Can you believe I have been a mama for eight weeks?!
Because I can’t.
It really seemed like just yesterday I was icing the golf-themed cake to announce our pregnancy to Sean, let alone in the hospital being told the induction failed.
But our little darling midget is EIGHT WEEKS OLD today. And I have mentally drafted several posts to journal this leap into mamahood and had all of zero minutes to sit down and write them… and if I don’t do it soon, the next post will be about her college acceptance letters. There are so many posts I want to write for my own memories:
- Highlights (and low lights) of pregnancy – including pre-eclampsia
- Her birth story – from planned natural to cesarean surgery
- My journey into the Exclusively Pumping club
But for now… as soon as I found out we were expecting, I began keeping a mental list of all the things everyone around us insisted upon so that I could reflect on their statements once we had fully crossed into Club Parent. I know that sounds totally juvenile and snobby – because it is – and because I was curious my honest thoughts and how often I may need to eat my words, lol. Also because it seems Americans have this unique desire to stress to upcoming parents just how god awful it will be to become a parent. We are super negative and I was curious why.
Enjoy your sleep now / You think you’re tired now / Rest while you can
Nothing – NOTHING – is more horrific to new parents than the words “cluster feeding.” And though I still stand by my sentiment that telling soon-to-be-parents to “enjoy their sleep now!” makes me want to punch you in the face because a) you can’t save sleep b) you’re wrongly assuming a very pregnant woman with dual carpal tunnel is sleeping well or c) that she ever slept well considering she battled a decade of insomnia — I’ll give you this. While sleep SUCKED pre-baby to the point I just stayed up most nights or ended up in tears… sleep with a newborn who is cluster feeding is the honest. to. god. worst. ever. LOL. No Sleep War? Newborn Baby Team just won by a landslide. Although now that she is giving us 4-8 hour chunks overnight? We’re pretty close to being even with anyone who has poor sleep in general.
You’ll love your pets less / Your pets will take a back seat / I was just as into my pets as you until…
I was most curious about this one because I’m sort of known as “the” crazy dog lady among my friends – and it seemed to be the one thing people would aggressively preach to me for some reason. Sean’s best guess is that they felt guilty about back-seating their own pets (down to some giving them away) and needed the relief that may come from even Crazy Pet Lady doing the same. Frankly? It took all my hormonal pregnant willpower to not backhand people when they said it or to not snip something completely rude like, “How dare you assume you are as nuts a pet owner as me.” Folks forget who raised me – you know, the man who took us to the vet more than to the doctor, lol. So despite everyone’s insistence that my pets would become less important, my instincts are correct: I love them more. Nothing makes me happier than the fact Gizmo beats me to Eleanor’s side when she gets fussy or that Emmie looks just as exhausted as I am because she keeps me company at 3am when I’m in the kitchen warming bottles or gathering pump supplies. Bailey kissing her little bare toes probably brings me more joy than it does either of them, and my heart feels so full when we’re on a family walk (Sean with three dogs, me with a stroller) or when the nine of us snuggle into our bedroom each evening (Sully is too cool for the family bed time apparently, or it would be ten). PLUS the dogs don’t need me feed them every two hours and will let me sleep until noon if I so desired. The jury is out, however, on the cats… because they’ve decided that anything baby is theirs (play mat, stroller, pack n play, crib..). I kid, I still love them. Most of the time.
You don’t know love until you have a baby
I still don’t get the sentence, “I never knew love until I had a baby.” I find it offensive. Or maybe just really sad for whomever is saying it. I absolutely knew love – it’s what brought us to deciding to create a life together in the first place. I love Sean, I love him even more now, I loved the dogs and love them still. And I would never think that someone who chooses to not have children is somehow wandering through life without “real” love because they have not yet procreated.
What I will say is I know a new kind of love – one that crushes my very being when I think of babies out there who don’t have warm, loving, safe environments to grow in. One that almost explodes my soul into a bajillion pieces when I hear Sean tell her she’s beautiful. One that made both of us embarrassingly misty watching Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girls” (what the f). And one that can erase eight weeks of poor sleep or sore nipples or the fact that I get a weekly shower and it may be another 18 years before I eat a warm meal – with one dimpled, gummy grin.
