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You’re a few weeks away from your due date and you’ve been making sure you’ve got everything you need. Stroller, crib, car seat, check, check, check. You’ve taken your birth class, your newborn care class and read whatever books suit your (intended) parenting style. In addition to all of that, here are a few pieces of unsolicited advice, because I know you haven’t had any of that for the last 9 months.

1. Go out and stay out past 9pm. I’m not joking. I know you are tired and bloated and don’t feel like the cute pregnant lady anymore. It’s time to (wo)man up.  Once that baked ham makes an appearance in the real world you will never again enjoy a night out the same way.  You will be tired. You will worry about the baby. You will find it hard to hold a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the baby.  These are your final weeks (or days) before your world gets rocked, please, go enjoy your freedom.

2. Disregard advice on handling newborns from people that haven’t been through it already.  People mean well, they really do, but if they have not spent at least a week being solely responsible for a new human under 6 weeks old, their advice is useless. If someone offering you advice has never had the joy of going weeks without sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time, or has never had someone scream at them for hours on end, they cannot offer you sage advice.  What they can do is come hold your screaming baby for a few minutes so you can go take a shower (and cry).

3. Understand you know nothing. You used to babysit? You’ve swaddled your best friends baby? You have nieces and nephews? Does.Not.Matter. Shit is about to get real, and I just think you will be way better off to throw everything you think it’s is going to be like out the window. The first few months of operation with a newborn are going to be filled with tears (yours and baby’s), a lot of self doubt, and probably the unspoken look to your spouse of “why did we do this?”.  You can think you’re different, but I know you’re wrong.

BONUS: Be prepared for (childless) people to compare having a newborn to their cat. I’m serious. We had stories told to us about how someones pet (usually cats) would keep them up at night and they knew how we felt. Those people are probably going to be family members so you can’t give what the proper response should be, which is Go Fuck Yourself.