Dear exhausted, hungry, milk/puke/poop/and whatever that weird smell is drenched mother,
I write to you with the most sincere apology. I write to you because I’ve been where you are. I’ve cried into an empty bottle full of only the hopes and dreams of breastfeeding as the pump hummed failure at me. I’ve sat scrubbing the awful baby vomit from my new cream couch while downing my second, OK third glass of wine. I’ve felt a deep rage at my baby who has screamed like a banshee for the 7th time at night, just willing them to sleep more than 30 minutes. I write to you because while you are struggling with all of this and simultaneously loving your new baby with such intensity you didn’t think it was possible, you are getting “advice” from all the mother’s who apparently did it or are doing it better than you.
The Just Waiter is what I have not-so-lovingly named them. The mom who has done ALL the research (because she assumes you just had a baby without reading so much as a google search). The mom who has immediately and seamlessly mastered momming without so much as a blowout in a restaurant. The one who shows no cracks or signs of struggle, but quite the contrary.
Let me be the first to tell you, it’s bullshit. NOBODY has a perfect baby. Well… your baby is pretty perfect. You know when they’re napping in that ridiculously cute way for the 7 minutes they’ve allowed, like a tease, and you can inhale your cold spaghetti in peace. Or wash your hair… not both. Unless you can manage to do them together, but soggy spaghetti doesn’t seem as appetizing.
If a stay-at-homer is offering advice, it’s probably from inside a closet as she hides from her own little shits so she can look at all the clothes she never gets to wear. Or maybe she’s pretending to pee so she can just be in a room without a sticky hand slapping her for something. She obviously loves her children more than life itself, because she stays home. So why don’t you?
If it’s a working mom, it’s always from the safety of her desk. Where she hurriedly threw on her one clean business outfit and has more dry shampoo in her hair than is probably safe. She is clearly more valuable because she has a career, and will be a better role model for her kids… Oh so you want to stay hoooome?
They both, though, during their busy days of meeting or bottle feedings have time to scroll on Facebook and tell you what you’re doing wrong. “Oh Johnny is SO cute… are you sure you have him strapped in that bouncer properly?”
You are on your second week of new babydom and you jokingly post a picture of your precious cherub resting in your arms and are bursting to share this cuteness with the world while making sure we all know you haven’t slept more than 32 seconds in 4 days when that perfectly coiffed mother pops up, “Oh just wait until they’re older, you’ll be dealing with XYZ…”
Well no shit!
I mean, clearly you don’t know this. You MUSN’T even have the slightest clue that each stage of life poses it’s own challenges. You’re a new mom afterall… you know nothing of children, right?!
I know what you’re thinking when you get those…Hows about back the F off?
I don’t know why it happens. Maybe we are missing the baby stage. Maybe we feel the need to show how much more successful we are at it than you. Maybe we need to prove something to ourselves. Maybe we feel guilty for whatever reason… not working, working, not breastfeeding, only pumping but we all are experts… except you. You are definitely clueless and need our advice. I know you didn’t technically ask for it, but you need it. You don’t know you do though, but good thing you have us to tell you! And I mean, why NOT give you 20 conflicting ideas too just to make it interesting. As you read through your half open eye, clutching your 4th cup of coffee as a mix of defeat, rage and sorrow well up inside of you.
I am here to tell you, you’re doing fine. Regardless if these Just Waiters want to admit it or not, they too made mistakes. They are tired and hungry and missing normal life just like everyone else with a kid or kids. Their kid could be a dream now, but they can JUST WAIT until the teenage years when we ALL look like assholes. Where even the best child falls victim to peer pressure, or wrecks their new car for the 3rd time or brings home a failing grade in PE. We all have moments where we look like the best parents in the world, but we also have moments where we could probably have CPS called on us for a valid enough reason and can’t even argue with it. That’s life.
But what you need do, the BEST advice I can give you… the golden ticket to surviving this adorable little baby… DO NOT TAKE ADVICE. If you want it, ask someone privately. Someone you like, that you trust and you know won’t give it in a judgy, passive aggressive way. Also Google. That shit is amazing.
Because I promise you now, you’ll feel better immediately. Reading 20 different comments about how to get your kid to sleep won’t work. What WILL is you and patience… and time. You can’t screw up… well you can but that’s what therapy is for. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the good and the bad times because tomorrow they’re gone. Your baby will tell you what you need, believe it or not.
And let me just say… I have 2 kids and from BIRTH… they have been polar opposites. So I feel no more prepared to impose my advice on someone than if I had only one kid. I am an EXPERT… on my kids. But I don’t have a clue about yours. But I can offer sarcasm, wine and encouragement.
But that’s all we truly need, right? Just find a way to enjoy every moment is all I feel comfortable forcing on you. Your main job is to make that kid happy. Today they won’t eat shit, but tomorrow they’re going to eat everything you give them. Today they won’t sleep, but tomorrow by some miracle, they’ll sleep all night and believe it or not, you’ll miss their foot in your rib cage.
In other words, hang in there Momma.