Enjoy X Now / You Can’t Do That Once…
This one has two parts – things you can’t enjoy once you are parents and stuff that will change.
The first tended to be directed to Sean more than myself because he actually has hobbies, unlike myself. Sean is a golfer. He’s obsessed. And because we were two child-free adults with the time to spare, he would golf 2 to 3 times a week. So when we tried to get him to the course as much as possible before Eleanor made her debut, everyone around us reminded him that he “better realize” that he won’t be able to live at the course once she arrived.
First – duh. It wasn’t news to us that life may change when a small human was added to the mix, lol. At no point did we think the amount of free time Sean had for golf pre-fatherhood would be the same as after – hence he was enjoying the course as much as possible before she was born. That said, he still gets to the course. My goal as a new mom isn’t to be the most restricting wife ever just because. We make compromises and he’s been able to get to the course for a few hours each week because we both think it is important that life change after baby, but not so much that you lose yourself completely. It’s healthy to still get “you” time, “couple” time, etc.
The second was aimed more at me and often around my love of cleaning/tidying/the fact I own white couches. I got a lot of, “You won’t be able to keep your house this clean once baby arrives.” I once posted a photo of the books on our newly hung book shelves in the nursery because we were excited we finally got off out butts and installed them – and got a slew of comments from mothers about how the books wouldn’t stay organized and pretty like that once we had a kid (some came across really blunt and rude). You mean to tell me that a wobbly 18 month old isn’t going to keep her stash of Dr. Seuss as perfectly organized as two thirty-something adults?! TO HELL YOU SAY. Seriously. At no point did I expect those books to stay how they were placed once she could reach them. If any of them survive the tear-and-drool-and-destroy ages at all, I’ll be overjoyed. Nor did I think my house would stay as pristine as a home without a messy tiny midget once she arrived.
Does that mean we had to stop cleaning or organizing things before she arrived, just because some day they wouldn’t be as tidy? No. So shush it, lol.
I just love the newborn phase!
Are. You. Retarded?
I kid… but only sort of. Folks who LOVE the newborn stage have clearly forgotten it. Or mean the kind of newborn that belongs to someone else and can be handed back between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Or have some sick fetish with being utterly exhausted both mentally and physically. But all the judge-y glares we’d have received (plus the fact we inherently loved Eleanor) were the only things keeping us from leaving her at a fire station if it meant we could get more than 30 minutes of sleep that first week. I KID (sorta). But really? I was never a baby person. They all looked the same, they all looked like blobs for the most part. Give Me a Toddler Or Give Me Death!! I shouted. And while I adored Eleanor from day one – the very first time your baby grins? Or makes a coo noise? Hold me, ya’ll. Because I just became a baby person. And the first time she bust into a smile at seeing me when I leaned over her to say good morning? ::implodes::
You say that now…
I’ll half give this to the preachers. I’ve learned how quickly even your most steadfast opinions can become flexible*. Do you co-sleep? Because I was judging. I was judging you so hard. Until the third night home when I would have sold my soul for twenty minutes of sleep and found she would give us AN HOUR if I just slept with her on my chest in our bed. I only did it a few times for the first week – though admittedly we often have a 45 minute afternoon nap together on the couch still – but I have to eat my words on that one because I get it now. When you can barely function and are wondering if you can somehow just smoosh them back up into your vag for at least one evening so you can get some sleep because you look like an extra for The Walking Dead? You’re willing to do whatever to get them to snooze… so that you can.
*Obviously, your big values don’t waiver. But your Really Strong Thoughts on drinking coffee while breastfeeding? Stop mattering the first time that steamy delightful mug prevents you from dropping face first into your pump machine.
Kudos to the mamas who dress their six week old in precious jackets and hipster infant skinny jeans and seventy-two Pinterest worthy accessories… but babies poop their pants about 60 times a day. If it doesn’t have snaps on the crotch, my kid ain’t wearing it until she’s 12.