I’m one of the many moms guilty of giving too much, unwanted advice to new parents. We have good intentions. We just want things to be easier for you than they were for us!
However, there were 5 pieces of advice I got before I had my baby that I wish I’d ignored. While all well-intentioned, they just didn’t match our experience.
1. “You’ll hate your cat/dog after your baby comes.”
While I only have 2 cats, I do consider myself a “cat lady”. So I was shocked by this advice. The reasoning was that I’d have an actual human baby and just wouldn’t have enough time for my fur babies.
This is true. I don’t have as much time for them, or for our dog. I also have way less patience when they are bad. However, I still love them and can’t imagine life without them. Even better? My daughter LOVES them. The first thing she says when she wakes up in the morning is, “dog?!” as she looks around her room for him.
2. “Sleep now because you won’t be able to when the baby comes!”
Is it just me, or is this one said in an almost amused way? Like lack of sleep is a right of passage? Our babies are hazing us into parenthood?
Of course, I got less sleep in the 6 months after my baby was born. But we are humans, not sleep camels. We can’t store sleep in our humps to use later. At this point, I typically get as much sleep as I did pre-baby; but it’s intentional. I know that babies don’t take weekends off, so I try not to stay up late on a Friday night.
3. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
We’re not sleep camels and we’re also not cats. If you are the type of human that can just decide to fall asleep and, boom, you’re out, more power to you. I am not. Maybe better advice would be to do whatever you need to do to practice self-care while the baby sleeps, whether that’s napping or just sitting on the toilet uninterrupted with your phone for 20 minutes.
4. “Breast is best.”
Before you come for me with pitchforks and 100s of internet articles, let me tell you that I did breastfeed for over a year. I work full-time and pumped for 9 months of that. I was such an adamant believer that breast is best that I stressed myself out so much that my supply started to significantly decrease. I cried when I had to supplement with formula when my daughter was 11 months. I ended up feeling like a failure when she refused to take bottles of straight formula because I wasn’t producing enough anymore to make enough bottles to mix.
If I get the chance again, I’ll be easier on myself. I’ll supplement with formula earlier on so that if I have to use formula at some point, my baby will take it. I’ll practice what I preach that “fed is best”.
5. “Your sex life will be non-existent.”
I was definitely worried about how having a baby would change my relationship. Sex isn’t such a priority anymore. More often than not, I’ll fall asleep on the couch before the thought of sex can even enter my mind. I do have to give props to my husband that he has made our relationship a priority and pushes me to do the same. Our sex life is different now than it was pre-baby, but it’s still there and it’s important.
Just like every baby is different, every parenting experience will be unique. Some of this advice may be more applicable to you than it was to me. I do hope you still love your cat, though.