being a mommy · women

Mommy Myths

Warning! This post is very truthful. Some will say harsh, negative, blah blah blah…but it’s the God’s honest truth in our house….

Things people will say…and the truth!

1) Sleep when the baby sleeps
          Okay…some people are apparently designed to sleep in 1 1/2 – 2 hour stretches mutliple times each day. I am not such a person. Especially two plus months into it. Yes, once in a while, I can get in a nap. BUT…there are things that need to be done that I cannot do with LM is awake…because they require, oh, say, ONE HAND at least, two at the most. Which brings us to…

2) and don’t worry about the house…
          As if. We live in a teeny-tiny little home. Five rooms and a tiny bath. Total of five rooms. Plus we don’t have a dishwasher. And we have two dogs and a cat. This means that there is always vacuuming that needs to be done. There are always bottles to wash (by hand) in addition to regular grown up dishes. There is an increasing amount of laundry to be washed, dried, folded and put away. There has to be an actual effort to reduce and organize the clutter of daily life (mail, baby stuff, grown up stuff, etc. etc.). Plus, it’s bad enough my husband comes home to a crying baby (and frequently a crying wife). He’d probably like to come home to a semi-straightened up home.

3) because nobody cares.
          Ummm. I care. And I’m the one that lives here. All. The. Time. And I can’t leave and hope that someone else takes care of it. Because my dogs? Totally useless.

4) It’ll get easier…
          Two plus months in, and life certainly isn’t easier. It’s a little more organized. I’ve finally found my “mommy groove.” I’ve been able to have LM play on his own (meaning on his play mat or in his bouncy seat while I’m five feet away) and don’t have to hold him constantly. But I don’t think it’s gotten easier. Just a different set of challenges.
5) because it will be natural to you.
          Nope. Not for me. I’m not sure this mommy thing is coming to me naturally. Yes, I figure stuff out, but it’s by trial & error…not because I “just know” what to do. Frequently Little Man will fuss and I have to figure out why. Usually I think he’s bored, because he’s fed, dry and nothing is on too tight. But he is teething, so that has thrown us totally out of whack.
6) He’ll sleep through the night.
          Apparently not all babies do sleep through the night. Mine sleeps from 9:30 – 3:30 and then from 4:00 – 7:00. The problem is that I can’t usually wind down until 11:00. I just want 8 solid hours of sleep.
7) Baby books are helpful.
          Feed your child every 3 hours. NO – every 4 hours. Feed your 8 week old rice cereal. NO – that’s not healthy. Let your baby cry it out. NO – pick him up. Don’t pick him up, you’ll spoil him. NO – you can’t spoil a baby. It’s okay to spank. NO – don’t ever spank a child. Feed your child on a schedule. NO – demand feed. Sawddles. NO – don’t swaddle. Give baby tylenol. NO – no medications. Babies don’t teeth until they’re 4 months old. NO – they can cut teeth any time.
          Yep. Baby books are really helpful (insert sarcastic tone & laugh here). They all contradict each other. Even if they say the same thing, they rephrase it so you think the previous book was wrong. Very confusing.
8) It’s the best job in the whole world (motherhood, that is).
          Okay, that one I will give you. It is a great job. But it’s hard, and I think women lie to each other about that all the time. It is the best job. Being home with Little Man is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. But it certainly isn’t easy.
I really wonder when I see women who are thriving as new mothers:
Does it really come that easy to you? (because hubby & I are working on it)
Do you just know what to do, instinctively? (because we don’t)
Don’t you ever cry because you wonder if you’re doing it right? (because I do)
How do you function on such little sleep? (because I don’t function well)
Really? Your 6 week old sleeps ten hours in a row? (because LM didn’t)
You know they should still eat like every 4 hours at that point? (some every 3 hours)
Am I really the only one every to stuggle with this?

10 thoughts on “Mommy Myths

  1. I just had to post a comment to this. I've been reading for a while, but don't think I've ever commented.

    My husband and I are foster parents (hoping to adopt someday) and we currently have our first foster baby who came to us at 7 weeks. I felt/feel EXACTLY as you do about all of these things. It IS hard. MUCH harder than I expected. Our little one is sleeping about the same schedule as yours, but occasionally sleeps through the night. That has definately made things easier. And I only stayed home for 2 weeks with her. She's in daycare now. I never want to admit this, but that makes it easier too.

