I studied pretty hard for the SATs. I took courses, went to practice tests, worked with friends and really did my best to prepare for the standardized test that determines your college future. Why isn’t there some sort of pre-parents study guide? One that gives you the list of special skills you need to practice to ensure you adapt and succeed at becoming a mom? I wish my mom, or anyone really, would’ve provided me a study guide or practice list before my first little bundle whirled into my life. You know, like a, “this will be on the test immediately upon giving birth” type of guide. There are so many simple things I could’ve started practicing prior to my first child, that would’ve better equipped me mentally and physically. For example, mastering the one-handed, peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I could’ve been practicing and practicing this skill to avoid many sticky disasters in the kitchen. Well, I have a study-guide for all you soon-to-be parents. I promise this is serious. The guide is not a joke, and you will thank me later. I appreciate thank you’s in the form of Starbucks.
1. The use of only one hand. Start practicing now by tieing one hand behind your back. Just go through daily life like that to start. Then, proceed to line up a bunch of bread on your kitchen counter. Whip out your favorite butter knife and start spreading that peanut butter and jelly like it’s no body’s business. MASTER THE SANDWHICH. I promise, you can do it, and you’ll be so happy you did.
2. Functioning with interruptions. Begin getting used to never finishing a thought or task without being interrupted and/or asked to do something other than what you were trying to accomplish. Have your husband or baby daddy play along with you on this one. Try to clean the house. Have him walk over to you every 23.45 seconds and ask you a question like, “Honey, do you have a belly button on your back?” Followed by, “can you look at my back and see if I have one?” Then, make sure he includes requests like, “Honey, I want some juice please. No, actually chocolate milk. No! Not chocolate milk, ORANGE juice!” He must make sure he’s as difficult as possible for simple needs. Have him surprise you with any ludicrous question or statement he can come up with to throw you off track. See how much cleaning you can get done.
3. Start playing the sounds of a crying baby in the background. I never babysat babies much, so I wasn’t used to the sound of a baby crying. I dropped whatever I was doing and sprinted like an Olympian, hurling myself over couches and tables towards my first baby. I was too jumpy, so I suggest playing the sound of a crying baby while you are doing various tasks. The ideal moments to get used to are right after you hop in the shower, as soon as you go to the bathroom, immediately upon laying down for a nap, and any other inconvenient times (hint hint the bedroom) I’m sure you can come up with on your own as well. The point is to prepare yourself for a crying infant at very inconvenient times.
4. Standing and bouncing/rocking. Once you have a baby, you’ll never stand normal again. You’ll always be holding, rocking, bouncing or swaying your little one into happiness. Practice doing it in the checkout line while shopping, or while cooking, or during a conversation with someone. By the time baby comes, you’ll be into a rhythm their gonna love! Extra credit if while your practicing, whoever you are nearby or talking too starts swaying or bouncing with you unconsciously.
5. Eating at Restaurants. Its basically forbidden with kids, but here’s what you can work on ahead of time. When you get to the restaurant, clear the whole table off. Have them leave you with nothing but a fork and napkin. Inform the waiter you are practicing your restaurant behavior, and you’d like the check with the food. Tell them to have to-go boxes ready as well. Then, set an alarm to get up and walk around the restaurant every 3 minutes. You’ll grow accustom used to having trouble finishing your food. Also make sure you’re done eating in 25 minutes. This will get you into the practice of scarfing down your meal, having your meal interrupted and getting waiters and waitresses aware of your quick exit plan.
If I had practiced these skills prior to having my little ones, I’d be so much farther ahead! Think of the speed I’d be able to whip out those sandwiches? How productive I’d be even when the baby is fussy? Get your head start now. Take it from me, a mom of three boys under 4-years-old. Study hard, ace the test and be that much closer to the happy mama you are envisioning yourself to be now.