Becoming a first time mom is hard. I'll tell ya why -- everybody and their brother (or mother?) wants to give you advice as to how to be a "good mom" and in our day and age, a "good mom" is also an "eco-mom", and it's a mom that breastfeeds until her child is five (YES I actually read an article about a woman who did this, and there was a picture of the kid with his face on her boob -- I kid you not) and it's a mom that also apparently tells all the other mommies that they are doing it wrong, because they aren't following her method, which is undoubtedly the best. And then I nastily think to myself that the woman who thinks her method is the best obviously has no career and no friends and no life, because if she did, she'd be planning on bathing and changing and dressing her kid just like the rest of us are, and not letting her entire life revolve around abstract parenting methods that haven't even been proven to be advantageous yet.
Luckily for me, i've got some mommy friends who are pretty normal, who try to fit eco-things in when they can, who try different techniques that are actually worthwhile, and who have been able to share useful advice. But for all the rest? I wish that there was a "block" option on people in real life and not just social networks, because I would love to be able to block out you and your nonsense (crazy, overbearing soon-to-be first time mommies!)
So what stemmed this? Two things. This morning I was at my midwife class with some other moms and their partners (mine was lovingly at the airport in Brussels waiting for my mom's flight to arrive so I was solo) and today's class topic was baby products and baby care -- what do you need, how to use it, etc. It was actually useful and worthwhile. But there was that one obnoxious couple -- you know, the couple that whispers to each other after every comment the midwife makes, as if they magically know better than the rest of us but don't plan on sharing their secrets, because well, then it wouldn't be a secret and then they'd be out of the running for the award for Best Future Parents Ever.
Finally, the midwife got fed up of them and started replying to the things they were saying to each other in a very matter-of-fact way. "Actually that's no longer true," she said in relation to the temperature of the bottle and needing to sterilize. "That hasn't been true in ages." That didn't really shut them up though. They just kept whispering.. and in a group of eight people, if two people are whispering and one is trying to talk, it's obnoxious.
I'll tell you what else about this couple -- they are the type of people who have read every parenting book under the sun and plan to try every single tiny theory of parenting they've come across. So to prove how much they know, with every topic, they ask a question to show us all how pretentious they are.
Example: The topic of diapers. She explains what we need at the hospital, day to day, as the baby grow, etc.
And their question? "I would love to know what your honest opinion is about cloth diapers." The midwife explained that she doesn't agree that there is any environmental advantage to cloth diapers in this country because of the use of water and electricity to clean them, and the amount of time it takes, and that it's impractical for a working mother. This is exactly how i've felt about them, although I would like a couple to use from time to time, maybe on the weekends, when I am home and can take care of my baby more diligently (i.e. I would never ask a nanny to bag up my dirty poopy diapers and pass them off to me at the end of the day, nor would I wrap them up and stick them in my purse while out doing the shopping at Auchan. That seems cruel and unusual.)
So she makes her point, and then the couple look at each other all-knowingly, before saying, "well, we're planning on doing..." and launch into a diatribe about the system that they are putting in place that they are sure is going to work, and the rest of us are just sitting there, thinking, "seriously?" That's not the main topic of the class, just stop talking and let the lady continue with the important stuff we need to know. Nobody gives a crap about how you plan to clean up your baby's poop. (pun intended.. not intentional, but I wrote it and then I was like, "oh hey, i'm funny." ... or maybe not.)
So then on to breastfeeding. This is the topic of another course entirely that I haven't taken yet, so since I haven't got all of the information that I need yet and I don't yet know how things are going to turn out (this is my first baby) I do not have my heart set on anything. To be completely honest (and call me a bad mom if you will) I don't care how my baby gets fed as long as my baby is healthy. If I can do that, great. If I can't, then that's why formula exists. Obviously I wouldn't be the first woman in the world to ever decide that it wasn't for me. Plus, i'm not sure that my antibodies are even worth passing along since I have the world's weakest immune system and ridiculous allergies. But I digress.
So quickly, she asks around the room "who plans to..?" and a couple people (myself included) said they weren't sure yet, and then this couple looked at us with wide eyes and said, "well of course we're going to, is there any other option?" This is where I fought back a dramatic eye roll because it's her first baby too. She has no idea what it's going to be like. I don't know either, therefore, i'm keeping my options open and not putting undue pressure on myself. And then they began whispering again. I'm sure it was something like, "omg when our kids are at school together someday, like, ours is so going to be smarter lolz."
Sleeping. This wasn't really a topic of conversation either, just to say that he needs to sleep on his back, what to wear, etc. The midwife asked, "have you finished the baby's room yet?" Well. I haven't. That's part of the reason my mom is coming, because we've got a lot of structural work to finish before we can even begin painting, let alone setting up furniture and unpacking all the boxes of baby stuff i've got. And they continue-- "yes, it's attached to our room, we'll be taking turns blah blah blah..." and when the conversation got around to me, "is your baby's room next to your room?" Nope. It's downstairs. "Oh..." Yep. Downstairs. I've got a mattress I can put on the floor of his room if I need to, or I can sleep in the guest room which is across the hall. But again, daggers of judgement. Do I actually care? No. Did I want to stand up and start ridiculing them for being so pretentious? Yes. Seriously, if there's one thing I can't say enough, it's that I don't need other people's parenting tips forced on me, especially when they aren't even parents yet either.
So, let's put the Best Future Parents Ever aside for a moment. I did mention that there were two things that set me off this morning. We'll say that the BFPE were the catalyst. Then I got on facebook, where numerous friends of mine have had babies within the last month or two, so it's crawling with statuses (stati? state?) that wreak of "I now know everything because i've been a mom for a month" which is equally obnoxious.
But the one that gets the award for the most ridiculous one i've ever seen?
"OMG little johnny (names changed for confidentiality) pee pee'd on the potty today!!! What a big boy!"
... "Little Johnny" was born a month ago.
And all the following comments? "That is such an amazing method!" "Incredible!" "What a little prodigy!" "Omgzbestmomever1!!1" "Active parenting (blah blah blah) rocks!"
And i'm sitting there thinking ... what the...?
So apparently one of the new trendy mom things is to put your newborn on the toilet and then hiss at him, so as to "train" him. He can't even lift his head on his own yet and he's still sucking on my tit, but boy are we gonna teach that kid some bladder control!
You know what this is going to create? The kid is gonna be at the zoo someday when he's 11, in the snake exhibit "hissss.. hisss... hisss..." and he's going to piss all over himself.
Is this seriously a parenting priority? Granted ,what do I know? I am not a mom yet. But the idea just seems ridiculous. Apparently you 'read your child's body signals' so that you know when to stick him on the toilet. This goes against everything i've read recently that says that trying to interpret your child's body signals actually just trains you, and that the kid can't be trained until he or she desires to be trained. Oh, and in order to be able to "want" to be trained, you'll need to expand your wants beyond milk and a clean diaper --
"Oh, this breast again? I was hoping for something a bit more refined -- how about some of the one that's a bit more aged and infused with curry instead? And then while you are at it, read me some of that new best seller that Oprah's been talking about. I can't wait to find out who the killer actually is -- wouldn't it be a twist if it were his father? The weather looks quite fine today -- why don't we go observe some of the fall leaves? Oh how I do appreciate when they change colors.. red.. yellow.. orange.. Oh, time for me to give you a signal so that you know that i'm ready to poop! And 5, 4, 3, 2...run to the toilet, mommy!"
If that is what my one month old is thinking, then i've given birth to Stewie Griffin.