    Anyway, I wish you luck as you move further into motherhood. I think you are doing great!

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  2. My 6 week old certainly does not sleep through the night! I get up with him 2, sometimes 3 times a night, and then every now and then, like last night, only once. But I would be worried if he went 8 hours without waking for a feeding. And when he eats at 3am, it's like 4 ounces, so I know he's super hungry!

    I threw out the baby books because they totally confused me, made me question myself constantly. I know what he needs, and I just do it. I don't worry about the whole “spoiling” thing, or “demand feeding”. Hey, when I'm hungry, I eat. So, if he's hungry, he eats! I'm not going to deny him just because a book says he shouldn't eat. That's crazy.

    I don't sleep when he sleeps because when I'm up, I'm up. Naps usually make me feel worse so it's just better for me to stay up. But, I'm also not drop dead tired. If I was, well then I just might nap. But Nate sleeps sporadically throughout the day so I never know how long he'll stay asleep, and that would make it hard to lay down and nap because I'd be too worried that he would wake up any minute.

    The house, well I don't worry about it cause right now there are boxes everywhere. But you know what? I never won any awards for housewife of the year, so hubby doesn't expect me to start now. I'll do my best but dusting the baseboards will not be a daily task of mine, lol!

    It does sound like little man is very attached and that would make it very hard. I'm sorry that it's been a difficult (and wonderful) time for you the past 8 weeks. Every baby is totally different and you never know what you'll get.

    I think it did come natural to me, but only because I have always loved newborns. Newborns are scary to some, but to me, I just adored them. So while there have been challenges (like gas in the evenings), I'm amazed at my patience and I don't get upset. But–I am totally a newborn person! Now, when he turns two and is screaming “mommy mommy mommy”, then I may post about how hard it is to have a two year old! lol

    And as far as it getting easier, I agree with you. Nate used to sleep a lot more, now he's awake more and while I have found my groove with him, it is harder to get things done because he's awake more. Every day is different than the day before because he's growing and changing so much! I think it continues like that through teething, baby food, potty training…well probably until they turn 18 and go off to college! lol

    Keep hanging in there girl! I'm sure you hear this all the time but “this too shall pass!”. Someday you will look back and wish you could hold him again when he was so small, toothless, and smiling at you. Take joy in the little moments with him. They will be gone all too quickly, as everyone says.

    And no you are not the only one!

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  3. I made a decision about 2 weeks into parenting, SCREW the books. I threw them all away.

    Trial and error is natural learning. You're doing great!

    I know you're tired. It may not get easier, you just get used to it.

    Hugs sister. YOu're doing fine!

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  4. I am not a Mom yet, still waiting. My husband and I say all the time how we are so excited to be parents but that we know it will also be hard and hard work and we remind ourselves that we really don't know what we are getting ourselves into until we are there. I just read a book “I was a really good Mom, before I had kids”, it gets at what you are saying. Hang in there!

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  5. THANK YOU!!! I was just about to write a post about what people say/what books say and how insanely hilarious it's all becoming to me! Now that K is home and after I have been nanny to two different newborns, I know that every baby is TOTALLY different, and I'm basically taking what people and the books say with a grain of salt. Trial and error is definitely the way to go, and I think it's so frustrating to us because we love these babies….we want to be able to console/comfort/make them happy asap. I like reading the books, but I have to remember that what they say is a POSSIBILITY, not the law. And the sleep? LOL. K is five weeks old, and she will get up one to three times every night, even keeping a moderately monotonous schedule during the day. I'm so glad you're honest and that I know I'm not the only one who doesn't immediately have it all together! Just keep loving him and hang in there…we're in this together!

