Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Was a Perfect Parent Until I Was a Parent

The smuggest Smug Mummies going are the ones who aren't yet mothers.

Confused? Longtime Invisible Internet Friend, the Brunette Foodie, sent me the link to an excellent post listing the things people tend to assume about babies before actually giving birth to one. Because no one - Pretty certainly included - is an expert parent quite like someone not yet or not ever to be a parent.

I giggled merrily as I read that list - until I realized just how many assumptions I myself had made before Master P's arrival. I may be Prettier Than Everyone Else, but I've realized I'm no more an expert on this parenting business than Octomom or Octomel or any other Octo-parent-of-eight-or-(hopefully)-less out there. Humility comes in a newborn-sized onesie, it turns out.

Lest my shame spiral of Mom Guilt about these assumptions pull me under, I'm spewing them out here in hopes of saving one of you aspiring Smug Mummies from laboring under the same, ridiculous apprehensions. And so I give you . . . 

Pretty's Top Five Ridiculous Parenting Assumptions PB (Pre-Baby) of Which I Am Now Deeply Ashamed and Refute Entirely:

5) Co-Sleeping is only for hippies: Or, as it turns out, for parents who actually want to get some sleep, some of which are my most J. Crew wearing, Junior Leaguing, Republican-est sorts of friends you'd ever hope (or not) to meet.

Or also the AH & me, who tried it when the wee precious newborn Master P refused to sleep anywhere upon coming home from the hospital. Turns out he wanted to sleep in the Magic Swing and not in our bed or anywhere else EVER, ahem, but, as Brooks Brothers is my witness, we tried us some dirty hippie co-sleeping before discovering that.

Moral of the story = when it comes to newborn sleep, all of us mistakenly start out believing baby will sleep where we want him/her to. Eventually, we do as the hippies (and, secretly, any number of country clubbing yuppies) do and overcome injustice (insomnia) By Any Means Possible.

4) Breastfeeding is Easy, and Only Lazy People Don't Do It: I'm particularly awash in Mom Guilt about my Gisele-ism given how, as I talked about in detail here, Master P & I never quite got the hang of nursing and, after limping along with it for six months, finally quit. I truly thought you just held up baby to the, uh, relevant area, and, ta-da! (ta-ta!), a minute or two later, baby is fed & content. Yeah.

I don't want to horrify the prospective MILFs out there about this, but suffice to say - get thee to a nursing class, with your significant other, when your pregnancy time comes. If you decide to nurse, that is. I've kvetched about this before, but it bears repeating - despite what the Boob Brigade will tell you, nursing is a choice - one I'm quite happy I made due to the health benefits to baby & hope to try again, but still - choice choice choicity choice choice nanny nanny boo boo.

3) Because I've always wanted to be a mother I will magically know how to do baby stuff (whatever that is): Cue to my frantic Googling at 2 am about how to survive sleep strikes, or frantic phone calls to mom friends about ohmigodwhywonthetakeanapalready.

Frankly, there are days when I feel paralyzed by the number of small decisions I now make - do I wake Master P from his nap to keep him on schedule? Am I feeding him enough? Is he sleeping enough?Are there green eggs & ham? Am I Sam I am?

2) Only lazy mothers leave the house in bedclothes or sweats: I kid you not, I pictured myself leaving the house with my (perfectly well-behaved, natch) newborn, speeding off to the market in the Trophy Wife Wagon, and emerging looking along the lines of this:

Photo Credit: Daily Mail / Inspiration Credit: Postpartum Insanity

Yeah, so the difference between this Real Housewife & the one pictured is one head of spectacular hair and a title and a few castles (hers) and one spectacular babe and a husband with a (full) head of spectacular hair (mine), but oh, the world of difference wardrobe-wise between the two. As we discussed in Operation MILF debriefing here, I'm working on the chic mom uniform, but the Duchess du Shopping look just isn't realistic as an everyday matter.

1) I will want to spend every waking moment with baby: I've learned there is a difference between adoring your baby every waking moment, more than you ever thought possible, and wanting him by your side for the same. A trip to the restroom, for example, is a time when that subtle yet important distinction comes into play - or I wish it would, rather.

Any seasoned moms out there willing to admit your pre-baby assumptions - once you've lowered the Eyebrow of Judgment at mine, that is?

Ashamedly Yours,


Trish said...

You are brilliant ALWAYS but I love you times a gagillion bazillion more after reading this post! As a (ahem hope to be if God-willing soon-ish) mama-to-be, oh how I already feel the scrutiny, but HOPEFUL more than ANYTHING!!!! THANK YOU for your honesty xoxo

emily/thesearethedays said...

