Whitney and I have been friends since 1996 when our then-boyfriends were best friends with each other. We used to share adventures before there were babies on the scene: being short at concerts, snowboarding in the slow lane, dancing (but not late), crafting, clothes-swapping, London, etc.
Since Julian is six months older than my rookie son, Holden, Whitney became a role model parent for me (like it or not). Sometimes, I follow her lead right away; other times, I timidly wait six months before copying her or going my own way entirely.
I have a lot of fodder for considering lessons learned. There are the kid-related lessons, stuff she actively wants to teach me (wear cuter shoes and much more make-up on TV), and the great examples she sets without even trying (people like it when you’re ON TIME!).
I offer you a mixed bag of lessons learned from my best friend:
1. Get out of the house.
Yes, it was Whitney’s mantra to get out of the house with our babies that became the basis for this website and the foundation for my life as a fledgling rookie mom. She learned it from her moms’ group and she shared it with me.
2. A little TV is ok.
I love the AAP and their stringent guidelines of no TV. For reals. Following their advice made me feel like a good mommy, and I’ll take any affirmation I can get. But Whitney set me on the path to watching a 12-minute episode of The Wonder Pets when I was nursing baby #2 while entertaining baby #1. When I earned back a fraction of my sanity, I saw that it was a good thing. [See also Use TV as a tool]
3. Movie theaters are not for little kids.
I learned this lesson just under the wire. On Saturday, we took both kids (now 3YO and 5YO) to see Despicable Me in the theater. We sat in the front row. It was funny and mild. Both kids agreed that it was too scary. Holden added that “all movies are too scary or too boring. Toy Story 3: waaaaay too scary. Babies: too boring.” In that moment, I finally realized the lesson that Whitney was trying to teach me: little kids don’t belong at the movies. That said, we think that little babies absolutely belong at the movies.
4. Throw away the parenting books.
New moms are nervous and unsure, right? Not Whitney; she is a model of confidence. We both know on some level that we’ll all make mistakes and that mistakes are okay. But where I turn to books and the Internet to help me figure out my challenges with sleep training, discipline, and the like; Whitney trusts herself. Good for her!
5. Learn to say NO.
Set some boundaries and learn how to say NO (and mean it!). Whitney has a knack for only accepting the tasks and responsibilities she knows she can handle. She asks for help from friends and family well in advance of her desperation point. I envy that quality. When I grow up, I want to have it!
Whitney and I agreed to write about what we’ve learned from each other. I wrote this post without knowing what Whitney’s writing about me though I was tempted to look. Knowing that she found my bras revolutionary in the past, who knows what she’s gonna say!