(a flash (short) non-fiction piece)
The best advice isn’t advice. The most helpful women come to your house and act. They don’t give advice. They come to your home and quietly without ceremony make your bed. They wipe down your counters. They hold your baby so you can use the bathroom or answer the phone. They bring you a burger when that’s all you can think about.
They don’t lecture on the benefits of breastfeeding, but they guide your baby’s mouth to your nipple and show him how to latch.
They don’t tell you the secrets to comforting a baby, because there are none, but you watch them do deep squats and the baby begins to calm, and you begin to accept the physical strength it will take to be a mother. You notice no matter their size, they all have muscular arms.
They tell you it is okay to put the inconsolable baby down. Walk away. Every mother has to save herself sometimes.
They don’t come to your house to hold the baby. They came to hold you. And to do your laundry.
There are mothers who only care for children, and then there are mothers who care for women and children—these are the ones you must find. They are the doers, not the talkers. They will save your sanity or bring you back from insanity.
And don’t worry—you only need one or two of these women to make a tribe. They are villages and libraries of knowledge unto themselves.
The best advice isn’t advice. The most helpful women show up, even when it’s not convenient or they are not ready. They show up and wash the bottles. They notice you haven’t showered lately and draw you a warm lavender bath. And when you emerged from the steamy bathroom, they are cooing with your baby who they swear looks just like you.