My childhood friends threw me a baby shower recently and the guests offered advice for handling three kids. The words of wisdom included:
Lower your expectations. And, Remember, it's kind of like AA. Take it one day at a time. And, Call your husband at the end of the day. Tell him you're cracking open a beer and if he's not home in thirty minutes, you're cracking open another one. (I suppose that's the opposite of AA.)
If my writer mom friend Abigail Green had been there (she lives in Maryland... I know she loves me but not that much) she'd have fit right in. In her new e-book, Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All the Way Through Pregnancy, Birth, and the First 3 Months, Abby tells it like it is.
"I really thought I was prepared to have my first baby," Abby says. "I’d read the books and blogs, seen the movies and reality shows. In my 15+ years as a journalist, I’d even written articles on pregnancy symptoms, babymoons, and co-sleeping. And heaven knows I’d been to enough baby showers. Yet I was still surprised by so much of what I experienced during pregnancy, birth, and my first 3 months as a new mom."
Now, a warning. If you're pregnant for the first time and read about Abby's birth story, it may make you question what you've gotten yourself into. But trust me when I say she's doing you a favor. Sometimes (a lot of the time) the best laid birth plans don't go according to plan. And you need something real to balance out the crap you see in baby magazines designed to make you buy stuff. Take this for example:
I got this the other day. I know enough about childbirth to know that getting in and out of the bed to nurse a baby in the middle of the night can be downright painful. It takes my body weeks to recover and my bed is so high off the ground it requires a mini-trampoline to hoist myself onto the mattress. I bought this snuggle nest so I could let the baby sleep next to me without worrying that I'll roll over and crush her.
But take a look at the models on the box. Come on. Nobody looks like that when they have a newborn.
For moms in the trenches, Abby's e-book will validate you and make you laugh. If you read it after you've "been there, done that" it will still validate you and make you laugh.
I can relate to Abby's story about not knowing (with her first child) that she was pregnant. And she's smart, people. Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar smart. And how she charted her newborn's sleep patterns. I spent a ridiculous amount of time filling in a color wheel documenting the times my first born ate, slept and took care of business.
And then there was the time Abby's husband unplugged a freezer full of breast milk. What!? I remember the time my husband poured one ounce of breast milk down the drain. I lost my mind. "That's my freedom!" I shouted. "That's my freedom and you just poured it down the drain!" Now I'm thinking I was too hard on him. If he had unplugged a freezer full of the liquid gold, I'd have gone after him with a kitchen knife.
The book is filled with Abby's signature honesty and humor that reminds me it's okay to give myself a time out, it's okay to NOT love every second of parenting and that I'm an awesome mom. In this generation of super-parenting, moms need to hear that even on the worst days, they're doing a good job. Guilt is overrated. Laughter, however, is not.
Mama Insider by Abigail Green is 50 pages (perfect because chances are, your brain is fried) and can be purchased for $4.99. Click here to get the e-reader version. If you don't have an e-reader, you can buy the PDF version directly from Abby's site. Go Abby! Friend to friend, writer to writer, and mom to mom, I'm so proud and happy for you.