Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Public Service Announcement

I have learned something about myself in the last almost 2 months. I am not a person who functions well being chronically and acutely sleep deprived. A rough night? Bring it on. 4 weeks of rough nights? Bring on the mental breakdown. Nate is a very terrible sleeper, but much worse than that is what I terrible sleeper I've become. I used to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and I could sleep through a rock concert performed in my bedroom. Now I toss and turn for hours and wake up to Nate's every sound, and even some imaginary sounds brought on by sleep deprivation-induced hallucinations. It gets a little Inception-y. Sometimes I'll dream that I'm feeding Nate and then I'll wake up and freak out that he's not in my arms and worry I dropped him or shoved him under the covers or something. Yikes. But thanks to some relaxation techniques, a baby who is starting to sleep a liiiiitle better, and a big thank you to modern medicine, and I am sleeping a little better and feeling more like a human every day. We are venturing out a little bit every day and I am enjoying increased interactions with other grown adult human beings.

For the most part. Going out with a newborn inspires people to make all kinds of comments. Some are appreciated, many are not. There are many situations in life where I'm not sure what to say, so I usually make an inappropriate joke and move on. In case someone having a baby causes you to say unfortunate things, I have compiled a helpful list of what not to say to a new mom.

 Things NOT to say to a new mom:
1. "Enjoy it now, because this is the easiest part of having kids! It's only gets harder!"
This one really grinds my gears. If one more person tells me that this is the easiest part of having kids, I am seriously going to lose it. Maybe some people have easy newborns and just love the newborn phase, but others of us have babies that don't sleep at all at night, postpartum anxiety, and just going to the grocery store so you could make this awesome comment has us feeling completely overwhelmed. I have received this comment countless times and I just don't understand this. Why on earth would you tell a clearly exhausted and frazzled new mom that this is as good as it gets? Is your goal to convince this woman that she is never ever going to feel like herself again and her life is in the crapper for good? Are you hoping she will immediately run out and get her tubes tied to prevent this from happening again? The message I am hearing is, "If you can't handle this, you have no hope for the rest of your life, so you'd better give up now because you are terrible at this." This can not possibly be as good as it gets. Even if you truly believe this is a fact, please just lie to me.
2. "You look tired!"
That's strange, I logged a full 3.5 hours last night. I'll try to look perkier next time.
3. "My babies never/always did the opposite of whatever your baby is doing" (Accompanied with a judge-y and condescending "tsk tsk" attitude.)
Your baby never had a pacifier or had medicine or napped in the swing and you always read to your baby for 3 hours a day and wore your baby 24/7and he slept through the night from birth? Aces, friend. Here's a trophy. Me and my medicated baby with a binky are going home so he can nap in the swing. Let me assure you that when we want advice or opinions, we will ask for it. Otherwise, you are safe to assume that we aren't that interested in your opinion on our mothering. And if you comment about my kid's binky again, I'm going to stuff one in your yapper so you'll pipe down.
4. "I am NEVER having kids, it looks miserable."
I have had multiple people say this to me! What are you supposed to say back? "You are so right, I am going to return him immediately!" Instead I want to retort, "Good, the world is better off without you procreating." People also tell me, "I am SO glad I'm done having babies!" Both of these comments just make me sad and make me worry that my life is gonna be garbage for the next 10 years.
5. "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" "Enjoy every moment!" "The laundry can wait!" And other well intentioned, but impractical advice.
Sadly, I can not nap in 20 minute intervals as my little cherub is wont to do. And while I am trying to savor the baby cuddles and smell his sweet baby head as often as possible, I find it hard to enjoy the rivers of spit up and diaper blow outs and least of all clipping his $!@% fingernails. (WHY is that so hard??) And yes, the laundry can wait for a bit, but one can only wear a soggy nursing bra for so long. This advice comes from a sweet place, so it likely won't be met with physical aggression or crying, but I could still do with hearing it less.
6. "What's wrong with your baby?"
I have heard this in a few different contexts, and none of them were appreciated. One time, someone was commenting about Nate's unfortunate but short-lasting baby acne. Another time we were waiting at the pharmacy for an eternity and Nate was crying. Yet another time, Nate had just spit up and the person was completely shocked by this behavior. New moms are incredibly self conscious and insecure. Any critique or insinuation that something is wrong with our baby is not helpful and just makes us feel like the world's crappiest mom. Unless you are a pediatrician, keep your wonderings to yourself.

