Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Everybody/Nobody

(It’s always nice to be part of a beleaguered minority…)

Everybody fills your ears with horror stories about babies – the agonies of childbirth, the 3 am feedings, the diapers and tantrums… It’s all been so much easier than I expected.
Nobody warns you about how hard it’s going to be – about how much breastfeeding hurts, or how exhausting a newborn baby can be. I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

Everybody will pressure you to CIO, to get the baby sleeping in a crib, to offer an occasional bottle of formula. Just ignore these people and follow your instincts.
Nobody talks about how crazy the sleep deprivation makes you. CIO if you need to – just don’t tell anybody unless you want to be called out for child abuse.

Everybody assumes that a bottle-feeding mother is lazy, selfish, or neglectful. News flash: formula is not the devil’s beverage.
Nobody thinks twice about the boobs that are plastered all over the cover of Cosmopolitan – so why do they make such a fuss about a woman using her breasts for their real purpose?

Everybody’s first question when they see that you’re pregnant is, "Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?" Why do they care? All I want is a healthy baby.
Nobody admits to having a gender preference when it comes to their unborn babies. "All we want is a healthy child," they claim, as if that makes them morally superior.

Everybody feeds their children fast food and soda – no wonder we have so much childhood obesity.
Nobody wants to admit that they’ve double-dipped their jars of baby food or given their children processed cheese. The competimommies are too busy trying to outdo one another in the organic, whole-grain, homemade baby food competition.

Everybody is emulating the new, cool moms: bored by their children, knocking back martinis at happy hour, making their yummy mummy fashion statements in micro-minis and heels.
Nobody acknowledges that playing with children can be tedious, that motherhood is less than wholly fulfilling: the guilt is too overwhelming.

and finally…

Everybody is against me.
Nobody understands me.
That's because everything I say is revolutionary.

36 comments:

n.b. said...

I enjoyed reading this intriguing post. But my thoughts are too varied to compress into a witty little comment. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

nomotherearth said...

Wow. I don't think I've read a post of yours that I can relate to more. Good and bad.

jen said...

i really, really like you.
a lot.

Team Bub.

it doesn't have to be like this, does it. how simple would that be.

Antique Mommy said...

I guess I'm a nobody because everybody knows was CIO is and I don't.

Just for the record I didn't breast feed (couldn't due to meds), I've double dipped, haven't ever had an organic product in my house on purpose, occassionally fed him McDonalds and cola, (if occassionally means 1-2x a week), I wanted a girl and cried (and sulked) when I found out it was a boy, don't drink martinis and am too old for mini's but will sit around in sweats and enjoy a glass of wine.

You are revolutionary, but I'm with you!

Joker The Lurcher said...

i constantly felt a failure but now my son is 12 he could not be more positive about my parenting. it comes right in the end whatever way you do it!

Becky said...

I'm lost on what a ClO is, too. Except for maybe a hypochlorous ion or radical, without the "-" or "·". I'm guessing that I'm wrong, though, given the context.

De Aufiero said...

Where's Aunt Caffern when you need her?
After going without sleep for way too long, I cried it out in a separate room for one night. Then everybody slept.
Everyone tried, but nobody could convince these kids to take a bottle.
There's nobody I can share my joy at the blessing of having a daughter and a son with because everybody will think I'm boasting.
Playing with children has given me holes in the knees and a first-name relationship with the owner of the package store.

Beck said...

Good grief! I posted about the same thing today!
I think there's a lot of guilt about how awful having a newborn actually is - having given birth, why are we then not magically happy? But I think the real question is WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THOSE YUMMY MUMMY TYPES? They creep me out.

Andrea said...

Hee.

Let's see if I can think of another one....

Oh! Here we go:

Everyone says that working moms are selfish women who don't know how to put their families first. They don't understand how hard I work, how much I miss my kids or how much I need the time away from them for my sanity.
Nobody understands how hard staying at home is. They think I sit around eating chocolate while watching Oprah, with the kids sitting on the floor playing quietly with their lego.

bubandpie said...

AM, Becky - In case it's not already evident, CIO = cry it out. You guys obviously didn't spend as much time on Babycenter as I did.

DA - Do you know how long it took me to figure out why I kept getting holes in the knees? About two and a half years.

Beck - I read the article you linked to and that gave me the idea for this post - a whole lot of "nobody says this" and "everybody thinks that."

Andrea - That's fantastic. I was trying to think of a working vs. staying-at-home one and couldn't come up with the right wording.

Rock the Cradle said...

We're damned if you do, damned if we don't. Since there's really no pleasing everybody, we should all breath a collective "fuck it" (or just CIO) and get on with it.

Awesome post, B&P.

