This post brought to you by an acquaintance’s query on Facebook about her new child.
Since becoming a new mother (about 6.5 months ago), I have been subjected to a wide variety of well-meaning advice. However, I have found (or at least can think of) two standard responses to problems I’ve had-- and are very common problems--- that I think are unhelpful. The advice givers are well-meaning and usually mothers of older (and by older I mean greater than or equal to one year) children. While at the time I was disheartened, lately I feel encouraged because it leads me to be hopeful that I, too, will eventually grow forgetful of some of the more trying times of during Kiddo’s early infanthood.
When Kiddo was first born he wanted to be held. Period. If you had the audacity to put him down so you could, say, use the bathroom, he’d scream like he was being mauled to death by a thousand banshees. I begged my friends of older children for some advice on what to do. Almost universally I received the above response. All I could think then was “Yeah, yeah I’ll miss these times. But right now I’ve really got to pee.” I adored (and still do) holding my son as he slept and marveling over his tiny hands and eyelids and other wonderful bits, but I still needed to do things like eat and take a shower and occasionally change positions. I could easily put off doing the dishes and laundry and it never occurred to me to fret over chores. However, I really needed even 5 minutes to stretch.
I only got one useful piece of advice with regards to this situation. A friend of mine, after I texted her (which I could do one handed) pleading for help so I could just walk around like a normal human being, offered to come over and in the meantime she suggested I break out my baby carrier to wear around the house. It had never occurred to me to wear the thing sitting down. I used it and I ate my first meal with two hands in weeks.
Yeah, again, totally unhelpful. While I’m not in my brother’s league for sound sleeping (he once slept through a tornado), I am a sound sleeper. In college I had to have two alarm clocks and one of the two had to be across the room. So, yeah, me and a smotherable baby in the same bed is Not A Good Plan. Also, Dixie Dog sleeps in our bed, so that would mean me and Kiddo relocating to the guest bedroom. File this under That Which I Do Not Want (this is selfish of me, but I really want to sleep/stay in the same bed as my husband). I really hated when people tried to tell me that I was wrong about being a sound sleeper and talk me into co-sleeping. The only piece of useful advice I got was to find a sleep training method Dr. Man and I feel comfortable with and start implementing it consistently.
It’s not that I hate advice because I don’t. (In fact, if anyone has a good solution to the second problem that does not involve co-sleeping, I’m all ears.) It’s just that telling me to just enjoy the problem is infuriating.