There are quite a few babies coming in my family this year. None of which happen to be mine (thank you, sweet baby Jesus for watching over me with your love and protection).
But it got me thinking about how I missed the days of sniffing my baby’s head while they drifted off to sleep in my arms. The smell of new human breath mixed with sour milk and a dirty diaper. I mean, I can’t even say the bad smells were all that bad when I got to inhale the scent of a new baby all day long. (Is it obvious that even the THOUGHT of new baby smell has my ovaries screaming over here?)
So as I sit reminiscing about the “good ole days” of sleepless nights, cracked nipples, and the world’s cutest wails, I keep thinking about all of the things people said to me during those first couple days and weeks of having a new baby in the house. And why they all remind me that I am SO grateful to not be the new mom to be this time around.
Every new mom has heard these at least once, probably more than once, but definitely not enough times, because we all need some serious cliche’s from the visitors who come when we least want them to fuel our first days living with a newborn, amiright?
Here are some of my faves. (Feel free to add on your own worst nightmares in the comments)
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
This is not a new joke. I have seen MANY variations of this ridiculous advice being poked fun at, for ample reasons. It’s a joke to think that you can sleep on demand, not to mention, babies sleep A LOT, it just so happens that zero of those hours happen to be during the times that you are also tired. It’s basically scientifically proven that as soon as your baby decides to konk out, you will get a second (or third, or fourth) wind and begin feverishly trying to finish any housework you’ve neglected while you were too busy sniffing your babies head. Or, you will decide to finally take a snooze (because… you really do need it) and the SECOND that kid senses you unconscious they will wake up in a fit of rage and hunger reminding you that the rest of your life will be on constant demand to whatever this tiny living being requires. What if the new baby has an older brother or sister? Is there some magical fairy that will make certain they also sleep when the baby sleeps too? Or should you just pretend those kids don’t exist during those precious moments? I’m going to need some serious clarification of this solid advice you have to give.
If you think this is bad… wait until they are OLDER!
Oh, thanks, Susan. So you’re telling me that I should just give up on this parenting thing now because it’s hopeless? How exactly do I go about returning this purchase for a full refund of my blown out vagina and brand spankin new stretch marks? Can I possibly bitch about my CURRENT hell without someone terrifying me by debunking my theory that at some point this WILL get better???!!!
When are you going back to work?
Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that learning how to take care of a completely helpless and 10000% dependant HUMAN BEING wasn’t considered actual work. How stupid of me. Right now I’m questioning when I am going to get my bowel movements back without excruciating discomfort, but I’m sure work will be the next thing on my mind. Right after I clean up this shit blowout and finish my google research desperately seeking the most effective way to help my baby latch so I can stop feeling like my nipples have been clamped by some medieval torture device for the past three hours. I was just thinking about the anticipation I’m filled with to see the reaction on all of my coworkers’ faces when I walk in with an unwashed topknot and wrinkled (probably dirty) shirt covered in spit up and my own drool.
Are you sure he is yours? He doesn’t look ANYTHING like you!
Just GTFO of my house, mmk? What is that supposed to mean? Babies look like tiny naked molerats when they are born and literally nothing else. If a baby came out looking like a 30 something-year-old wrinkly woman with dark circles, saggy boobs, and a spare tire/muffin top, I would have some genuine concerns for his health. So the fact that my baby looks NOTHING like me is encouraging to me that things are going to be just fine for this kid. But thanks for the confidence boost, I promise she’s mine. I have the perineum stitches to prove it, would you like to see them? You sure?
You need SLEEP! You look so tired!
NO SHIT? Is that all? I’ve been wondering what could possibly be causing these dark circles, constant caffeine cravings, and perpetual yawns. Now I know, it’s just MOTHERHOOD. I look tired because I. AM. TIRED. If you are going to say anything even remotely close to this to a new mom, you should make sure you’re about to follow it up with “let me watch the baby for a little bit while you go take a nap.” Otherwise, you’re just a complete ass-clown lacking common courtesy who doesn’t deserve to sit and smell someone’s new baby heaven. Go home; you’re rude.
Aren’t you so happy/excited/in love?
Honestly? No. I’m miserable. But I am also exploding with adoration and pride and a million other overwhelming emotions that I can’t quite put my finger on because I am so fucking tired I can’t THINK. But unless you want to hear about the good, bad, and the ugly, please don’t ask questions that Society norms force me to answer with a bold-faced lie.
Is the baby always this fussy/dry/tired/ WHATEVER?
Unless you are a pediatrician, please refrain from making ANY remarks to a new a parent that could lead them to question there might be something wrong. Every new mom is already overwhelmed with the idea that they were sent home with an entirely dependant stranger who’s sole existence relies on them. They don’t need any reason to build concern and add on to their seemingly endless mounds of anxiety-inducing facts they are finding.
Are you done? Are you having another one soon?
I’ve heard both of these. After I had one (or two) people then would ask me if I was done having kids shortly after the birth of my third. Because apparently the news had circulated that maybe being a mom wasn’t my best quality and I should probably stop procreating. Nothing makes you feel genuinely concerned about your parenting skills than someone asking you if you are ready to stop having kids because they seem to know something you don’t. It’s none of ya damn business. Don’t ask this question.
