Updated on February 12, 2016
The One Piece of Advice All New Parents Need to Hear
Everyone likes to give advice, and there is never a time in your life where you’ll get more unsolicited advice than when you’re pregnant or you just had a baby. It seems like EVERYBODY has something to say about how you plan to parent or how you are parenting. You’re going to want to tune out most of it. Don’t worry, you’ll come up with your own way of doing things and the sooner you gain confidence in your own parenting choices the easier it is to ignore unwanted advice. Or you’ll learn to smile and nod, a lot. Now I’m going to give you one piece of advice that I think every parent needs to hear. I know I just told you to ignore unsolicited advice, but I really want you to hear what I have to say. It’s just one little thing, but it might just save your sanity one day.
Are you ready to hear it? Here we go. Words spoken at 3am don’t count. Did you catch that? Words spoken at 3am don’t count. I’m not talking about wonderful first words your baby might say at 3 in the morning. Those count. Those totally count. What doesn’t count are the words you exchange with your partner over a crying baby at 3 in the morning (or any hour after about midnight and before 6:30am). Look, we all have this blissful image of what that first six months or year of having a baby will be like. You’ll sleep when the baby sleeps! Nothing is better than gazing into the eyes of your sweet baby no matter what time it is! Just breathing in the scent of your new baby gives you all the energy you need! No. No. No. Just no.
Babies don’t always sleep a whole lot, or sleep very well. You will be getting up in the middle of the night. Maybe you’ll only have to get up once overnight, maybe twice. Maybe you’ll only be getting up once or twice a week or a few times a month. It doesn’t matter. Something happens when parents get sleep deprived. It is really hard to be kind and gentle with one another when you’re tired, haven’t slept, and your baby is showing no signs of chilling out and falling asleep. Things will be said. Things there’s NO WAY you would say to one another after 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And you know what? It’s okay. Stop. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. Word spoken at 3am don’t count. Whether you’re critiquing each other’s method of lunging and swaying while shushing, arguing over what on earth you should try next after EVERYTHING you’ve tried hasn’t calmed baby, or letting out a barbaric grunt of exasperation. Let it go. Words spoken at 3am don’t count.