Snooki, congratulations on the birth of Lorenzo, you minx.
I have a baby gift for you: I'm here to be your ex-party-girl-turned-mother spirit guide.
Because if MTV wanted a real show of drunken asshole-ism, they could have just been following me around instead of the Jersey Shore cast. While I give you props, Snooki, I have topped them all. Kicked out of a strip club for making more money than the girls working there? Check. Done lines of coke backstage with some very famous rockers? Bunch of checks. If you wanted a hot mess and a tray full of shots, I was your girl before I became "mom."
I know where you're at, girl. The world has these expectations that over 9 months your previous personality evaporates and gets replaced with a Diaper Genie. It's a ridiculous conception. You still love Patron AND now you love your new baby, but feel judged into giving a shit about swaddling.
But: What happens when part of who you are has changed, but people's idea of you hasn't?
Having been that well-known party girl, it was beyond an adjustment for me to suddenly switch into who the world expected. I failed. A LOT. The combination of being a teen mom as well as the Midwest's most experienced shot taker, there were times I had more in common with Teen Mom Jenelle than Maci (it's still painful for me to admit that). I found myself trying to be the perfect mom, who pretended to like the things I felt pressured to, but still being treated like the party girl I had been (friends still expected me to go out and family still considered me irresponsible).
Caught in the crossfire, I found myself falling into the idea of, "If I'm being punished for something I'm not doing, why not do it?" Now, 5 years later, I have grown into (what I hope) is a balance between pretending to like "Dora the Explorer" and doing shots off my friends 4 nights a week.
My own wisdom was not found overnight and the path I drunkenly stumbled along to get here was nothing short of unglamorous.
But I did it for you. I was a trailblazer for you, Snooki. You're welcome.
Rule No. 1: Take time for you.
You'll hear people tell you to "nap when the baby naps." That is not what I'm implying here (but that's actually a legitimate tip). As I said, don't let people force you into giving up who you are. Take one night a week and DO SNOOKI, DAMN IT! When momma is happy, baby is happy. You give off vibes or hormones or are less of a bitch and your baby can tell. Don't be a bitch for, Lorenzo. He needs you to be the best Snooki you can be.
Rule No. 2: Don't starve yourself.
Along with stigmas to be the perfect mom, the idea that women have to bounce back into perfect shape enrages me, and it isn't just an ideal held to celebrities. My very diet-conscious family was full of putdowns and snide comments that had me skipping meals and trying to keep up with a newborn at the same time. Take a tip from Hilary Duff, who's getting back into post-baby shape slowly, telling the haters where to stick it. Hilary may have gotten some crap by tabloids for taking her time, but she's won herself a new fan in me. Especially if you're choosing to breastfeed, having fat on your body is fat your baby needs for growth. No, pickles won't be enough calories. It goes with Rule No. 1 to take care of you, even when you're having to take care of someone else (which is the hardest part of motherhood, finding that balance).
Rule No. 3: Research the advice everyone gives you.
People's favorite thing to do after you have a baby is giving unsolicited advice (sorry, I guess I'm included in there), but not all of it is sound advice. Are all those vaccines really necessary? Is organic the only way to go? Will formula really deprive them of needed nutrients? Will they grow up to have bad self-esteem if you don't co-sleep? Those decisions are ultimately up to you, but just because someone is judging your choice doesn't mean their way is right and you should change everything you're doing. If you take every bit of advice someone shoves at you or lets them make you feel like a bad mother for doing things your own way, you'll drive yourself insane trying to please everyone when the only people who need to make the choices are you and your partner. If Vinny tells you he knows what is best for your tike, what are you going to do, girl? That's right. Ignore it.
Rule No. 4: Enjoy the newborn stage.
When my mom first told me that newborn was the easiest time to handle your child, I laughed out loud. SHE WAS KIDDING ME, RIGHT? My son never stopped crying for food, diaper changes, love, WHATEVER! It certainly couldn't get any more chaotic than this. There a few things I dislike doing more than admitting my mother was right, but she really was. The older a baby gets, the more that baby needs. First comes walking, which means they're into everything. Then comes talking, which means they want to ask questions about EVERYTHING! I recently read a statistic that the average 4-year-old asks over 400 questions a day. I would like to vouch for this statistic as I rip out my hair. Take my mother's advice, enjoy this precious stage where you spend hours exchanging long, loving glances into your son's beautiful eyes. Save your energy for later. When you are tasked with the very important gift of teaching both ABC -- and GTL.
Rule No. 5: Don't be too hard on yourself.
I found the easiest thing for me to do was doubt myself. Like having to make your own choices among everyone's advice, don't let all the gossip/opinions make you doubt who you are as a person OR as a mother. New motherhood is a vulnerable time emotionally, physically, and mentally. Everything in and around you is changing, and while I genuinely believe many people give advice out of love, it doesn't make you doubt your abilities and choices any less. Have confidence in who you are as a mother, even if who you are as a mother is still growing/changing. You are the tits, Snooki. Don't ever forget it.
Rule No. 6: Your kid is going to see your past.
There's really no way to hide who you once were, Nicole. You can't burn every copy of "Jersey Shore" DVDs, but you can use it as a necessary and awesome tool to be honest with your son in a few years. When he comes to you with questions about drugs, alcohol and peer pressure, you'll have a lot of honest (and documented) experiences with some of the things you've faced (like getting arrested, blacking out and getting sick from alcohol poisoning). Instead of feeling nervous about how you might have to face his discovery of your pre-mommy life, know you're ready to handle hopefully any questions he has to throw your way. Like, why is mommy orange?
Most of all, accept people are going to be assholes and judge you no matter what you do. Despite there being no manual with your new baby, people seem to take it upon themselves to write one for you. But parenthood is trial, error and enjoying the changes in the person you become along the way. Congratulations on motherhood, Snooki.
Just do the best you can (and know the best you can do changes from day to day). Laugh at yourself and with your child as often as possible and if you can, don't start sipping champagne out of his sippy cup before he's in bed at night. Because if your kid is anything like mine? Lorenzo will have enough to work with in therapy as it is.