You remember the poster, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?” I feel like writing my own version, “Everything I Could Have Lived Without Knowing I Learned While I was Pregnant.”
Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve received loads of solicited and unsolicited advice and information. Some has been valuable and some has been downright discouraging.
If someone asks you about your due date and their birthday falls anywhere near that date, they will excitedly tell you that. If you want to hear a labor war story all you have to do is broach the subject of labor with a mom and she will happily share all the gory details. I don’t mind those stories and tidbits. It’s the downright discouraging comments that I find most upsetting. Sure, you can always blame my extra sensitivity on the hormones, but I think my feelings are justified with or without the hormone fluctuations.
In the post Join the Club I mentioned moms often have the, “come over to our side” mentality. If you are a mom, you want non-moms to join the group. Moms want to share their stories of sleepless nights, feeding struggles, colds and financial strains that come from having a newborn. But they also want to proudly share the first smile, first giggle and eventually first word with others who appreciate these milestones. I understand that now, and with 10 weeks left in my pregnancy, I’m finding myself more and more inclined to commiserate and share with other pregos or new moms.
What I don’t get and have an issue with are mommy haters. These are women (and men) who have told me, from day one, how my life will change for the worse. They make having children and babies sound like a chore, something that changed the course of their life forever, and not necessarily for the better.
So, without further ado, I’m presenting a list of what others have told me I will have to change/give up/or never be able to do again once our son is born.
- Have long hair. “I’ll be sad for you when you have to cut your hair.” I apparently won’t have time to straighten, blow dry or even wash my hair, it seems.
- Wear nice clothes. “I know someone who gave away all of their nice clothes when they had children. It showed a real sign of maturity.” Due to constant spit up, vomit and poop, anything other than sweats and T-shirts are deemed futile.
- Be organized. I brought some forms into a workplace and was sitting down with someone to go over them. I had a list of questions typed out that I wanted to ask her. I said, “Please excuse all the questions, I’m a little on the hyper-organized side.” She responded, “Oh, well that will change when you have the baby.”
- Have a clean house/car. This comment may be the one I’ve received most as it’s apparent to most people that know me I like to keep a clean house and car.
- “Get ready not to have a clean car anymore.”
- “You will need to baby proof your house and put all of this stuff away.”
I get it! I do! You don’t need to tell me how dirty my house will become. Feel free to share a cute anecdote about your baby, though. I’d love to hear about that.
- Go out alone with my husband. Acquaintance: “What are you doing this weekend?” Me: “Going out to dinner with my husband.” Acquaintance: “Better enjoy that while it lasts. You won’t be going out to dinner alone for a long time.”
- Sleep. “You’re pregnant? Ahh, better catch up on your sleep now. You won’t be getting any after the baby is born.”
- Being on time. I’m chronically late. I’ve tried hard to improve on this flaw of mine by initiating a New Year’s Resolution. When I told others about my resolution they responded, “If you think it’s hard now, just wait until you have kids. It’ll be so much harder to get out of the house.”
After being inundated with these comments from the moment I announced I was pregnant, it makes me think—these people want to see me in sweats and a stubby ponytail, bags under my eyes and a sink full of dishes. What happened to lifting up those around you? Why try to bring others down? The even crazier thing—these are moms and dads I’m talking about here. Non- parents are supportive and positive, while the individuals with children are the ones I find most discouraging.
Enough is enough. When this post is published, I’m officially letting go of these comments. I’m not going to take them to heart anymore. Everyone’s experience is different, and it’s time I recognize that and tune out the negativity. My experience as a new mom will be what I make it: nice clothes or not, clean car or Cheerios on the floor, long locks or short, I have the power to be the mom I want to be. One thing I know for sure, the next time someone tells me they’re pregnant, I will send nothing but positive messages their way. They deserve to have their pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing experience be whatever they want to make it.
Emily Harrington is a 29-year-old townie on the cusp of full-blown adulthood. She’s a wife still in the honeymoon stage and a mom of a borderline psychotic mini-Australian Shepherd. She has a full-time job in communications/marketing and a full-time life outside of work.