As I’m sure most of you read Hoda Kotb just adopted a baby girl. I am genuinely happy for her. Our relationship only extends to an occasionsal 10am viewing of her and Kathie Lee, but she seems so lovely and real and her baby is so lucky to have her.
Ironically I was telling my friend this morning that when it comes to my kids I really wish I knew then what I know now. I can honestly say that I am so much wiser now and that my husband and I literally had no clue in our twenties when we started having kids. So for Hoda I want to share my most important lessons on parenting. I’m sure she knows plenty but every little bit helps.
Babies: You now have this little baby and truly the only thing you need to worry about now is to keep her safe and healthy. Feed her, bathe her, and make sure she gets enough sleep. Rock her, play music and enjoy her. Schedules are so important. It makes your life easier and your baby’s easier. I had no schedule unless you count 5pm every day my husband running back and forth across the room to calm our baby or driving around in the car in the middle of winter to get him to sleep. We also let our baby drink pickle juice, which now I know is not a real vegetable. Also, not sure if you are going to do the Mommy and Me classes, but if you do, I found them to be a lot of fun because any time an Alpha mom boasted about what her baby was doing, I just made stuff up about mine. I don’t want to brag, but my baby at 3 months knew the whole periodic table.
Toddlers: This stage drove me to drink. The tantrums are real, the defiance terrifying. The most important thing to remember, you can use a toilet, they still crap in their pants. That enough should make you feel confident that you are the boss. We can still love our kids and let them know the appropriate way to act. Setting expectations for our kids is good. Let them do anything they want and you get Lindsey Lohan down the line. Me, for some reason, I was so worried to upset my little fuckers I didn’t have enough rules. I mean, my kids aren’t in prison yet but I think rules are positive for our kids and they create a level of respect. Another important tip. Once the kid can talk, they can repeat. Try to not call them little fuckers a lot or let them listen to Howard Stern. I learned the hard way. But it was pretty entertaining.
Pre-Teen (7-12) These years are actually quite wonderful. The hormones haven’t kicked in and your child still finds you enjoyable. During this time, find something your daughter loves to do. Whether it’s an instrument or a sport, dance or a writing class, kids need something other than school. As you know, busy is better. A passion your kids have gives them confidence in all areas of their lives. Encourage them, don’t pressure them or they will resent it.
Teens: Ugh!!! This drove me to crack. Kidding, of course, but these years make me miss the potty training years where my kid thought they were using the toilet if they pooped in real underwear. I was so naive to think what my friends shared with their teens, the lack of communication, the distance, that these things wouldn’t happen to me because I’m the cool mom. First and foremost, if you call yourself the cool mom just go sit at a cafeteria table alone. Even if you are cool your daughter may never tell you. All you can do during this stage is what I like to call “in your face parenting”. Require dinners together, shut down their phones when u want ask them questions, investigate their lives. It is up to you to make sure they know just because they are older and seeking independence that you love them and still think they are morons.
Most important, with each stage and varying behaviors try to not overreact . They will get hurt sometimes, keep calm, they will act like monsters, don’t react to them like they are monsters, don’t make everything so global. Just because my daughter has kissed a boy doesn’t mean she will be Jenna Jameson. Bite your tongue at times; it will feel better than letting your emotions say the wrong thing.
And this is where my wisdom ends as my kids are only teens. I do know having them was like winning the lottery. I know I love them always and will worry for them forever. But really, Hoda the most important thing you’ve already done. You have your own identity. Keep that. Cherish it. It makes you a better mom already and a wonderful example for your daughter.
Congratulations!! And don’t waste your money on a diaper genie ..they suck.