Advice for Maryam Scoble, Expectant Mom

by francine Hardaway on August 4, 2007

Louis Solis, a new friend from the AlwaysOn conference, told me last week that when he grew up, he wanted to be in the “wisdom business” like I was. I took it as a compliment, although fortunately or unfortunately, everyone my age is in the wisdom business. We’ve seen it all. Or most of it. Just by spending time on the planet.

So when Maryam Scoble’s wonderful friend Schaydie, who created a spectacular baby shower for her today, put a baby-blue feathered pen in my hand and asked me to write a word of advice for Maryam on an index card, I was paralyzed. First of all, I’ve nearly forgotten how to write by hand. Second, I have more to say to a woman having a baby in this day and age than fits on a package of index cards.

Here it goes (just the top of mind advice). Remember you get what you pay for.

1)Having a child is not unbearably painful, however, raising a child can be unbearably painful. Save the drugs for six months AFTER the birth, when you haven’t slept for 180 days in a row. Have natural childbirth. Giving birth is easy and quick compared to child raising. At least childbirth is over after the baby comes out. Motherhood isn’t over until you are.

2) Don’t believe the people who tell you not to put the baby in your bed. You won’t turn over on your child, but you will at least get a few minutes of sleep between feedings if you don’t have to keep getting out of bed and walking over to the crib to get it.

3)If you have a husband, forget about him. He can’t do anything for you in the first few months, even if he wants to. Typically even the most wonderful men are baffled by babies. Robert will quickly figure out that he has a limited role and react accordingly: he will join another social network.

4)CNN says it takes $270,000 to bring up a child today, up to age 17. This refers to a ghetto child, not a child in a private preschool. Buy anything you really need for yourself (underwear, nail polish remover, diet Coke) before the baby is born. You won’t be able to to afford it afterwards.

5)Work outside the home, even if you are very rich and don’t need to. Other mothers with toddlers do not count as adult companionship. Working gives you an excuse to get out of the house without carrying anything heavier than a laptop.

6)Which leads me to the next point: prepare to become a pack animal. No one with a baby travels light. A baby needs an extraordinary number of devices and accessories everywhere it goes.

7)Don’t listen to me, the doctor, or anyone else. You know your own child better than anyone else does. If you don’t let yourself get sidetracked by too much advice, you will do just fine. This isn’t the first time we’ve reproduced the race.

8)Your child will end up being someone you only partially know. You won’t know where he got some of these quirks and habits. But one day he will tell a psychiatrist he got them from you.

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