This morning I was looking through some of my columns I have wrote for Me Plus Three and found this one called, “In one ear, out the other” I really enjoyed writing this piece and thought I would share it with all of you.
So without further ado, this is for all the new and soon to be Mommies out there!
It is my experience that once an embryo is implanted into one’s uterus, you unwittingly become a candidate for unwanted and often redundant advice. This advice will start out small. Maybe you won’t even realize it is happening in the beginning, but as sure as the stretch marks that sully my stomach, the advice will come and you will end up ruing the day you sought counsel from another human being.
I was 6 months pregnant with my son Lars, young and oblivious to the trials I would soon face as a new mommy. In my mind, everything was coming up sunshine and rainbows, and quite frankly I was feeling fine with my naive approach to parenthood. But with every, “Aren’t you scared to push a baby out of your vagina?” and “How are you going to keep a kid alive?” I began doubting my ability to be mom. I, being the first among my friends to carry a bun in the oven, had little to no peers to go to for advice. Of course, the girls would offer their opinions on what I should do, and what I shouldn’t, one of which being that they hoped I would never become that inconsiderate mom, who simply didn’t care about the welfare of the adults around her anymore, always doting on a baby who clearly should be left to self sooth in the first place. To be truthful, my childless friends had all the answers and were certainly not afraid to voice their brazen opinions to me. I will admit that in the beginning, while the babe was still cooking, I agreed with them wholeheartedly.
It wasn’t until the 20 plus hours of labour (where their predictions proved to be grossly inaccurate), that I began to question the validity of their words. After bringing baby home, the tirade of opinions only got worse.
“Change the diaper like this!” “You must be quicker when strapping him in the car seat! It is 30 below outside for the love of God!” “Is that baby still sleeping in bed with you? You better break that habit soon or else you’re going to have trouble on your hands.”
Granted many of these helpful hints I should have taken notice of. I currently have a 5 year old who every night crawls into bed with Mom and Dad because sleeping alone is just too terrifying – but at the time the judgment as I saw it, was getting to me. I was the mom, and despite my lack of experience I wanted to learn as I went. I wanted only my husband Jamie and I to call the shots when raising this kid.
Instead of handling the situation like a level-headed adult, I threw a temper tantrum. I screamed and cried and told anyone and everyone that tried to give me any sort of guidance (positive or not) that I could handle it on my own and I didn’t want their stupid opinion anyway! I had begun to resemble a pre-pubescent child, instead of a knowing mother and this certainly did not help my plight.
Finally after a considerable amount of time distancing myself from humanity in general I realized that I am social by nature and simply could not limit myself to life with only my son and husband for company. So to my mom and mother-in-law I went, and in a surprising turn of events, I asked them for some advice.
“How did you deal with people telling you how to raise your kids?”
Although asking them on separate occasions, their answers were quite similar. I won’t try and quote them here today, because honestly since having kids my memory has become mush and there is no way I could remember what their exact words were to me that day. It was along the lines of, letting it go in one ear and out the other.
People who are close to you, just want to know that they are a part of this beautiful time in your life and sometimes the easiest way to do so is to offer a piece of advice to try and make life easier. At the time it may be annoying, more so on the side of infuriating especially with all of those post-partum hormones floating around making you a crazy lady. But a slight nod of the head and a polite smile is all that is needed to acknowledge that their counsel has been heard, and what you do with that counsel beyond that is completely up to you.