You know that saying, ‘We plan, God laughs?’ Well, God was surely rolling on the floor laughing, and then laughing some more for good effect, this past week. Because if getting ready for a new baby in the coming week wasn’t enough of a stressor/adjustment, lets throw in a ruptured Achilles tendon to the mix.
When Coco got back from New York a couple of weeks ago, I thought to myself, ‘Awesome. Now he can take over and I can take it slow and do some nesting. We can get stuff organized before the baby comes and spent some quality time with Maya before she starts school.’ Instead, I get a phone call from Coco telling me he injured his foot and couldn’t move it. You hear that? It’s the sound of deflated dreams. Fantastic. He was told at Lenox Hill that it was merely a sprain and after a week, his foot would be back to normal. Unfortunately, his foot only got worse by the time he got home. So after a visit to an orthopedic surgeon, we learn that he actually had ruptured/severed the Achilles tendon and needed surgery (I can hear God laughing as I write this). Here we were, ten days away from a baby, and we get this news. Talk about throwing a wrench into the plans. Forget slowing down- now I was forced to kick it into overdrive because there was still much to do on top of taking care of a 3 year old. Coco’s surgery would basically have him immobile and on one leg for the next 4-6 weeks. He’s expected to start physical therapy two weeks after surgery, and he will go from a hard cast to a soft cast as the weeks progress; but, he will still need the knee scooter to get around. Thankfully, he will be able to drive without a problem since it was his left Achilles that was affected and not his right. Oh, did I mention we’re having a baby like this week?
Once I finished internally freaking out and going through every possible scenario in my head (how much will he be able to do when Rocco is here? Who’s taking Maya to school if I’m out of commission and he’s out of commission? What if I go into labor and he can’t drive me? etc). I took a deep breath, got it together, and went into ‘problem-solve mode.’
Remember my two week ‘no visitors at home’ rule? Well, that’s going to have to go out the window. We’re going to need reinforcement, at least for the first 2-3 weeks (or until I get tired of people being in my house), and then I’d like to figure it out on our own.
Coco went into surgery last Thursday and on a positive note, the surgery went extremely well thanks to the amazing team at Doctor’s Hospital. I was relieved! I’ve been playing nurse and taking care of whatever he needs, and I was fortunate enough to be able to bring in a support team this past weekend to help me take care of him and Maya while I ran some last minute errands. And as of Monday, Coco’s been ‘ridin dirty’ on his fancy schmancy knee scooter around the apartment and he’s been able to help with a few things here and there around the house (making breakfast, dressing Maya, doing bedtime, etc) so I can take a break and put my feet up. Literally. And I’m very grateful for that.
Needless to say, it’s been challenging and slightly overwhelming, and sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but laughing seems a lot easier. Despite the insurmountable hurdle, I don’t like to complain because it can always be worse- so much worse- so I feel fortunate despite the frustration. So if juggling (temporarily) a one-legged limping husband and a new baby is our obstacle, then I’m perfectly fine with that. I thank God it’s manageable.
At least Maya is getting good use out of Coco’s cast! And, she gets to put her Doc McStuffins skills to the test and cover daddy’s ‘big booboo’ with Frozen band-aids.
In this week’s blog post, I’m going to be talking about parenting advice! I’m sure we all have our own ‘eye-rolling’ stories of parents, non-parents, books, doctors, and even strangers giving us unsolicited parenting advice. They all start with those two loaded words, “You should..” followed by some two cent nonsense you didn’t ask for (or that doesn’t even work for you) like, “You should think about feeding the baby every 3 hours because he seems hungry,” or “You know what you should do? You should let him cry it out when he’s colicky.” And the list will go on and on. It’s annoying and I know some people mean well, but; let’s be frank. You really don’t want to hear it. That’s why when I read this story on the Internet a few weeks back, I had to laugh because it was pure genius. (https://www.scarymommy.com/geniuses-turn-annoying-parenting-advice-into-baby-wipes/). The folks at baby goods company, Tommee Teepees, decided to print all that unwanted advice onto baby wipes, hence the name, ‘advice wipes.’ You will literally be wiping your baby’s ass with all that advice you didn’t ask for! it’s part of their new campaign that helps parents navigate through those first-time insecurities and being confident enough to figure out this parenting thing on their own, because at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?
However, amidst all the noise, there may exist a gem of wisdom that you can actually put to good use on a rainy day, and maybe, just maybe, it will work for you. Or what if through your own experience, discovery, and growth as a new parent, you stumbled upon an ‘aha moment’ that really helped you take control of the unpredictable parenting minefield and you wanted to pay it forward (when someone asks you, of course)? Good advice exists- it’s just better received when you’re the one asking for it!