If you've made these comments to a new mom recently, don't sweat it too much. We all say dumb stuff unintentionally sometimes. Like the time that I told my father-in-law that I thought men's wedding rings with diamonds in them were for white trash and members of the mob, and he held up his wedding ring with diamonds in it. Whoops. So in case you read that list and are now wondering what on earth your options are to say to a new mom, I have taken the liberty to assemble a list of appropriate comments. Stick to this list, and your risk of getting a pacifier stuffed in your pie hole are greatly reduced.
1. "You are doing great! You are a wonderful mom and your baby loves you."
2. "Your baby is adorable and perfect."
3. "You look super skinny and definitely don't look like you had a baby ____ weeks/months ago."
4. "You are a natural mama! Trust your instricts!"
5. "I can't tell at all that you haven't showered in 3 days! You smell great!"
6. "Being a mom will make you so happy. So will going to get a pedicure and going to lunch and eating with both hands while I watch your baby for 4 hours."

Aaaaand some Nate pictures just to wrap this up in a precious fashion:

 Such a big boy in his new chair!
So happy to be sitting up and taking in the world!
Nate weighs over 12 lbs at his last doctor appointment! The little chunk. He got his 2 month shots which broke my little heart, but he was a champ. And his little chunky thighs got Taz bandaids, which made me smile. My nickname was Taz growing up, because I was a little bit of a tornado child, and I have a feeling I've got a little Taz 2.0 on my hands.
Tummy time tuckers him out.
This goofball is always falling asleep in odd places. Love my little Naters!


  1. Oh my gosh. THANK YOU! I'm pretty sure I thought everything you've written here after becoming a new mom. It sounds like Addi and Nate are/were a lot alike, so I can totally feel for you! For the record, it gets WAY better! Someone needs to shut all the naysayers up! Keep it up, mama. You really are doing great!

  2. I love your blog Amy. You're very real. Motherhood is often sugar coated, and it real life it sounds hard. I am 99% sure that newborns are actually the hardest part and people hit get amnesia afterwords when annoyed by a bit of teenaged sass. My mom always said that having kids was the best thing she ever did (and I've heard a lot of people say that). I have a co worker who wants to adopt when they're older so they will always have kids around. I think it will only get better as time goes on.

  3. I can so relate to this post. I remember people telling me, "Just wait till they're teenagers!" I got sick of hearing that. Finally an older lady who was my visiting teacher listened to me and responded, "I remember those times. They were really difficult. Just remember, it is worth it in the end." She validating my pain and gave me courage to go on. And she was right. It has been worth it. And news flash--teenagers weren't nearly as exhausting! Keep it up, you've got yourself a keeper in Nate!

  4. One day at a time. Some days are super hard and I'm so sorry to hear that you can't get enough sleep. Being tired makes it SOO much harder. There are great things about the newborn stage, but there are great things about other ages/stages too. (But not getting enough sleep and second-guessing all your decisions- not so fun) I used to get paralyzed thinking that I was ruining my baby because I did/didn't do XYZ. Kids are tough (as in, your decision to use a pacifier/not use a pacifier etc. is not going to hurt them. There are lots of right ways to do things!). Babies and kids can tell when their mommy loves them and that seems to be the most important thing for them. I have woken up tons of times searching for the baby that I thought I fell asleep holding. When I had just one baby I remember thinking 'oh dear, how am I ever going to have more than one, this is too much!?' Now there are times when I think '3!? why did I think I could handle this?!?' Sometimes it is just hard. But the hard times eventually pass. There are times when it is way more manageable and you can make some great memories. Nate is super cute. Keep up the good work, and good luck, I hope you and little Nate can get more sleep soon!