I am still a novice at this whole Mommy thing… but there are definitely a few things that people say or ask that make me want to cry… and sometimes I do… (and I blame the hormones!)
Before you read further and think I am ungrateful to my friends and family for taking an interest in our Monkey and us by asking these questions – please note that this is *tongue in cheek* response and in no way is it meant to be dismissive or rude… Read with a glass of wine and smile 🙂
- How are you/they sleeping? We aren’t… my Monkey is definitely not one of those elite few that sleeps from 8pm to 7am without a sound. Instead, my Monkey needs a bottle of milk after her bath to put her to sleep before I can lower her into the crib (all hell breaks lose if she goes into the crib without being semi-comatose) and I will probably get up about 5times during the night to give her the pacifier (which has fallen out, rolled between the crib and bumper or is on the floor). Coupled with a feed somewhere in the early hours (anytime between 2-4am) and of course full-on 100% wide awake playtime starting as of 5am. And even worse is the comments like “Oh mine slept through the night from 3months onwards”.
- How does she like crèche? How the f** should I know? As she is unable to communicate (effectively) – I base the fact that she comes home relatively clean (because there is always dried snot… always), that they change her nappies and give her food/bottle – all as good signs that there is nothing horribly fundamentally wrong with the crèche. She doesn’t cry when I hand her over in the mornings (probably because she started going there as of 5months old and this is part of the routine) and the staff seem nice (to our face) – so my general answer is “I think so”.
- Wasn’t it difficult going back to work? Yes – heartbreakingly so… going back to work, leaving my child with strangers was probably more difficult and painful than actually giving birth to her! Being a full time working mom is not easy – we already deal with all the guilt that comes with it – so please don’t add any more to this heap – I recommend avoiding this topic in general. The same can be said for those who decide to be *Stay at Home Moms* – avoid any comments of “must be nice to be at home all day” or there alike…
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – really? In the first few weeks, Monkeys naptime was the only opportunity that I had to do household chores, shower and pretty much everything else that can’t be done while cradling a baby. I might be able to sneak in an afternoon nap at the same time as Monkey – but for some bizarre reason, I would be mid-REM cycle when she would wake up and therefore I would also be awake, somewhat groggy & grumpy. Same with the evening – because, seriously which adult goes to bed at 7pm????
- You look tired – I am… I survive on about 5hours sleep a night (and they aren’t consecutive hours either), manage a home and all the household chores that go with it, work full time and try to be a good mother & wife. I am everything that I used to be before Monkey and MORE!
- I am so tired – oh please… you don’t know what tired is until you have had a child. I extend my apology to every mother (& father) in the history of the world for ever complaining of being tired prior to having Monkey.
- We don’t see you anymore – when friends grumble that you aren’t as available as you used to be. Lets get serious, single or non-parent friends aren’t really interested in talking anything baby related (especially after that first chat) – and rightly so, this is your lifestyle change, not theirs! Plus the opportunities for quick spontaneous wine/coffee meet-ups are no longer possible. Getting together with them is a carefully planned mission (including a full arsenal of baby supplies “just in case”). But worse than this, is when something is planned and Monkey gets sick and you have to cancel… again. I pretty much say to my mates “If you want to see me mid-week, you need to come over to my house in the evening, when Monkey goes to sleep” (This is normally prefaced with a “please don’t write in the dust”). Weekends are easier – but then you need to see all 3 of us as a package as this is our *family time*.
- I don’t know how you do it… Me neither… but I do. Some days I cope, some days I don’t. But the joy of Monkeys smiles and giggles seem to carry me through the hard times (that and a glass of wine also helps)
- Anything Breastfeeding related… wait until Mommy brings up the topic (if ever), you have no idea how depressing it is for those who tried & failed for any number of reasons. Avoid at all costs.
- Any comment regarding how big/small baby is – “ooh, she is getting so big” or “what chubby little thighs” – yupp – you feed them and they grow! Unless the comment is genuinely nice – zip it – we only love hearing how wonderful our little Monkey looks 🙂
If you do want to make a new Mommy happy, rather say things like:
- What a cute baby! We think our Monkey is perfect in every way and would like you to think the same
- Want me to babysit for an hour? Even half an hour in my own home, while I take a long bubble bath or pop out to get my hair cut. Just enough time so that I finally feel human again.
- Here is a quiche – one day, a friend rang my doorbell & just handed over a quiche and walked away – I cried because I was so grateful (as I am definitely not someone who would actually ASK for help)
- It gets easier…. because it does, it just helps to hear someone say it
- You are doing great! Because you are – you are doing the BEST job at parenting that you can do in your own set of circumstances.
Do you have something to add? Let me know in the comments section below.