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Unsolicited Advice

I'm terribly good at giving unsolicited advice. It just pops out. I can't help it. I apologize if I've given you any unsolicited advice. I'm sure I have. I got a lot of it before and after becoming a mother and I promised I wasn't going to do that to anyone else.

But yet, here I am.

I gave my cute, pregnant friend a pep talk a few weeks ago because she was feeling scared and overwhelmed at the thought of taking care of two kids. I definitely felt that way, too, and oftentimes still feel that way. Anyway, she said that I should write a post about what I told her, so I guess this is a little bit solicited as far as unsolicited advice goes.

Honestly, for as much unsolicited advice I give, I feel like I'm not really qualified to do to so because of my inadequacies as a human being. Plus, I'm in therapy to learn how to cope with my inadequacies, and I worry that I'll be judged for giving advice when I don't have my stuff together.

But, the thing about us unsolicited advisors is that we have the best of intentions. We want to share what we've experienced so others can learn from our mistakes and triumphs, so that things life will be easier for you. We're trying to streamline your life. BUT that's not always practical, and just because we tell you to do something doesn't mean that you have to do it. Use your moral compass and personal experiences to gauge whether you should take someone else's advice or not.

Anyway, here is my new and improved pep talk, all the same. I hope that even if you're not in the same boat as I am that you can still find some of what I say helpful. If not, feel free to give me some advice on how to do things. I'm soliciting you.

1. Take time for yourself and don't feel guilty about it. You can't give from an empty bucket.

2. Leaving the house is hard but worth it. Do it. It keeps everyone sane.

3. Life, having multiple kids, making a big move, etc. is hard but doable. When it's not doable, ask for help. Most people want to help, they just don't know how, and they won't help unless you ask.

4. Your spouse, oldest kid(s), friend(s) are probably going to have a hard time with a new person in the picture. Give them equal time and schedule (play)dates with them regularly.

5. Help whomever is screaming the loudest (from my cousins, this is prime advice). BUT don't forget about the people who don't scream. They need help, too.

6. This one is from my therapist: Allow yourself to have negative emotions. You're allowed to get mad and frustrated when things happen that you don't like. Allow yourself to feel that way, even though you don't like it, and acknowledge the emotion you're feeling.

7. Take things a moment at a time, don't overwhelm yourself, and make preparations to avoid frustrations when/where you can.

8. Get enough sleep, exercise, and give your body good fuel. I struggle with this even though I know how important it is.

9. Reach out to others. I have made a huge effort to extend as many invitations to play and do activities as I can, and I have been able to make a lot of friends in a short amount of time because of it. It's helped me to feel less alone and help relieve loneliness others have been feeling.

10. You're going to learn some valuable life lessons from things you say to your kids, such as:
"If we love someone, we don't stomp on their heads.", "That is not a hat! That's a potty!", and "Don't eat my toes."

11. If you have the opportunity to do something again, such as having another baby or going on a trip or getting your wisdom teeth out again, try to stress less and enjoy it more the second time around.

12. You'll find yourself saying, "no" a lot. Before you say no, think of why or why not. If you can't think of a good reason to say "no," maybe you shouldn't say it. If you can think of a reason why the answer should be "no," follow up with your explanation. For example, from 5 minutes ago, "No! Stop it!" vs. "Please don't spray my lamps with the water bottle because I don't want them to get wet. I just barely got them and I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to get lamps wet."

13. Sometimes you have to let other people be naughty while you're trying to keep someone else alive and happy. You can't micromanage everyone all the time. Opposition in all things, pal.

14. Do unpleasant things in pairs. If you're changing one diaper, might as well change both (also from my cousins).

15. Be quick to forgive. If you were to die tomorrow, would whatever you're mad about matter anymore?

16. Every stage of life is hard, but every stage of life is fun. In the wise words of Hannah Montana (not Miley Cyrus--big difference), "Life's what you make it, so let's make it rock!"

I'm sure as I learn and grow, this will be an ongoing list of unsolicited advice, possibly for the rest of my life. But for now, that's all I got.

Hasta la pasta, ya'll.