Thursday, May 30, 2013

Surviving Your Baby's First Year

I bet I got a lot of people's attention with that post title!! Well, actually this is a review for a great book I just finished reading Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year by Dawn Dais.

For those of you who know me well, you are probably wondering why I chose to read this book (yes, I get to choose the preview books I want to read and review - love this!!).
  1. My seventeen year old son, an only child, will be graduating from high school in 9 days (Salutatorian of his class of almost 500!)
  2. **TMI Alert** - I had a radical hysterectomy the day before my 42nd birthday (What a gift!)
  3. **TMI Alert #2** - My husband had a vasectomy about five years ago.
Don't worry.
  1. I am no pregnant - OBVIOUSLY!!
  2. I don't have empty nest syndrome ~ yet (Have you seen the 2013 season finale of the ABC television series The Middle? I'm about at this point...
  3. I'm not pining for grandchildren ~ yet (Although I do adore my son's girlfriend. She is definitely a keeper in my book ~ if it is God's plan, I am on board!)
I just came across the title and was interested in what the author had to say on the subject. I have to admit it was one of the best parenting books I have ever read. Not only was it enlightening for this "old" mom, but it was also funny because I could see myself in every stage of this book. It was SO true! I really believe this should be a required text for all new moms and dads. The title doesn't lie, this really is the sh!t no one tells you! Well, some things you do find out from those really great friends (for me,  Monica ~ she told me about the "crime scene time" and I will be forever grateful because I would have thought I was dying otherwise!). 

The advice conveyed throughout is right to the point. I know I said some of the book was laugh out loud accurate, but I also know when you are in this stage of life you will truly believe it will never end. One of the quotes I highlighted in my preview copy (I can't officially quote any of the text because I only have a preview edition, the book will be released on June 4th) referred to the phrase new parents are constantly hearing, "It goes by so quickly". I love how Dais made the recommendation to talk to the new parents, or even the overwhelmed parents struggling with a toddler in the grocery story, and let them know you understand where they are in their life right now but this too shall pass and one day you will be heartbroken when they move into their own place. [Remember,I can't quote the text, but her words are fabulous and almost brought me to tears ~ remember I have a son graduating from high school in 9 days!!]

Another great quote (which I can't include) mentioned how a mother will always feel overwhelmed because that is part of the job [again, her words are so much better, but I want to get the point across]. She makes a wonderful point of enjoying each moment of your child's life in the moment. It may seem overwhelming and exhausting, but these times can never be replicated. Your child's first steps are a joy, your child's first tooth - not so much, but it is a precious time. Don't be so anxious to see what your child's next milestone will be, relish the moment. I believe parenting can relate to Greg Anderson's quote, "Focus on the journey, not the destination."

I cannot say I have arrived at my destination as a mother as my son graduates from high school. I will always be his mother. I will forever have a part of me walking outside of my body. Now I will no longer have any control (which has always been an issue with me, I admit it). I will always worry and have feelings of wonder (is he eating right, is he going to class, is he happy, and on and on and on).  What I can say is that I have tried to be the best tour guide I could be for him during this portion of our journey together.

In really weird twist of fate, Sh!t No One Tells You was probably the best book I could have read right before watching my son give his Salutatorian address. It has made me reflect on the seventeen years I have had with him (the good and the bad) and realize that yes, it really does fly by so quickly, but then again some of those days seemed to drag on for eternity. We just have to remember to enjoy the journey, no matter what point in our travels we find ourselves.

*To comply with new guidelines introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Avalon Publishing Group has provided a complimentary electronic copy of this book through