Monday, December 17, 2012

Everything I Needed to Know About Motherhood

I was the most obnoxiously over-read and over-studied mother to be in the history of the world.

Shocking, I know.

I remember sitting at my desk in my office job (where nobody! ever! stopped me! from going to the bathroom!) and reading through birth and pregnancy sites online and making elaborate plans about labor and delivery and vaguely percolating on breastfeeding and vaccines and actually making judgements on other women's parenting styles - especially regarding sleep - while I was still pregnant.

Reach back in time and slap me.

I think I actually (vom) chimed in on somebody's facebook something or other about how we were planning on doing a brilliant hybrid of Babywise and the Baby Whisperer with our baby. Who was still in utero. Giving me exactly zero experience or credibility. But did that stop my from commenting? nooooooooo, of course not.

Slap me again.

Fast forward 2.5 years and behold one tired and mildly chagrined recovering baby expert.

I was such a good parent before I had these kids.

Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I've done something I swore I'd never do as a mom, or for every time I have miserably and gloriously deviated from the birthing/parenting/organizing/whatever-ing plan of my dreams...well damn, I'd have like 20 dollars in mah pocket...

Case in point: breastfeeding. If you had told me I would have nursed wolverine number one until the ripe old age of 13 months even!though!he!bit! I would have tut tutted and patted your simple head.

Conversely, if you'd told me that, in the midst of crushing post partum depression, I would fixate on formula feeding as some kind of bizarre symbol of personal failure, vowing to never give a drop of it to either of my children, I would have laughed in your face.

Oh, the glorious hindsight of the overweight, overworked, and chronically sleep-deprived parent.

Speaking of sleep deprivation, I seem to recall also having very definite thoughts about what was or wasn't an appropriate way to respond to children after hours. CIO was to be my banner, and I would ride forth into battle with a heart of stone.

I failed to take into account the uniquely potent chemical cocktail of mommy hormones which flood mah brain whenever one of the little pups so much as whimpers in the night. Hence, minutes feeling like hours of painful, painful screamfests leading to nearly inevitable resolve crumblings and midnight retrievals from the enemy camp.

Also on my 'never will I ever list:'

Junk food. Oh, I'm sorry, was that cheetoh not organic? Did I seriously just dump a handful of cinnamon sugar sparkle Chex on the 7 month old's high chair tray? Wait, is his tray even attached, or is he just shoved up against the filthy kitchen table top in such a way that his chubby buns cannot disengage from his seat?

Jammies in public. Oh the humanity. Costco, church, the gym, the dr's office, the Secretary of State's office (don't ask, don't tell); you name it, we've been there in footies.

Unbuckled car riding (am I in danger of getting arrested for admitting this? Whatever, we're leaving the country). I vividly recall shrieking at my mother for pulling out of a parking space before I was done buckling my precious firstborn into his seat; I must now confess that I have nursed on the fly with little brother. At least twice. It's almost like we were made to dwell in the land of babies on laps in taxi cabs...

Vaccinations. No vaccinations! Yes vaccinations! Every third vaccination, but skip the fourth dose of each alternating month if the moon is waxing! Still bleeping trying to figure this one out!

Swimming lessons. Babies could naturally swim, right? I watched videos of it on Youtube. It was real. Then I had a real one. Turns out I didn't want to drop him in the deep end to see what would happen 'by instinct.'

Bradley method natural childbirth. Ahem. See references here and here.

In rambling sum, I knew basically nothing before I became a mother, and I know even less now, if possible.

I don't know why I needed to spill these beans, except that turning 30 at the end of this week is making me feel equal parts wise, melancholic, and laughably inexperienced to be entering the land of legitimate adults.

And with that, I bid you all a very fine evening. I'll be up feeding my 8 month old newborn shortly, so I'd best turn in. He's totally sleeping through the night, thanks to my stellar sleep training methodology. Well, except on nights that end in 'Y.'


9 comments:

  1. I think one thing that makes a good mother is that we admit we know nothing and are in a constant learning on the fly mode. Five kids later and I still wing it each and every day :)

    And man, does getting an epidural and serving your baby formula make you feel like the guiltiest.mom.ever. Why do we do that to ourselves?

    I think that's one thing I actually have learned well as a mother. Just do what's best for your whole family, and you shouldn't feel any guilt. Baby needs formula because you were up all night with his vomiting sister - no guilt! Cereal for breakfast and lunch and dinner because you've already gone over the grocery budget this month - no guilt! It's a great system actually!

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  2. Once again, giving me another reason that I wish we were best friends. This whole things sounds like I wrote it.

    I cannot count the number of times I pontificated on the evils of "co-sleeping" and who is upstairs in my bed right now next to Mike? Not me, yeah it's the baby. IN OUR BED!!! NOOOOOO

    If it gets me a few minutes more sleep I will flippin take it and now I am just dreading the day that she is too loud and killing our sleep and we have to kick her out, then I will be whipping the old babywise book out again for reference.

    Don't leave the country, just come to South Bend.

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    1. Sweet Ana, how I wish I could go back in time and meet you at Fiddler's during every stinking trip to South Bend these past couple years. Wah.

      We call co-sleeping 'no sleeping' ... but we still do it for like the first 3 months. And hate it. Baby terrorism begins in your bed, I always say. And I've been flipping through BW for the 11 hundredth time myself; our 8 month old 'newborn' still needs to be nursed to sleep for every nap. Um, wtf?

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  3. Amen, sister!! I'm 5 kids in and I STILL don't know anything. I think they are made all so uniquely themselves just to flummox us as parents and keep us on our toes!

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  4. My son is six months old. My new years resolution is to stop reading parentig books, parenting blogs, stop googling any and every little thing that my son does or doesn't do, and just do what seems right instead. I find all the reading intensifies the guilty feelings I get when I do...anything. I think I just need to focus on whether or not I'm loving him the best I can. I know you are a wonderful mother because it is so clear that you love your little ones. Go mama

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  5. My son is six months old. My new years resolution is to stop reading parentig books, parenting blogs, stop googling any and every little thing that my son does or doesn't do, and just do what seems right instead. I find all the reading intensifies the guilty feelings I get when I do...anything. I think I just need to focus on whether or not I'm loving him the best I can. I know you are a wonderful mother because it is so clear that you love your little ones. Go mama

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  6. I could have written this myself! I learned this lesson when my bradley-studying self reached across my hospital bed, hit the call light, and told the secretary to call for my STAT epidural when I was birthing #1. The LAST thing I need is a husband-coach!

    I've skipped giving my daughter lunch in leu of a cheese stick and a cup of still-frozen peas. :-) Healthful? I think so!

    Oh, and if you have netflix- there's a good documentary on vaccinations that I recommend to everyone. I think it's called "The Vaccine War"

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  7. I laughed and laughed are your brilliant musings as a mom and I am a grandmother who went through some of these dilemmas. Babies are God's answer to our mommy pride! And as soon as you think you have things figured out, you have pre-teens! Enjoy the chaos and good luck on your new adventure!
    Judy Watson (I mothered Joannie ;-) )

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  8. Oh man. New to your blog and I know I'm in the right place here. Our comeuppance is the young ladies giving us the raised eyebrows. Gahh I'm starting to feel old :)

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