As a first-time mom, I had gotten used to receiving unsolicited “advice” from (sometimes) well-meaning strangers. I had also become accustomed to hearing the beliefs and opinions of other parents. I do my best to stay positive in situations and I try to apply that to my parenting. What I’ve learned over the past two years is that no matter how long you’ve had children – no matter how many years you have under your parental belt – some people will always feel the need to bring you down. To that end, I say bring on your experiences and tidbits. I welcome funny stories and lessons learned, but, please, let’s keep it positive.
Throughout my first pregnancy, I heard every “Just wait” scenario there was:
“Just wait; you’ll be in labor forever.”
“Just wait; the baby will cry constantly.”
“Just wait; you won’t get a good night’s sleep for years.”
“Just wait; she’ll have a terrible time teething.”
Well, my daughter, Bailey, came through a smooth, uncomplicated, and relatively quick delivery. As a baby, she was an absolute dream. She only cried because of hunger and gas pains (which were significantly reduced when I stopped drinking milk and started buying infant’s gas drops). She began sleeping through the night within the first month and her only signs of teething included excessive drooling. Surely, she would prove wrong the naysayers.
On the contrary. While I was pregnant with my now three month old son, I continued to hear the negative proclamations of how this child would be. “Well, you had one easy baby, so you know this one will be difficult.” Well, it looks like these genes have proven them wrong once again. Take that, Debbie Downer!
Through an even smoother delivery – which was actually pretty painless (thank you very much well timed epidural) – came my handsome little Parker. A baby whose easygoing nature and unparalleled patience lead me to believe he’s even easier than his sister. He rarely cries since his adorable little chirps let us know when he’s starting to get hungry. He’s a good sleeper (he’ll generally snooze for about 6 or 7 hours before I need to get up to feed him again) and he’s always ready to grin. The look in his baby blues dares you to tickle him so he can have an excuse to chuckle.
I’m not here to brag (although it’s an inherent trait of every parent). I have a point, I promise. As long as you live, you will hear negativity in your life. People will try to drag you down whether they do it intentionally or not. Yes, some babies cry. A lot. And some kids wake every two hours for years. Sometimes labor can last forever. And it can be painful. But the thing to remember is that no matter how many horror stories you hear – no matter how many people tell you about the pain and heartache and difficult times ahead – their experiences are just that; theirs.
Stay positive in all aspects of your life and choose not to accept the negativity. I refused to believe my son would be anything but a sweet-natured little angel. So what if my firstborn was already wonderfully easy? That didn’t mean I was destined to now have a hellion. And I’ll carry this positivity with me through their tween and teen years, too.
Let’s take a page from our kids’ playbook and start ignoring the negativity. After all, they’re pros at ignoring us – and from a surprisingly young age, it seems. If you’re worried you’ll have a difficult birth, reject the assumption that it will be long and painful. Choose to believe it will be smooth, uncomplicated, and as painless as possible. And, if you believe in prayer, pray. If other moms keep telling you that you’ll be up all night every night and to “get ready”, turn the tables. Tell them to “just wait”. Your baby will love sleep just as much as you.
And remember, we’re all fighting the same battle when it comes to child-rearing. Wouldn’t it be easier if we fought alongside each other?
What about you? How did your kids go against the grain and surprise you?