Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One Year Of Experience = A Lifetime of Advice

I have been a mama for one year. I think this entitles me to dispense a little advice. Buckle up. Here it comes.

One quick note: a lot of this advice will probably sound familiar. That is because it is true. Pay special attention to the stuff you've heard before. Write it down. Consider tattooing it on your body.

  • Make your bed every day. At least one thing in your life will look orderly! 
  • Back up your photos and videos. Always have any photos, videos, etc that are important to you backed up in two places. You could use your computer's hard drive and an external hard-drive or you could back it up online. Whatever you chose, DO IT! I have learned this lesson the hard way. I blame my electronic forcefield (mentioned here). 

  • Keep the tags on everything as long as possible. As soon as someone gave me something or I bought something while I was pregnant I would come straight home and wash it so I could put it away. Cora didn't wear a quarter of her clothes. She basically skipped 3-12 month clothes entirely. If you keep the tags on you may be able to return the item.
  • Listen to people's advice and opinions. You may not agree but it always helped me to hear lots of different opinions.
  • On a similar note as the last one. I have found that mothers (especially your own) want to give you the most advice. I told my mom that I welcome her advice. "Tell me once and then move on" is our deal. They do seem to like it when you take their advice or at least when you really, really listen to them.

Have you noticed that this is the third photo of my mama and they are all of the side of her face. I think she is trying to pull a little "Wilson" from Home Improvement (pictured below)

Photo of Wilson being sneaky and Tim The Tool Man Taylor making his regular face from here

  • Find someone you feel very comfortable taking advice from (mine is my pediatrician) and then ask them a million questions. Never feel crazy for asking too many questions.

  • I can't say this enough: Stop worrying. It will do you no good and all the extra tension will kill your neck and your jaw.

  • If you want to make your own baby food freeze the food in ice cube trays. It makes life a lot easier to have small portions ready to roll.

  • People will try to give you the opportunity to take naps. Take them up on it!

  • Keep toys/books all over the place in organized baskets. It is nice to have something to entertain your baby wherever you look!

  • Things will not be perfect but they will be great!

  • Make sure your spouse knows that you should not really be held accountable for anything you say or do for the first 6 months. No sleep = crazy person.
  • Have a few "baby stations" around the house with wipes, diapers, burp cloths, pens, paper, water, etc. 
  • Date nights with your spouse do seem to be important. Try your best to make them happen.
  • Slow down and enjoy it! You will never regret crawling around on the floor with your baby instead of putting away every last dish.

  • The hospital that you deliver in has lots of great stuff that you get to take home with you. Take whatever they offer and ask for more. A lot of it they will throw away if you don't take it with you.
  • Let go of control immediately! You no longer have all the control. The sooner you realize it the better.

  • People like to be helpful. Early on, when you are the most overwhelmed, these amazing people are around. They just want to make your life easier. It is hard to come up with tasks for them and you will definitely feel rude telling your mother-in-law to sweep the house when she asks what she can do. Make a list of things that need to be done around the house. Then when they ask, you can just show them the list and they can choose whatever they please. 
  • Make diaper changes fun with silly songs or toys. If there is a place to put pictures right above the changing table so your baby can look right at it DO IT! You need all the distractions you can get during diaper changes.

  • Have a place where you write down all of the questions you have for your pediatrician as you think of them. Make sure you bring it with you to your next appointment.
  • If you are pumping and freezing in bags make sure to write down how many ounces on the bag. I didn't do this for a long time and played some serious guessing games. This resulted in a lot of my precious milk being wasted.

  • Praise your spouse. Being a mom or dad is hard work and it is nice to be recognized.
  • Don't be in a hurry for your baby to walk. Life gets 100 times harder that day.

  • Be silly. Dance around. Make funny faces. Go ahead and do the running man. Stand behind a counter and act like you're going down steps or an elevator (Cora's favorite!).

  • Have an empty box in your baby's closet that you can throw clothes in as he or she grows out of them. It happens constantly!
  • I should not be allowed to give advice on naps but I am going to anyway. Different things worked at different stages for us. The Moby wrap was amazing! That was the only thing she would nap in during her first 3 months. Then blacking out the windows with garbage bags (keeping it classy) worked! Now, she likes to have a blanket in her crib and the lights set on dim. So if you, like us, do not have a very snoozy baby on your hands try your best not to get frustrated. You WILL find something that works (then a week later you will find something different that works).
  • Life is going to be INCREDIBLY different. Even more than you are imagining. Accept that and do your best to enjoy every moment

  • As cheesy as it sounds, BE IN THE MOMENT. Stop blogging, stop checking your Facebook, put down your iPhone, stop reading your New York Review of Books (Kelly). Just sit and be. Look outside at the squirrels. Get excited about the shadow that a chair casts on the wall. Let the house get messy for a day, a week, heck even a year. Be amazed by the fact that you can stack a stuffed animal chicken on top of a high chair. Have fun and try not to let the years go by too fast. 

Go ahead and live by the wisdom of my pal, Ferris Bueller, who says, "Life moves pretty fastIf you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."


  1. Are you happy....Grandmama is crying, yes real tears. Laura, you are a wonderful, caring Mother and Scott is the best Daddy. Cora is so lucky to have you as parents. You do a great job of spending quality time with Cora and still keep your house lovely. Could not be prouder of you and your mothering skills.

  2. Oh, Grandmama! Thank you. You are a funny lady!

  3. Such a wise, wise mama! great tips mooz

  4. I love the photo of Cora on her back holding her feet. I hadn't seen that one before. She is so funny!

  5. PS Your advice is excellent and it made me cry too. Fake mom tears, though. But I did get choked up.

  6. haha! i love your fake mom tears... sorry, mama!

  7. I love this one Laurita! Cora is very lucky to have you as her mama :)