Giving advice to a fellow parent can be a dicey matter, and the outcome often depends on how the advice is offered.
There are those that strive to support & encourage other parents with their words of practical wisdom, and then there are those that delight in making clear just what you’re doing wrong, because they are doing it right. Always. (You, Sanctimommies. We’re talking about YOU.)
But we can all benefit from some plain old common-sense parenting advice, especially when it’s dished out by a dad right there in the parental trenches with the rest of us.
Zach Whitsel is looking out for the newbie parents, folks. As a father of four, he’s learned a few “tricks of the trade”, so to speak, and he shared his own sage parenting wisdom in a Facebook post that has already earned 21K shares.
I’ve always been hesitant to give parenting advice but having this fourth one has emboldened me! I feel like I’m ready!…
1. Baby Equipment: Less Is More
Zach’s very first point is nothing if not practical; he points out that although you may have a giant haul of equipment from your baby shower, you don’t need 95% of it. You may think you do before having your first baby- most of us did. And sure, that wipe warmer may SEEM necessary… until that first time you try wiping your three-month-old’s ass with a non-warmed wipe for the first time and she unleashes a bloodcurdling scream of shock. Just say no!
2. The Car Seat Commandos
You may have finally managed to buckle the car seat into your car, but how you buckle the actual straps on your actual child will become a matter of intense public scrutiny & possible humiliation should you choose to share the pics on social media. Because as Zach puts it:
You may not realize it, but you are friends with at least two car seat Nazis right now, and they will educate your hind end if you share any pictures verifying your incompetence with a five point harness!
3. Bigger Isn’t Always Better
TRUTH, Zach, truth. When our first child was a baby, I packed her diaper bag like I was being deployed into a war zone for months. Anything & everything was in that bag, and- I rarely needed any of it.
The point was driven home when my husband would take our daughter out- his standard “gear” was an extra diaper, a change of clothes in his coat pocket, and a handful of wipes wrapped in plastic wrap.
4. Dirt Won’t Hurt
With the first child you’re boiling the pacifier the second it hits the floor… over & over again. You get more comfortable -or resigned- with the next kid. By the third (or so on):
just put their food directly on the floor to begin with. #BuildingImmunity
5. Don’t Dress To Excess
We all worry about how people will judge our child’s appearance… until we don’t anymore. Zach nails this truth:
The oldest child needs to look nice because that one is a reflection of your training abilities. The second one can look completely homeless.
Sorry, firstborns! Pressure’s all on you!
6. Tame The Target Tantrums
We’ve all experienced that dreaded moment when your toddler tantrums in a public place* (*Target. It is somehow always Target). What to do- leave the store, or rage-shop while enduring the judgy glares of fellow shoppers? Zach’s answer?
shift all of your shopping from Target over to Walmart until you can get them to act classy. No one judges at Walmart.
Thank you for being a friend, Walmart.
7. When It Comes To Babysitters, You Gotta Make It Rain
Oh, how I feel this one. When you have your first sweet little baby, relatives are crawling over one another to get a crack at babysitting your cheeky ‘lil cherub. But fast-foward a kid or two (or four), and suddenly even your mom is letting your babysitting requests go straight to voicemail.
8. Make Some Noise! (No, seriously!)
This is a key new-parent mistake: trying to ensure total silence in the home while baby is napping. It may seem like a good idea… until life-noise interferes. And it WILL- over & over & over again. Unless you want to spend the next few years rage-whispering to your spouse to stop “breathing so loudly” because the “BABY WILL HEAR IT & WAKE UP AND I WILL DIE IF I HAVE TO TRY TO GET HER TO SLEEP AGAIN”- be noisy!
My children could sleep through a natural disaster and I need for it to be that way.
(And for your sanity, you’ll need it to be that way, too. Trust us.)
9. Night Time Is The Right Time
Once it’s dark, it stays dark. Right on, Zach. Dark is sleep-time, kids. Dark by 5pm in the winter? “Oh, look at the time, kids! Bedtiiimmme!” (because another bonus to having little kids: they can’t tell time). Some families co-sleep, which is totally cool. But Zach points out one huge benefit to not co-sleeping each night:
After the baby gets old enough to leave your bedroom, don’t let them back in! #MommyDaddyTime
Yup, Mommy-Daddy time. A little bump & grind without bumping into a flailing, sleeping toddler!
10. Ignorance Is Bliss
Ah, yes- this is my favorite rule of them all, because it’s true! It needs no explaining because it’s already perfection in its poignant accuracy. Take it away, Zach:
Don’t take parenting advice from a parent who only has one child under two years old. That poor soul, bless their heart, doesn’t actually know what is going on yet. #demonsarereal
But you’ll learn, newbies. Oh, you’ll learn. And with Zach Whitsel’s principles as a helpful guideline, you’ll be off to a great start!