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  6. While I come from a completely different perspective, I love your honesty here.
    The newborn phase was hard, but not as hard as I expected. I have been around TONS of babies (my littlest sis is 14 years younger than me) and it just seems to come naturally to me. Also, my kiddo was an EASY newborn. She never cried except to eat and in the night she would eat and be back to sleep in three minutes(because she was a PIGGY that LOVED and still loves to sleep). My dog STILL to this day disturbs my sleep more than my daughter ever did!
    So, now that you probably want to pop me in the lip, I would also like to add that I think it is totally normal to struggle with this part of motherhood. I don't think there is a mom out there that is great at EVERY stage of mothering. My mom is horrible at parenting her adult children (although she was the greatest mom on God's green earth while we were growing up). I already KNOW the age I am going to struggle with and you will probably breeze through it with flying colors.
    When I pictured being a mom, it was always to a baby. Now that R is up walking and starting to talk, I have to be more conscious in my mothering (narrating, pointing, explaining etc) because it doesn't come as naturally to me (but, its still awesome).
    You’re a great mom, and the fact that it is harder for you makes you even greater.

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  7. I have a feeling that I will be like this too, with a child who doesn't sleep or cries all the time. Or is fussy or something. I read several baby books in preparation for our failed adoption and was surprised at all the contradictions. Oh, except they agreed that you should not buy baby things secondhand! This after I bought most things from a consignment store/craigslist. I personally think that rule is thrown in by Babysrus!

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  8. By the way, did I tell you Jack and I spent the first six weeks of his life sleeping in the recliner in the living room because it was closer to the fridge and the formula? Oh how nice 5 hours at a time felt when he started sleeping that long. Trust me, there is a point when “just a little more” sleep is luxurious and you feel so refreshed!

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  9. Let's see…

    Does it come that easy to me? Sometimes. Some of it is easier than I thought it would be and some of it is harder. Remember, I'm the girl whose son was starving the first two weeks of life because he wasn't getting any breast milk and I thought he just had gas.

    Do I just know what to do, instinctively? Inasmuch as he's a kid and there are just things that seem logical when it comes to kids. Is there some sixth sense I have when it comes to what he needs? No. I read the Baby Whisperer and figured out what different cries were supposed to mean. So that book did help!

    Do I ever cry because I wonder if I'm doing it right? Yes! Less now, but still some. If I don't know what's wrong with him or how to fix whatever's upsetting him, I'll cry. Or now that I'm starting to discipline him and having to be stern, I'll cry afterward because I'm a mean mama. Hopefully it'll get better!

    How do I function on so little sleep? Honestly, Reid has JUST started sleeping through the night (he's been getting up at least once all this time) and only because I FINALLY realized he's probably teething, since he seems to have a new tooth every day. Gave him some teething tablets before bed one night and he slept! So now I sleep! I really don't remember the first few months very clearly, so perhaps that tells you something about how I “functioned” during that time…

    Reid started sleeping about 9 hours at a stretch when he was 10 weeks old. I think I got lucky. Some do, some don't. And then when he was 7 or 8 months old, he started waking up again, and that JUST stopped with my recent discovery of teething tablets. So it doesn't always last! Maybe LM will be up for a few more months and then he'll be a fabulous sleeper for the rest of his LIFE. Difficult to say, really.

    Feeding is weird. I just followed the three hour schedule for months and months, until he started solid foods. He ate every three hours until he was 9 months old probably. The boy likes routine! Plus I always knew that if he got upset and it was about three hours after he'd eaten, it was probably time for him to eat (as opposed to sleep or random crankiness). His routine has shifted a couple of times, but we still have a routine. Makes my life easier!

    You are not the only one to struggle with these things! I just think you're more aware of your struggles because you're not a “natural” mom or whatever you want to call it. But I think you're a natural. You looooooooove that boy so much and really have his best interests at heart, so you're more of a mom than lots of “natural” moms out there. Stop freaking out! You're doing a fine job!

    Although I will say that posts like this are my favorite. They make me think about my motherhood experience and how much I've learned. I don't think I'd ever held a NEW newborn until mine came along, so I was terrified of motherhood. I'm not sure what it'll take to convince you you're good at it. For me, it's seeing how happy and healthy Reid is every day. It is evident to me that he has love in his life, and that, being his primary caretaker, that love comes from me. As LM gets older and more expressive, you'll see that. I know it!

    Sorry this was so long…

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