I’m sure there are plenty more here that I have not covered, but if you’re like me and about to meet a new baby, make sure you keep these in mind. New moms don’t get enough discouraging, useless, and overall bad advice. Please, adorn them with your best nonsense because having a newborn at home is really boring. You are basically stuck inside with nothing to do but feed, clean, soothe, and change the baby while obsessing about every noise, yelp, cry and quiet sound they make. It’s a cake walk, really.
Mom on mom attacking needs to just chill the fuck out already. Since when did mom-shaming become a “cool” thing to do? It’s like one starts and they have an entire posse ready to pop in and crush someone’s soul. I’m saying it, others have said it before me, and I’m sure more are to follow. What is it about the world of social media that makes (some) people morph into these beings that basically share the same characteristics as sociopaths if they were to exhibit them in real life (but let’s be honest, they don’t. They only share their “knowledge” behind a screen where they are hidden, safe, and in the dark). Anyone who walked around on an average day pointing fingers, stopping people in the street to let them know they were “doing it wrong”, or walking up to moms with a child melting down and giving them (unwarranted) advice followed by multiple resources and recommendations. NOBODY DOES THIS IN REAL LIFE! If you did, you would have zero actual friends, and you would eventually land yourself in a “ward” of some fashion for having no boundaries, no filter, no empathy.
What are we DOING to each other? Can we just make a pact here and now to stop all the madness already? When a mom posts a picture of a rash on her child at midnight asking if anyone has any insight, it’s not because she’s a complete moron and didn’t think to call the damn DOCTOR! It’s because she’s a mom (quite possibly a new mom) and she’s freaking the fuck out and needs someone to talk her off a ledge while she’s watching her child breathe in his sleep and googling staph, syphilis, E-Coli, and other various catastrophic disease that (coincidentally) carry the same symptoms
When someone posts a picture of their child in the car – cute.as.a.button – and another mom jumps at the chance to teach her some serious lessons on how to correctly strap her child into their car seat it makes me HOMICIDAL. *Most* (not all, I know I can’t speak for all) but most moms snapping a picture of their kid in the car are doing it before or after they are even on the road. Their kid did something cute and they want to quickly document it before the demon child comes back demanding goldfish and juice (you think, by then they are speaking in tongues and you can’t quite make it out) on their way to the doctor’s appointment they are already late for. They shared a cute pic of their kid FFS. It’s not always your job to educate people on safety when you have no idea what the situation is.
Why are we constantly reporting “nannies”? Who the hell even knows if that was a NANNY! There are so many nanny narcs on social media. “I saw this babysitter at the park and the toddler asked to go on the swing and she said NO because she was too busy playing on her phone! So I think it’s my civic duty to report her in case one of you 20,000 women employs this deplorable excuse for a nanny so you can fire her.” We are raising a bunch of tattle tales and we wonder why (ummm, hello!). Here’s where my anger comes in. Let’s get real, if I’m paying someone top dollar to take care of my kids when I can’t , then sure… I expect them to actually watch my kid. But if we are talking about the same kids I pushed out of my body and fed and fought with and listen to bicker and whine for hours on end in a day, well then, I know full well what they are capable of doing to the human spirit. And if my poor sitter needed a break so she took them to the park so she could screw around on social media for 10 minutes. GOOD ON YOU, GIRLFRIEND. Get your peace and quiet break. We all deserve one.
But, that wasn’t the only issue I had with this particular social media shaming post. My other issue was that someone commented that this could very well be their MOM. And I said “hell yeah! I do that all. the. time.” Well, you bet your ass people had things to say about that (of course they did). You take your kid to the park you should be playing WITH them! Not on your phone. Pay attention to them! Ummmm, listen. You don’t know the shit storm we have been dealing with in my house filled with tantrums and sibling fights, back talking, and lost socks and shoes to get to this moment of serenity. It was complete and utter chaos today. I just want to chill. So until you bother to ask about the REST of my day? Then back the fuck off with your judgements, mmmmk?
And if I have to read one more time about how someone is “really offended by that”, I might cut someone (virtually, of course. I would never act the way I do online in real life, like the rest of the human population). You’re on Facebook. Not everyone is going to agree with you in life, better yet in a virtual world of endless members. 99.9% of the time. Grow a pair, or get off the internet. Chances are, unless you are opening offensive to an entire population of people, I’m not judging you. But even if I was, you assholes seem to be judging me any time I open my thoughts up on social media so if you can’t take it then stop dishing it out, Nancy.
I’m not kidding when I say this shit has gotten WAY out of hand. I can’t even post asking for recipe ideas with chicken for dinner without someone chiming in about how unhealthy poultry is and “did you know about all of the antibiotics they bulk those animals up with? I suggest a nice big salad”. Thanks a lot, Suzie, for your unnecessary advice. I, too, watched “The Magic Pill” while I was snacking away on some Cheetos and washing it down with Cherry Coke. This is MY life, and I do what I want, so back off. Let’s all just BACK OFF, mmmk?
Give each other a break. You know you’ve also had bad, really bad, and worse days. Maybe keep that in mind before you start attacking other moms on a platform made JUST FOR MOMS. We are all in this together, are we not? Parenting is hard enough. And if you can’t figure out a way to be helpful in a non-condescending way and ONLY when someone has asked for it, then maybe you should take your own advice, chill the fuck out, and put your phone down and go play with your kid for a little bit.