I love any writer who can spin a story of inadequacy into a self-deprecating rally cry of empowerment. Jennifer Weiner’s collection of essays, Hungry Heart, is exactly that. Tucked within the award-winning collection is a list of do’s and don’ts for women who also happen to be mothers. Here are some of Weiner’s best tips for surviving in the trenches:
1. You only have one goal, and it’s survival.
“Do not hate yourself if you have an epidural, if your baby needs formula, if you need a break. The only object is survival, and the two of you getting out alive and intact. Whatever it takes to make that happen is fine.”
2. Being a chill mom is all about ditching the herd mentality.
3. Judgment is a certainty.
“Do not be surprised when the instant your kid pulls off her socks on a thirty-degree day, or you give her a sip of your iced coffee, or you hand her your iPhone to play with, someone will appear out of nowhere to judge you.”
4. Your own worst problem is your own worst problem but know it’s a #FirstWorldProblem.
“Do keep it in perspective. At the end of the day, these are #firstworldproblems. You and your baby are not wanting for clean water, electricity, or medication.”
5. Don’t be a martyr.
6. Embarrassing your kids is part of your job.
“Do take every chance you get to tell stories about your kids when they were babies, especially ones involving nudity or excretion.”
7. Celebrities are lying to you by omission.
“Do not be fooled. All of those celebrity moms who won’t shut up about how ‘hands-on’ they are, or how they’d never hire a nanny? Well, maybe they don’t have nannies, but they do have an armada of assistants…or a live-in grandmother…or a sister, or a spouse who is picking up the slack. At the very least, they had people who helped them look good in those pictures.”
8. Baggage is something for vacation.
9. Flying is straight-up hell with kids, so be the good you’d want to meet on a plane.
“Do not judge the mom with the screaming baby on the plane. Chances are she’s already mortified and miserable, and unless she somehow snuck aboard your private jet, you agreed to take your chances when you got your ticket. Buy yourself a drink — and maybe offer her one, too. Put in your headphones. Deal.”
10. There is no perfection in parenting.
“Do understand that, when all is said and done, your kids are going to find something to blame you for, no matter how hard you try, and that they will grow up to be who they were destined to be, no matter what you do. A large part of this is out of your hands. Try your best, treat yourself well, and forgive yourself as frequently as possible.”
11. Let him dad.
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