Oh, how I love this. I read a Boob Brigade propaganda post today from somebody who never had any trouble with nursing, and it made me feel really bad for people who gave it an honest effort and may have read the post, too. It's that kind of stuff that makes me want to never have kids... Thanks for keeping it real!

Grove Gals said...

mine was thinking it would get easier once they started talking...not so much! mini k wants to do a triathalon at 5...swim, run and ride a pony. guess you can figure out this means we would need to purchase a pony.

Elle said...

I'd have to say my biggest PB ass-sumption was that those unruly babes on the airplane were unruly bcs their parents were not very good at ruling. I learned my lesson the hard way with on a trip from the western Caribbean to California with my darling 6 month old baby girl.

During and after the ordeal I begged forgiveness for the countless dirty looks I had given the poor moms who had to also fly at nap time with a hungry baby who was possibly experiencing painful ears.

SarahRosemary said...

I thought my baby would entertain herself. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Nope. Never. My darling 11 month old wants me to hold her all the live long day. She "entertains herself" for MAYBE 10 minutes a day. The rest of the time she is in my arms or screaming to be in my arms. This complicates matters when I would like to go to the bathroom alone. ;)

Rachel said...

I love this post! I made all of the same assumptions and boy was I wrong, wrong, wrong. We co-slept until he was a little over 6 months, I didn't 'get dressed' until I had to go back to work, and there are STILL times when I have no clue what the heck he wants me to do. Great post!

Tracy said...

As a (now) Grandmother, who has experienced of late many of my children's friends (as well as my own offspring and relatives) gush about "how it will be when MY baby is born" - I must repost this on my facebook page! Kuddos for you! This is an awesome post! and.... I love LOVE this.....

" Humility comes in a newborn-sized onesie, it turns out."

Maggie said...

Brilliant post, Pretty one! I feel particularly capable about any future MILF-like activities that my life may or may not include regarding #3 and #4. Since I WASN'T always sure I wanted to be a mom, I've always assumed I know NOTHING about babies, and since I work from home, I already wear sweats every day! So. Damn. Prepared.

jordy liz said...

as a future mother (one day) i appreciate you sharing! love it.

AEOT said...

My assumption as a pediatric nurse practitioner (and one who thought that knowing a lot about kids and illness meant that you automatically would know a lot about your own kid- ha!) was that I would be able to "do stuff". What stuff? Why everything I did before- Target, gym, gardening, sewing, baking, shopping, etc all with a baby and working full time. No problem- I am great at time mgmt and multitasking. Right???? Ha, ha, ha, ha. That's God laughing at me!!!! Shopping, target, working out?? Not going to happen. Work still happens, gardening happens on the weekends, and I did get a few things sewn for SYT's first birthday, but the rest is just a long distance *poof* in my brain. Uggggg..... Luckily, he's darling (of course, right??) and worth it!!!

Mrs. R said...

I have to admit I didn't understand when new mother said they didn't have time to shower. Boy oh boy, that is an understatement. I had to wait until hubby returned home to take a shower, now I just bring my little man into the bathroom with me. Problem solved. I thought my house would be sparkling clean since I would have loads of time to do it since I was home. Wrong. We had to hire a housekeeper. Problem solved again.

You live and learn.

thepreppyprincess said...

This is priceless bit of writing Miss Pretty, especially for a non-parent who assumed much of the same stuff. You can't just put him/her down and he/she will go to sleep? Seriously not?

The most surprising part was about the feeding, I had NO idea it didn't always just... well, you know, happen. Not. a. clue.

You truly are an inspiration, sharing some of what can be harsh realities, but in a non-threatening, inclusive (and of course, tres witty) and non-patronizing way.

But I'm sorry, I know you look as good as, nay, better than the Princess every day of the week.

So there.

Jameson's Mommy said...

I totally thought co-sleeping was what weird parents do and never thought I'd do it, but sure enough, you want sleep, and you do whatever the hell works to get it. We are now transitioning into the crib, and I'm glad I got a few months while he is young and wants to cuddle, to sleep with him! Anyways, one I would add is that I thought I'd never give my baby a paci. I didn't want to cause any confusion with nursing, and other reasons I don't even know! I just had a bad association with pacis for some reason! Weird.. We use them though. We started in the hospital and I'm glad because my baby really does just want to suck sometimes, and it will put him to sleep a lot!

Brandi said...

I completely empathize with those paralyzing moments of what to do about the little things: to wake or not to wake! I recently dropped the 10pm feeding and low and behold Baby King slept from 8pm until 7am! If only I had done that weeks ago!

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