DO budget. Most couples have to cut back when pausing a career. Don’t let the Volvo moms fool you, even they’re learning to cook.
DON’T budget for premium channels or a Brazilian when you want your SO to give up organic cacao nibs and a gym membership. Work together.
DO develop a routine. Get up early, put on some decent clothes, eat a solid breakfast, and you’re less likely to look out the window and hate on productive people all day.
DON’T stay in your pajamas and watch television. The baby needs to be fed and those chin hairs aren’t going to pluck themselves.
DO create a schedule every week. Include naps, playtime, activities, and wine.
DON’T get crazy and write that shit in pen. You’re going to erase or delete at least 9 times before noon.
DO check out local free activities or inexpensive outings.
DON’T be surprised to see a crowd of hillbillies with the exact same idea, folks who have no teeth but every inclination to fight over parking spaces. It’s free. Science.
DO roll down the windows in the car when babies fall asleep and you’re almost home. That’s much better than reaching around, pinching their legs, and yelling, “Wake up, nosepickers!”
DON’T feel guilty – they sleep longer at home in their own beds and you need some space to stare into your magnifying mirror and wonder what happened to your life.
DO become certified in CPR. That shit saves lives.
DON’T think certification and watching Dr. Oz makes you some kind of expert. We all know your degree is in Romance Languages, okay?
DO make friends because otherwise you’ll become obsessed with things like piss-poor crown molding and how in the world no one noticed it and before long “Hubs” is hitting happy hour every night.
DON’T be too picky about the friends you make during this time of your life. You’ll learn from them all, even the ones who scrapbook.
DO something productive while your babies nap.
DON’T bother the FedEx delivery guy with a 10-minute dissertation on mulch v. lava rocks. He’s got a life to lead.
DO prepare yourself emotionally for when baby quits that second afternoon nap.
DON’T worry, the neighbors can’t hear you scream if you cover your face with a pillow.
DO fill your house with music, all genres, rather than silence.
DON’T be shocked if you sing along with Raffi. A million kids can’t be wrong.
DO read to your children, every day, and encourage them to participate and turn the pages.
DON’T hesitate to skip the boring parts. Little Bear’s shenanigans are fucking tedious. By the time your kids catch on, they’re the kindergarten teacher’s problem.
DO enjoy your quiet moments.
DON’T expect them to last.
DO rotate toys. Divide everything into thirds and your kids will think they have new playthings every week. Those little shits can’t remember dick.
DON’T feel the need to disinfect everything. You’ll go crazy thinking about all the germs. Just wet-wipe that spit-up or vomit. Works for everyone.
DO know that staying home and raising your children is the most important job ever.
DON’T convince yourself this is all you are.
DO pay attention to signs of stress and fatigue. Are you creating powerpoint presentations to explain your pantry because no one respects organization anymore? Are you lecturing a two year-old about “effort” before Mommy and Me Music Class?
DON’T. Just. Don’t. Stop, look, listen, and get a fucking job. In that order.
DO feel proud of yourself for making your family a priority.
DON’T compare yourself to Mother Teresa or goddamn Gandhi. Remember – Charles Manson’s mom stayed home too. And we all know how he turned out.