And the last three lines remeinded me of an old song by King Missile:
www.songlyrics.com/song-lyrics/King_Missile/Miscellaneous/Sensitive_Artist/81115.html

Rock the Cradle said...

um, that url I tried and failed to post is:

http://www.songlyrics.com/song-lyrics
/King_Missile/Miscellaneous
/Sensitive_Artist/81115.html

back to your regularly scheduled editorial comments...

Mommy off the Record said...

I like this and can relate to much of it.

I really like Andrea's addendum too. I completely agree.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Yippee! I love the truth! I'm going to print this out and give it to my neighbor, the new mommy.

Karianna said...

Truth is hard. But I am glad that everyone isn't perfect, and that it isn't true that nobody understands, even if it is admitted only through blogs.

My irl friends are perfect parents, of course. :P

NotSoSage said...

Right on, B&P! After a week with my mom, sister and cousin -- who are all 'this is the right way to do things' mommies -- I'm glad to hear another perspective.

Awesome.

Mad Hatter said...

It is so reassuring to be a nobody. It is a great honour to be an everybody. Oh how I love the faceless self that I have become.

Thanks.

Alpha Dogma said...

The word of the day is competimommies. They are evil.

Great post, B&P!

The revolution will NOT be televised!
The revolution will be live (or blogged)!
(With apologies to Gil Scott Heron)

T. said...

Scary.

No wonder my mother needs therapy.

I guess I will be joining her on the couch down the road...

Lady M said...

And next comes, "Everybody knows that you need to sign up for this preschool when he turns 1 so that he won't get hopelessly behind . . ." Right.

Bobita said...

I love, love, love this post.

Julie Pippert said...

BRAVO!

Kelly said...

This strikes me as something that should be published and handed to parents after giving birth. It might help everyone see both sides of the coin, and foster more understanding and compassion for all those in the parenting trenches.

Awesome post.

Jenifer said...

I'm a bad bad mommy...

I bottle feed. I put half used bottles of formula back in the fridge and then re-heat them....... in the microwave.

My daughter snacks on M&M's and has been known to have a sippy cup filled with diet soda.... she eats hot dogs, and chef boyardee when I am too tired to cook.

I could list the rest of my mothering strocities, but I wouldn't want to bore you with the lengthy list!!

Robbin said...

If I weren't at work, I would stand on my chair and cheer.

I'm old. I get tired easily. Pretty much, if Harry is still alive at the end of each day, I pat myself on the back and try to get some much-coveted sleep.

Julia said...

Competimommies. I love that.

Terrific post.

Red Rollerskate said...

cool post. can't win, can we?

Red Rollerskate said...

Hey, can you send me and email? i had to make my blog private (long story, will explain later). my email is: redrollerskateblog@yahoo.com
Then i can send you an invite to read my blog. :)

Bri said...

i completely agree with this post.

Jenifer G. said...

Always something wonderful to read around here. What an interesting post.

My strangest comment for bottle feeding came from a Purolator delivery man while I answered in robe with PG in one arm and the bottle in the other. He actually started a lengthy lecture about bottles and formula and I was so stunned and exhausted and listened for quite a bit before I finally said bye and shut the door. After that I was very sensitive about it for a while until I realized that at one month premature this is the way things worked out and I am grateful for the Special Care Nursery for taking such good care of her when I couldn't.

Why can't everyone understand that at the end of the day we are all on the same side?

Sorry for the ranting. We are in the midst of the barfing flu at our house. Eldest is on the mend and little one is still going strong after 48 hours. Not much else I can do right now - other than laundry! I have not left the house in 3 days so I am bit loopy.

Glamour Mom, yep that's me.

mamatulip said...

I'm with Jen.

Team Bub!

Kyla said...

Amazing post. Its just like that isn't it? Everyone is a nobody...and we're all on the same side when it comes down to it. I always wonder why mothers are so hard on each other when we could be putting that same energy into helping each other through.

CIO...gotta love that Babycenter. :)

something blue said...

Brilliant! I thought I'd try to add to your list.

No one told me that most of the work force would write me off as useless as soon as I reproduced.

Nobody told me that most of my ideals would dramatically change. Sometimes I don't recognize who I am on the inside or the outside.

karrie said...

Fuck YES!!

I really needed to read this after the rant I just wrote. Thank you!

ewe are here said...

So many annoying, judgmental critics out there. They really can make new mommies feel like every.darn.decision is wrong, no matter which way you go.

So my husband and I just decided to ignore them and do what seemed to work for us and MF, and we're planning to do the same thing with the next one.

Nice post.

mad muthas said...

every word is true - all the more intriguing because it's all so contradictory. fab! it's the madness of modern families, right there in your post.