I tapped into my Facebook arsenal of friends to get some feedback from moms and dads on the best advice they ever got or learned along the way as new parents. As for Coco and I, when anyone asks us for our parenting two cents- we usually share this: Let the baby adapt to you and your world, not the other way around. I learned this from my mom. She used to say this when I was growing up and my parents lived by it (do you know how many Julio Iglesias concert I had to sit and sleep through?) I adapted to their way of life and when Maya was born, we made her a part of everything we did. Our life didn’t come to a complete stop. We threw her into the mix and soldiered on. That worked for us. It may not work for everyone, but for us it did. The second piece of advice I like to give new parents, which seems to be a very popular one amongst moms and dads in this blog post, is do whatever works for you. Who cares what everyone else is doing. At the end of the day, no one knows your baby, your family, and your lifestyle, better than you. What works for one parent, may not work for another and vice versa. As annoying as it can be, when someone doles out some words of supreme wisdom, just smile with all your might and nod. Discard what you don’t want, and hold on only to those words that may end up being parenting gold.
What’s been your best parenting advice? Read below to see what some moms and dads are saying!
Tracy– It’s not about establishing and enforcing rules, but rather enabling decision making. All decisions, big or small, have consequences. We just make the decisions and consequences age appropriate so he becomes the best person he can be. Oh, and consequences that involve chocolate, help! Also, there’s no such thing as holding your baby too much.
Jen– No one told me this, but I plan to tell everyone- don’t let the baby sleep in your bed. Yes, they fall asleep quicker, but Olivia is two and still hasn’t left!
Angela– Don’t listen to anyone’s advice. Ha! But it’s actually true- but more like ‘follow your instincts’ would be a nicer way to put it.
Maru– The first advice I received was to sleep when the baby sleeps and it was totally true.
Evelyn– Always stay positive so your baby gets that happy energy. Things always turn out better.
Krizia– Make it really dark when the baby is sleeping and open everything when the baby is awake, so they can learn the difference between day and night.
Lisa– This is a hard one for me because I don’t like giving advice on the subject because it’s so personal and every parent has their own way, so honestly I’ve never sought out advice. I just take it one day at a time and do my best to nurture this little human so that he’s a loving and productive member of society.
Karla– Don’t let others tell you how to parent your baby. Every baby is different and you do what works best for you.
Candy– Don’t use the word “no” use the words “don’t” or “can’t.” If a child acts out in public, don’t stop what you’re doing because of them. They need to know it’s your time and not theirs. Remove them from the store or wherever they are until they calm down or let them cry it out. Who cares who’s watching.
Kelly– You do what’s best or what works for you.
Sole– Make sure you set out quality time with your child with no distractions.
Pam– Feed them every two hours no matter what so they sleep at night. Worked like a charm for me!
Jessica– Do whatever works for YOU.
Aimee– We figured out that taking shifts overnight worked best for us. No sense in both of us being completely sleep deprived.
Jennifer– Trust your instinct. You know yourself and your baby better than any book, relative, doctor, expert, etc. If someone’s advice or suggestion doesn’t feel right, don’t feel compelled to follow it. A happy mom and happy baby are the most important things, much more important than following any rules or advice.
Vanessa– You really only need a crib, diapers, boob/bottle, and love. Also, if Britney Spears did it twice, I can certainly do it!
Christy– Never believe in absolutes. There are A LOT of ways to parent…always drove me nuts listening to ‘you should’ advice. Every baby is different. Mine were the polar opposites and responded to different things.
Suzanne– Hear what everyone says, but listen to no one and follow your gut and heart.
Adriana– Trust your gut. Be patient. And you really don’t know until you know.
Jenise– As the mom, you’re the one who knows best even if you know nothing at all. And at the end of the day, all moms make mistakes and that’s okay so don’t be too hard on yourself. And a major hospital tip I have for everyone is to let the nurses teach your husband how to do everything: change diapers, swaddle, etc. Let him become the “pro.” You’re going to learn, but he won’t necessarily, so this is the perfect time to get him involved. Making him think he knows better because he learned first is a great way to keep dad involved. And take everyone’s advice but don’t put it all into practice or you will drive yourself crazy! I did that.
Meredith– As a new stay at home mommy, I found myself sleep deprived and frustrated every now and then. My mother was over one day and saw the chaos first hand and told me to always remember who’s in charge of the children. Me. That can get lost in the overwhelm sometimes. When she said that it empowered me so much!
Kristin– If you are guessing whether that stain on your shirt is chocolate or poop….always go with poop and get some Shout, stat!
Jess– Being a mom is the hardest job on earth and there’s no right or wrong way. There’s your way and it’s always the right way. When things are going terrible, especially health wise, ALWAYS be grateful because there is always going to be someone in a way worse situation than you, and they’re probably wishing they could be in your shoes.
I leave you with some food for thought from my BFF and soul sister, Vivi. She shared this poem, by Lebanese-American poet and writer, Kahlil Gibran, with me and said one of the nurses at the hospital gave it to her when she gave birth and it blew her mind. It’s the best parenting advice she ever received. I invite you to read it!
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.