Thursday, March 21, 2013

Motherhood Reality Check



Dear Friends,
If I was ever an asshole to you with regards to your parenting choices, I sincerely apologize. 
Warmest Regards,
Anna

Before I had my own child, I made a lot of judgments about people’s parenting choices.  What I failed to understand until I became a Mother myself is that sometimes the choices you make aren’t really choices, but rather necessities to ensure that you don’t go crazy and end up sticking your head in the oven (or the microwave – I don’t actually know how to turn on my oven).  Below is a list of several of the parenting things I said I would never do, and which I now fully admit to doing on a daily basis.

1.  I will never let my son sleep in the bed with us.  
That lasted all of two days.  Here’s the reality: you will basically let your child sleep anywhere that he or she will actually sleep.  Honestly, if the Muffin Man would sleep for longer than 45 minutes hanging from the branches of the orange tree in my backyard, we would be sleeping there.  When we first came home from the hospital I had every intention of letting the kiddo sleep in his cradle, but when you’re waking up every hour to breastfeed and you can barely move and your newborn has night and day reversed and doesn’t like to fall back to sleep after feeding, you’ll pretty much do anything to get some sleep.  So, of course, I got into the habit of putting the Muffin Man in between the Hubby and I in the bed… and that’s now the only place he likes to sleep.  I figure we should finally get our bed back in about ten years when he’s too big to actually fit in the space between us.

2.  My house won’t be a disaster.  
Hahahaha!  What a joke.  My house looks like it’s a candidate for the show Hoarders.  It’s amazing how once you have a child just loading the dishwasher seems like a Herculean task.  And the piles of laundry every single day are staggering.  I’m glad we have a large, farmhouse style sink, because I’ve discovered that it’s actually deep enough to hold every single dish we own.  If I wasn’t fortunate enough to afford a housekeeper once a week, I’m pretty sure that DCFS would’ve taken my son away from me for living in squalor.  On the plus side, I’ve learned that you can wear underwear more than one day in a row, and that Whole Foods carries some lovely disposable dishware.

3.  My Husband and I will be back to having sex just as soon as possible after I give birth.  
Oh my God, if that isn’t the most delusional thing I’ve ever said, I don’t know what is.  At this point, it’s hard for me to believe that we will ever have sex again.  We are both exhausted.  I’ve never felt less sexy in my life (ok, maybe in high school when I had a unibrow), and we have a small child sleeping in our bed!  Plus, neither my Husband nor I can really figure out how the whole foreplay thing works when you’re breastfeeding.  I have dreams of a romantic weekend get away with the Hubby, but I’m pretty sure we would spend the whole time sleeping; definitely a waste of free Grandparent childcare and an expensive hotel room.

4.  I am going to exclusively breast feed my child and not give him a bottle for at least a year.
After two weeks of sore, bleeding nipples, and not being able to go anywhere without my son attached to me, I'd had enough.  I know there are women who do this, and I give them credit, but I'm the sort of Mother who needs time away from her child in order to remain sane (refer to aforementioned item #1), and the only way that was going to happen was if I let the kid have a bottle.  So now I pump breast milk daily and let the Hubby or anyone who happens to be within arms reach, give the Muffin Man a bottle.  Maybe this is yet another thing that makes me a bad Mother, but I'm okay with that.  It's very hard to attend sample sales with a baby attached to your boob.

5.  I am not going to give my child a pacifier until he's at least a month old.
This was a well-researched decision backed up by our pediatrician.  However, our pediatrician happens to be a man and has no idea how painful it is to have a small human gumming your nipples for hours on end.  Not surprisingly, my kid likes to suck on things - nipples, his fingers, his toes - and he has a hard time falling asleep without something in his mouth.  Once I realized that I could both spare my nipples from permanent damage and possibly get some more sleep, I jammed a blue plastic Soothie in the Muffin Man's mouth without hesitation.  His father and I both have f*cked up teeth, so we figure we're facing so much orthodontic work for the kid anyway that a few years sucking on a pacifier won't make much of a difference.  

Look, being a parent is a tough friggin’ job.  Most days I’m pretty sure that I suck at it, and that I’m permanently screwing my kid up.  But I figure that despite the fact that I am, at the very least, a runner-up for “worst Mother”, I love my kid beyond belief, and I'm hoping that counts for something when he’s in therapy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment