In the last few months I have been invited to four showers and within the next few months I will be attending six more. Who doesn't love a good baby shower?! Me, that's who. I always eat too many of those adorable little finger sandwiches and I HATE all the stupid games we're forced to play. No, I don't want to unscramble 127 baby words, I don't care how many candies are in that jar, and I'll be crossing my legs as soon as I sit down so here's my clothespin in advance (any men reading this are blissfully confused right now. How I envy them.) I also suffer from pangs of acute anxiety at the thought of keeping two toddlers entertained and well mannered in a room full of strangers and acquaintances. I certainly must sounds like my mother, from years gone by, whispering fiercely: "Get your finger out of your nose", "No running around the tables please", and "Stop picking food off of other people's plates!"
On Friday night I attended a baby shower with my husband's sisters and his mother at a quaint Italian restaurant. We positioned ourselves at a table in the corner surrounded by cousins and aunts, ordered up generous helpings of booze and fabulous food, and settled in for some more of the same old shower scene. Eventually we were all passed a little square of paper in which we were to write some advice for the sweet mom-to-be ("um...from now on, always wear a condom"- Marie). I panicked, froze up, and coped out. I wrote something cheesy and passed it back. I am always slightly reluctant to expose the inner workings of motherhood to non-members. Will I scare them? Will they judge me for admitting that I'm not a perfect mom? Will they resent me for revealing that their vision of parenthood is probably faulty? Who am I to give advice- I stumble through each day with my fingers crossed, praying that my kids won't need (much) therapy. I can't help but wonder if things would have been different for me if I had an accurate depiction of what parenting would be like for me...perhaps I would have enjoyed that first year more. Yes, things would have been drastically different.
Crystal, Lynn, and Erica: I'm sorry. The advice I gave you at your showers sucked. I would like a re-do. (Hey, its my blog and re-dos are always an option). Gina-Girl, listen up...
>The first few weeks after baby arrives will be tough. Go ahead and cry- you'll feel better. At one point you are bound to think, "who's stupid idea was this?" It was yours, and yes, it was stupid. haha.
>I know from experience that it will hurt your pride to admit that you need help. Please ask another mom for help- we are waiting for you to ask!!! You'll be humbled by how fast a group of women can be at your door with frozen meals, kleenex, magazines, wine, and a willingness to share their struggles and how they made it through.
>Breastfeeding is hard. Not everyone can do it. You are not a failure if you can't. I've yet to meet a mom who hasn't struggled and pained over breastfeeding for the first time (and if I do meet one, no worries, I will promptly eliminate her and dispose of all evidence that she ever existed).
>Take baby out visiting. Go see friends, and random relative that you haven't seen in a while. Join baby-and-Me activities to meet other new moms your age. Your days will be long if you just stay in the house.
>Take care of yourself. Eat right, even when you feel like inhaling an entire chocolate cake and a gallon of pepsi (I'm obviously projecting right now). Excersice to feel good and have energy to get up in the middle of the night to feed that screaming, starving monster you call "Sweetie". Remember to get you hair done, your nails looking smart, your feet soft and pampered. Trust me (and husbands/boyfriends everywhere) everyone is happier when Mommy feels good about herself.
Incidently, we ended up having a great time at that shower. I had a night out without the kids and got to enjoy a few drinks. I laughed and gossiped and stayed out late (I got home at midnight- thats practically an all nighter in my books now).
My little ones are napping now and I think I'm going to take my own advice. I'm in need of a mani/pedi and I might just call my two favorite new moms...just to see if anyone needs a pepsi/hug