By Kristina Johnson of thatmommylady.com
I believe that there are two types of parents in this world, and we each fall into one distinct camp or the other. No, I’m not talking about breast-feeders versus formula-feeders, or cry-it-out believers versus bed-sharing sleepers, or vaccinators versus non-vaccinators. I could care less about anyone else’s childrearing choices. No, I’m talking about the type of parent one becomes when describing family life to someone without kids, or someone expecting a kid.
You have the moms and dads who seem to take a perverse pleasure in trying to scare the crap out of non-parents with their war stories and those who sugarcoat the entire parenting experience, from conception to college. Let’s call them the optimists and the pessimists.
When I was pregnant, I met plenty of both. The pessimists would gleefully warn me that I wouldn’t be sleeping a wink for the next several years and that I should learn to enjoy being covered in various bodily fluids. Those people were certainly obnoxious, but you know what? The optimists were even worse. Those jerks led me to believe my life was about to be filled with scenes of domestic bliss worthy of a magazine ad. From the moment I got knocked up, they were filling my head with lies.
Here are some of the ones I’ve heard most often, and how I should have responded.
LIES PEOPLE TOLD ME WHEN I WAS PREGNANT
You’re glowing. Thanks, but it’s sweat. Do you not see that I’m the only person not wearing a winter coat in the middle of December?
You’re all baby. My ass begs to differ, as do my sausage fingers and cankles. I think my enormous rack would like to chime in as well.
You shouldn’t eat that. As Google Medical School is not, in fact, an accredited university, I think I’ll stick with my actual doctor’s advice.
You’ll forget the pain of childbirth. What kind of drugs do you think I was on? I got an epidural, not the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” treatment.
LIES PEOPLE TOLD ME AS A NEW MOM
Newborns are easy; all they do is sleep. Did your baby not come with a mouth or a butt? Mine was actually quite finicky about wanting to be fed and changed every couple of hours.
You’ll sleep when the baby sleeps. This might work if I hired a maid, a cook, and a personal shopper. Or if Infant Tylenol PM existed. Why the hell doesn’t it?
You need to buy this amazing toy. Nope. My baby prefers to entertain herself by shouting at the ceiling fan and shoving her fingers into my nostrils.
Breastfeeding will give you such a great bond. My daughter must’ve missed the memo; she seemed to think nursing was, in fact, scream bloody murder time.
You’ll lose the weight quickly if you breastfeed. You neglected to mention that this doesn’t work as well when you routinely destroy entire pizzas in one sitting.
Breastfeeding is so much cheaper. Do you know how many extra calories a mom needs every day to produce milk (see above about destroying pizzas)? My grocery bill is insane. I’m thinking of starting a GoFundMe.
You’ll miss being pregnant. Maybe this one isn’t so much a lie but a half-truth. I loved feeling all those baby wiggles and kicks, even when my unborn baby started practicing Taekwando every night at 2 a.m. I did not, however, love being karate kicked in the bladder all day long.
I know as my little girl gets older, the fellow parents in my life will try and sell me on a new pack of lies for each phase. I can totally see the optimists arguing that a terrible two-year-old finger painting with their own poo is a sign of creativity, or the pessimists telling me that I should start looking into boarding schools that accept threenagers.
I think by now I’ve wised up enough to take everything they say, whether it’s sweet or sour, with a grain of salt.
About the Author
Kristina Johnson is a new mom, writer, and TV producer living in New York City. She loves her daughter deeply but can admit that she wouldn’t mind if babies came with an off-switch. Her interests include books, Netflix, and coming up with snarky responses to people who ask when she’s having baby #2. She blogs regularly at thatmommylady.com.