Is your baby keeping you up at night? Are you worried about whether or not you’re making enough breast milk, or if you’ve chosen the right formula? Can’t figure out the difference between Gerber and Ferber and AP and Pee-Pee and a nanny-share and an over-share? Wondering if everyone else has this parenting gig all figured out, when the best you can muster up is five minutes in the bathroom alone?
Of course you’re drowning. Motherhood is a competitive sport. It’s eat or be eaten in the great game of parenting, so you better saddle up sister. Establish yourself as the leader of the pack now, while you still have your wits about you. Be an Alpha. Put that college degree to good use. The Mommy Games start the minute you pack away the last of the wedding gifts, and trade your account at The Knot for one on BabyCenter. Here’s how to kick some butt and show those other moms who the Queen of The Playground really is:
1. Time your conception so that it coincides with the cycles of the moon. And football season. And the perfect weather for maternity leggings. Share on Facebook that making a baby is easy, if you only put your mind to it.
2. Begin researching preschools. Your little Einstein might only be the size of a sweet potato at the moment, but you read in New York Magazine that spaces fill up quickly in the play-based Montessori experiential learning outdoor nature loving academic secular one religion under God school that will cost a year’s worth of mortgage payments to afford.
3. Announce loudly in your childbirth class that epidurals are for the weak. The natural high that you get from prenatal yoga, smoking homemade kombucha, and drinking the nectar of flowers and strength will surely carry you across the open field of childbirth. You know this because your sister told you, and that is the perfect sample size.
4. Announce loudly in your childbirth class that only dirty hippie chicks go med-free. Hand out packets of research citing numerous Facebook posts by celebrity doctors, stating that epidurals increase the likelihood of above-average SAT scores, and correlate directly to future wealth. You know this because your neighbor’s cousin’s ex-girlfriend worked at an OB’s office, and that is your perfect sample size.
5. As you are wheeled in to the labor and delivery unit, yell at the nurses that your $200 birthing outfit was “Personalized with a monogram, damn it! So please could you not be so careless with all of the water that is leaking everywhere!”
6. When the clerk arrives to fill out the birth certificate paperwork, insist that of course this is how you spell it. “With two y’s, and an extra e”. Hello, hasn’t she ever visited Nameberry?
7. Head home from the hospital with very concrete ideas about how baby will sleep, eat and play. Post baby’s routine on the fridge with an elaborate magnet chart that you decoupaged from Pinterest. Yell at your mother, your partner, your best friend, the housekeeper, and the postman when they try to tell you that baby doesn’t need his own Erin Condren Life Planner, because he’s only 6 days old.
8. Announce at your New Parent Support Group that you look so well-rested because your family believes in co-sleeping, night-nannying, Ferberizing, Attachment Parenting, keeping the room cool, swaddling with wool blankets made from non-GMO sheep, and Greek lullabies punctuated by sign language. The secret to having a baby who sleeps for 12 hours straight is not that hard to figure out, friends. Suggest gently that their baby’s lack of slumber could be due to user error or the wrong color nursery.
9. Smirk at the mom who is struggling to pour powdered formula into a bottle while her baby screams. Do not offer to hold her baby when the powder spills on the floor and her cheeks burn red. She dug her own grave.
10. Smirk at the mom who is struggling to unsnap her bra while her baby screams. Do not offer to hold her baby while she fishes for a cover and accidentally flashes the only dad in playgroup. She dug her own grave.
11. Create a Facebook Group MeetUp BabyCenter Forum Website for moms who parent exactly like you do. Require membership cards. Develop very strict guidelines around who’s in, and who’s out. Pretend you’re Tim Gunn. Scratch that. Be Heidi Klum, and use the accent. Get a secret thrill out of revoking membership to anyone who isn’t YOU enough. “I’m sorry, Mommy Friend. But you are OUT.” Insist that if they want to find community, they are more than welcome to create their own.
12. Host playdates at your house and insist that your living room doesn’t always look like it’s straight out of Martha Stewart. Just today, friends. Make sure no one hears you stuff three loads of laundry back into the hall closet when you hang their coats up.
13. Volunteer for everything at your child’s school. Have T-Shirts made that say “I’m the Room Mom, Who Are You?” Then schedule classroom events for 10:30 am. May the best mom win. You know, the one with the most free time.
14. Profess your love for the Uber SnapChat Stitchfix method of potty training. Then eat all of the goddamn M&M’s. Kids shouldn’t be rewarded for peeing anyway.
15. Write long FB rants about those other moms. The ones who haven’t figured out the tricks to motherhood yet. Instead of offering to help when they complain about sleepless nights, puke in car seats, and Target temper tantrums, offer something even more useful…..”Oh, just wait till they’re older! Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!”
16. Wear expensive yoga clothes to drop-off. Don’t let anyone discover that you are downward-dogging a double caramel frappucino, and not headed to the gym at all. Deny that you allowed yourself any “me time” that didn’t involve raising your heart rate. Insist that you spent your free time getting back into pre-pregnancy shape. Appear glowing and winded at pick-up. Thank goodness your ponytail is still messy from relaxing in the pedicure chair, because it looks like you just left spin class.
17. Perfect the art of asking questions, and framing them correctly. Don’t ever ask “What do you think about sleep training?”. Instead, say “You’re not one of THOSE moms, are you?” Other examples of helpful, well thought out questions include “Have you really researched vaccinations lately? Have you heard the latest data on red-shirting for kindergarten? Have you tried offering him healthy options so that he stops eating chicken nuggets and noodles laced with Red Dye #5 for dinner?” Pride yourself on being so helpful and concerned.
18. Consult Dr. Google regularly. Create a PhD/MD/OB-GYN degree for yourself, and frame it on the wall next to the burlap banner and personalized chore chart that you ordered for your husband off of Etsy.
19. Pose for daily selfies, and make sure to get your perfectly shiny shoes in every shot. Pretend that you stay dressed all day long, and not just for photo ops. Do not share the picture of your 5 year old using your blow dryer as a gun, or your toddler eating cheerios in the Pack N Play while you carefully applied concealer. Use relevant hashtags for your fashion photography, like #MomminIt and #NoMakeupRealLife, so that all of your followers know how glamorous motherhood can be….if they’re doing it right. Instagram the shit out of pictures like this, that show your children playing happily together in matching shirts.
Delete the picture after that one, where your 5 year old smacked the baby in the face with the block while you were Instagramming the first picture.
20. Take constant breaks to pay attention to your own mental health, and to thank the wonderfully supportive community of moms that you have drawn into your life with your kindness, honesty, and unconditional support.