because she knows that she should be held, and insists on it constantly!

  11. Hah! As far as the poop business, I can say it doesn’t end after the first year. Or the second. My husband and I were just discussing our potty-trained toddler’s poop yesterday. While in the kitchen. Snacking and making dinner. Thinking nothing of it. And I suddenly realized what we’d become–true parents!

  12. I can relate to it all as well. In fact I need to clip Raz’s nails…he HATES it.

  13. Brilliant list! I could not agree more – especially with the bit about poop. I have more poop stories than I could care to count up – and at least two of them are from the past week in the bathtub!

  14. What a funny list! I swore I’d never be one of those parents who talked about poop…um, yeah. That didn’t last. It’s just so fascinating, apparently! :) This goes along with #7, but new parents should know they won’t eat a hot meal for months. Food being served is like a neon sign to a baby that it’s time to nurse. Or poop.

  15. Kat

    Great list, I needed the laugh! I love #8 because you always hear those stories of “great sleepers” and my conclusion is that they are lying or they cosleep and don’t admit it ;-)

    Poop yes, been there doing that!

    And just wanted to add that I got around #7 by babywearing and breastfeeding while in the carrier, this was a godsend, especially during suppertimes! I could eat and so could baby!

  16. This was amazing! I love your sense of humor! My favorite is the nail clipping bit. My son would not sit still for me either so I would file his nails while he slept. Those things grow so quickly too.

  17. My daughter actually was a star sleeper at 3 months. I was so smug about it. I thought I had ALL the answers.

    And then I had another child, who pretty much still doesn’t sleep though the night, and never has. This is when I learned that it’s not nearly as much about the parents as it is about the child. We’re just doing our best with the baby we have, we’re not actually molding them as much as we may think.

    And, oh, the poop! My best story involves my toddler pooping on the carpet while my boss was at my house. She took one look and said, “Well, I guess I’ll be going now!” Fun times.

  18. Pingback: Top 10 Ways to Get Breastfeeding Off To a Good Start | Little Snowflakes

  19. Pingback: Top Ten Ways to Be Present With Family

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