Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Motherhood Myths

Lately I have felt compelled to share some myths of motherhood that I have discovered the truth about since having Little G. This by no means makes me any sort of an expert as I quite clearly have no idea what I am doing, and the things I DO have a clue about only really extend up to month 11! However, there are moments in my days and weeks that make me think aloud how I didn't think it would be this way, and I want to record them so I can laugh at myself some day in the future...like...tomorrow.

Today, I am sharing the following myth:

You give birth to a little baby, not a toddler, so you have time to get used to being a parent

Ok...so who knows if this is a universal myth about motherhood, but it is the line I fed myself over and over again when I was thinking about starting a family, when I got pregnant, while I was pregnant and as I was contemplating birthing my child about this time last year.

I have never been a huge fan of children, not because they aren't awesome and amazing, but rather because I am way too selfish to care for them and I take their moods personally. However, somewhere along the line I convinced myself that the good thing about the design of becoming a parent is that you give birth to a baby...not a tween nor even a toddler, so you have time to get used to it.

In a sense this is totally true...I certainly gave birth to a tiny, helpless baby. And while I never expected it to be roses and candy sprinkles, I felt confident that once I got over the learning-curve of figuring out what to do with a baby, life would be much more predictable and easier to handle.

The problem is, I woke up less than a year later with a mini-toddler. (I say 'mini' because he doesn't actually toddle anywhere...but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a kid with actual ideas and thoughts and desires; more than the new-baby-standards of feed me, change me, help me sleep.) He already has temper tantrums mixed in with supremely awesome moments of sweet subtle expressions.

I can actually pinpoint the moments in his short life when he transitioned from being a blob with standard baby needs to a slightly-less developed, but still monumentally different, toddler. A child. A little boy. And I have felt supremely unprepared for it; blindsided by the myth that I had plenty of time to get used to the idea.

So, for all you mothers-to-be out there, whether it be imminent or in the distant future, I am here to debunk the myth that you have time to get used to having a baby before they become a toddler. I encourage you to explore your feelings on toddlers while you are preparing yourself for birthing your child and taking care of newborn essentials. Because I promise you, the amount of change your life experiences giving birth to a baby, while immense, is nothing compared to waking up one day to a toddler. Especially when you haven't studied for that portion of the exam.

What about you other mommies out there...what myths have you dispelled?


  1. I don't know if I agree with this or disagree! I think it's because I've loved kids of all ages (mostly) all my life, and took care of them for over ten years, and it prepared me. I DO know that Piper, while super fun at her happiest, is also the biggest stressor at her worst. When she was a newborn/infant, it was different, and I hardly could get angry because she was so helpless. Now that she's 6 months, I sometimes get frustrated because I KNOW she knows she's playing me sometimes and it sucks. The newborn age was the one I was least looking forward to, only because the idea of someone relying solely on me- YEESH. If I broke her I couldn't get a new one.

    Now, a myth I debunked? The "advanced" baby. Yep. Why do all mothers insist their babies slept through the night at 3 weeks? Learned to sit up at 3 months? Rolled over at 2 months? Because they CAN'T REMEMBER. They THINK the baby slept through the night, but ask the husband and you'll hear differently. Sure there are babies that have a random 10 hour sleep at three weeks, but honey, that ain't STTN. I think a big part of the Mommy Gloats is a lack of memory. Our brains are trained to turn everything in our child's early life to a rosy red color. So yeah, DEBUNKED.

  2. I'm like you were -- not well-prepared for children before we were actually thrown to the wolves. On the one hand, I do think there's a learning curve and you come to know your own child's habits and needs better than anyone else in the world. So there's a confidence in that. But on the other hand, there's definitely a NEW challenge to adjust to every few months. At 14 months, we're just into the "I want to run everywhere" stage, and that is definitely a whole new level of stress compared to crawling. Luckily, there are also new joys at each stage, too -- it's both weird and incredible that she now understands almost everything we say to her!

  3. I'm laughing at Amber's comment "they THINK they remember..."
    IT'S SO TRUE!!!! =o)

  4. I don't have any stories to share since I'm not a mother, but I just wanted to say thank you for all your posts like this on motherhood and Little G. SO HELPFUL to those of us peeking in from the other side of the fence and thinking of jumping over...

  5. Wow, I haven't been to your blog for entirely too long. Got a lot of catching up to do :)

    This is not a myth but more of an internal change- when Eva was a newborn and I was constantly flustered since I didn't know what I was doing, I constantly hope that she'll get to that "next stage", being more independent and less needy. Well, she's (almost) there now, and I totally wish she didn't grow up so fast. These days when I look at her, not even at 11 months, she really doesn't resemble a baby much at all anymore, and it makes me a little melancholic. I wish I wasn't so busy freaking out when she was smaller and could have enjoyed her more then.