How I Realized My Expectations Were Wrong

In the last few months of my pregnancy I was so excited to do all the things I knew would make me a Great Mom; I bought a baby carrier, read up on breastfeeding and pumping tips (including making a chart for storing breast milk properly), pinned a million baby activities on Pinterest, and went to an accelerated birthing class. Turns out that only the birthing class would make a difference. Everything else ended up being totally worthless. The top-rated carrier that was still over $100 second-hand? It’s too big for me to wear. (As a very short person, this is the case with many things.) Breastfeeding and pumping info? My milk wasn’t plentiful enough, so after a few short and aggravating weeks we gave up for formula. Baby activities? Well, that was a tad useful, but mostly reserved for a baby that can sit up or at least lay on their tummy for more than 10 seconds without bawling their eyes out.

Did I feel completely shitty about now being a Cut-Rate Mom? Was I on the path to becoming a Bad Mom? Sorta. I find I’m constantly reminding myself that I don’t have to do the most in order to make sure my baby is doing well. Moreover, I remember that people have been raising babies for thousands of years without all the gadgets, apps, parenting books, and guilt-trips we have now. It’s pretty easy to make sure your baby grows up “normal” as long as you love it and care for it to the best of your abilities. Family, friends, support groups, there’s so many people to help when you can’t handle it (I’ve definitely had to reach out a few times when I needed a break for my mental health, and a couple times where I just needed a goddamn shower) AND IT’S OKAY! Being a parent is tough as hell, some times it takes longer than you’d like for things to mellow out and fall into a groove, but it will happen.

When I had complained on Instagram about being stuck for hours with a sleeping baby on my chest instead of being productive, my mother pointed out that my baby is only this little for a short time, and whatever I want to do can wait. I am important to her, and I need to take care of myself too. Looking back I realize how stupid I was being. My baby LOVES me so much, she could only sleep while being as close to me as possible. And I complained about it because I wanted to do chores! I’d been worrying about a lot of the wrong things, or stuff that ended up being no problem at all. Now all I worry about is if she’ll fall asleep before we get to the park, or if she’s going to suddenly hate the baby food I just made 6 jars of.

It doesn’t matter if you have the nicest stroller, educational toys, go to mommy & me yoga, or do photoshoots of your breastfeeding sessions. You might do all those things and find out you hate it all. The best times you have could be when you got 4 hours of sleep, haven’t showered in a week, and got delivery every night, but your baby finally slept through the night while you got to scroll Facebook before passing out at 7pm. Expectations are not reality, and you could drive yourself mad trying to make it work out that way. Whatever works best for you is it. Period.

 

 

Un-bow-lievable

One of the most exciting parts of having a baby is picking out all the cute little outfits (even ones that seem ridiculously fancy), and isn’t that what it’s really all about? So of course, when you find out you’re having a girl, that is amplified by 400%. It’s simple to see why, just take a look at any kids clothing section : it’s 75% girls stuff. Throughout your life, it will always be a bajillion options for women’s clothes while guys get just enough choices to pick the same outfit for their entire life.

A lot of people talk about toxic masculinity, but what about toxic femininity? Boys will not just be boys anymore, while girls can and should do anything. As our world changes, we talk about raising our boys and girls right, breaking gender stereotypes, giving our kids equal opportunities to do and be whatever they want. And then I see something like this: a baby bow subscription service.

Now I know that looking a certain way doesn’t dictate your personality. Just because you want to wear a tutu and tiara doesn’t mean you can’t climb trees and play in the mud. Wearing your favorite team jersey doesn’t mean you can’t bake cookies or play with dolls. But it irks me when people have to assert that their baby is a girl. I dress my little girl in mostly boys clothes (just as cute, fits for longer, more color choices) and have had people call her a boy when complimenting her. When that happens, I don’t bother correcting them. But it happens when she’s wearing a yellow baseball shirt, or a gray and blue onesie. Why is she assumed to be a boy just because she isn’t wearing pink?

People can chose to dress their kids however they want, of course. Nobody should dictate how you want yourself or your kids to look. But is this extreme girliness worth $30 a month? Why not put that money into a savings account instead, or put it towards a family vacation fund? Almost anything else would be more worth while than a gender identifier.

SNOOze, You lose

Of the many things to worry about with new babies, sleep is always at the top of the list. So if you heard about an amazing product that would not only make it easier to get your baby to sleep but also gives you a beautiful restful night, you’d want this shit ASAP. No matter the cost, right? Is $1,160 worth it?

The SNOO Smart Sleeper was developed by Dr. David Karp (the guy who came up with the 5 S’s for baby sleep), beautifully designed, and made with lots of useful bits (transition mode to ready baby for a real crib, alerts if they need something). But… is it all really worth it? What if you have a colicky baby? What about the connection you get from cradling your precious baby while it falls asleep? The battle scars of bags under your eyes? Drinking 13 cups of coffee to be awake enough to barely function? That shit is worth it!

When you