You don’t have a child. Everything seems so easy and obvious to you. You have your own ideas and expectations built on the bits and pieces of stories, books and movies. You don’t have a child but you’re a master of theory, right? On a plane you roll your eyes and curse at the parents whose little ones sing the songs from the cartoons for 3 hours, laugh or ask absurd questions. When an infant 2 rows from you keeps crying you make a wry face and quickly put your headphones on promising yourself that your child will never ever act like this! Obviously the parents can’t take care of it! In restaurants you look at running children with distaste. Or at a toddler who’s screaming like mad… And this little blond one that just spat the pasta on his plate? An outrage! How could this be? Why did they even take him to this restaurant??? Your child would surely have acted better! All the time and everywhere! What kind of mother lets him do things like this??? And this one wearing glasses should probably stop breastfeeding the baby at the table! We’re in public after all and the shawl she’s covering her with doesn’t change anything! Can’t you plan your day so that you feed the child before you leave and don’t have to flash your tits later on???
When you finally get pregnant, the number of expectations and ideas increases. You change the attitude. You look at screaming children with more understanding, breastfeeding is no longer disgusting but you still promise yourself many things. You’ve got plans, dreams and expectations regarding what kind of mother are you going to be and what will your child be like.
You’re expecting everything that’s best according to current recommendations: you’ll give birth naturally (preferable no anaesthetics!), because that’s a healthier and best solution. C-section is for the weak and comfy ones who cannot sacrifice for their children. You’ll breastfeed – not only it builds immunity but also the connection between the mother and the child. You’re sure you will never reach for the bottle. And maybe you’re reading all the wise books and you already know that your child will sleep in its own separate bed from the day it is born (never on top of yourself!!!), will eat every 3 hours and start to sleep trough whole nights after 2-3 months? You’re ready – you know what o do, you know the rules. Or the other way – no more infant training, you’ll raise your little one in accordance to closeness parenthood – carry it in a baby wrap, feed on demand and sleep with a child until it gets bored of it. You will never let it watch cartoons. You won’t shout at it. You will always be patient and understanding. You build towers from bricks (wooden of course) for hours. You will cook lunches because the jars are awful, aren’t they? You won’t get back to work before the little one gets 2 because first years are crucial. Or the other way around – you will return to work after 6 months and hire a nanny – you have to care about your career too after all.
There’s lots of plans, even more ideas about the future. We all wanna be moms from our dreams, have perfect – good and beautiful – children. But quickly it turns out that the kid is yet another project to finish which needs to be planned A to Z. You suddenly see that nobody is the wise guy on this matter. There are better and worse days even if you follow the rules fro all the guides in the world. Sometimes you’ll end up carrying an infant screaming its head off drawing plenty of unpleasant stares. You will understand that there’s no use getting all stressed about the rules from the guides. There’s no golden advice.
Be prepared that you may not give birth naturally despite wanting to do so badly. That you may not be able to breastfeed because your milk is less nutritious than modified milk. That you won’t give a damn about the rules from the books because you’ll care more about getting a good night’s sleep than teaching the kid to sleep in its own bad. You’ll give up on cooking after your little prince spits out all your soups and starts purring with delight when he sees the jars. When he gets old you may turn on a cartoon for him because sometimes you won’t have energy to get up and play for the hundredth time with his favourite bricks even if he screams ‘Mommy’ 5 times. Your child will at least once make you wanna disappear – live with it. It will either throw a tantrum and lie on the pavement or will require a removal from the shopping hall screaming and crying with all the bystanders looking at you as if you were a monster not a person who refused to buy the 30th toy car. Maybe he will poop in the pool, spill the juice in the restaurant, put the contents of a plate on himself, sing, scream, bump into the waiter, throw up in the ice cream shop or put his hand into somebody else’s plate. On a plane he may drive someone crazy. You will get sick of it many times, you’ll lock yourself in the room not having the slightest will to build anything from the bricks, play with fire engines or Ponies. You’ll give him a chocolate and buy a lollipop even though you promised yourself you won’t. And even if you were to teach the little one to go to sleep at 7.30 pm from the very start, at the age of 3 he may change his habits and start going to sleep at 11 pm… in YOUR bed! And you did everything to prevent it, right?
You know what? The faster you get it that there’s nothing bad about it the better. The faster you accept the fact that the kid is not another project to finish but a living person with its own plan, the faster you will get a hold of maternity. No more goals, expectations and setting deadlines. Without caring too much that he does not want to sleep in his own bed, that he still uses the comforter while Johnny doesn’t anymore, that he still uses diapers. No guides. No golden advice. No telling yourself that you’re a worse mother because: you didn’t breastfeed / did not give birth naturally / don’t cook / don’t play bricks / allow cartoons, chocolate and candy for birthday. Being aware that it’s not going to be exactly as planned gives you freedom, chill and surprisingly helps you become better too. Better mothers, better people. Flesh and blood, no robots from guides.
And as for those who know better, complain, give advice and look with distaste, those childless or pregnant with forgiving smiles. In most cases, sooner or later they will understand what you already know. 🙂