My best friend since high school called a few weeks ago to announce that she's pregnant for the first time (!!) and my heart is bursting with joy for her.
Once we got past the “Ahhhh!” and “Oh my goodness!” and “Ahhhh” again, I asked her all the requisite questions-- How far along? How are you feeling? When are you due?
She went on to list all of the books she’s be reading lately. (You know the ones with all of the conflicting advice, extreme standards, and impossibly high ideals) Then she noted all of missteps she's noticed other (read: lesser) parents doing that she and her husband will never do.
For once, I was grateful to be separated by several states and a crappy cell connection, so I could keep my eye rolls and snickers to myself.
“Our toddler will never run around at dinner time!”
“What was that noise?”
“Oh… um, probably some static. By all means, please continue.”
I could have offered advice from my years of experience. I could have asked the “tough” questions from someone who's been there, done that.
Forget debating about the nursery colors, have they talked about about who’s getting up with the baby in the middle of the night- an ugly, bleary-eyed argument that inevitably boils down to “who’s day job is more important?”
I didn’t going into any of that because I know what it's like to be pregnant for the very first time (and the second time, too) and there is no way I was about to deprive my best friend of almost twenty years of that excited, anxious, CRAZY, know-it-all, terrifying, breathtaking, mind-blowing, magical experience.
(Being pregnant for the second time wasn't that different from the first time, except that know-it-all feelings is heightened and you gain the baby weight twice as fast.)
Instead, I listened, intently and indulgently, to everything the Internet had to say on whether her baby is a size of an avocado or a peach this week, everything she ate today, and how much weigh she should be gaining.
Why? Because she did the same thing for me almost five years ago when I was sending “pregnancy updates” to all of my friends via email and perfectly quoting Babywise, Sears, and SuperNanny. Oh yeah, I was THAT girl.
In lieu of more stress and more pressure from yet another “expert”, I simply told her to enjoy this time. Truly and completely relish this time.
When else do you get to know absolutely everything about everything when it comes to motherhood?
I told her to parent the kid you have. I spent so much time fretting about nipple confusion and bed wetting, when I really should have come up with 21 ways to take a conference call while my child howls because I gave his a red bowl, not blue....
I shared with her all of the funny stories and sweet moments. I told her should could call me anytime and that she’s going to make an awesome mom.
I also asked her to specifically enumerate all those instance of “bad parenting” she's been noticing recently... for mocking in the years to come.... er, I mean, posterity's sake.