BY ELIZABETH WOODALL
When I thought about being a mom one day, I looked forward to so many things, but I knew so many other things would be hard. I looked forward to the first time I’d hear “I love you, Mommy” and the first time my baby would achieve some great milestone like walking or getting into medical school. However, I dreaded the first scary fever and the annoying comments I’d undoubtedly receive from other parents, grandparents and teenage cashiers at Starbucks.
The crazy part is that the annoying advice starts so much sooner than you ever expect it to, and there’s always some troll just around the corner waiting to streak through your parade with the “Just wait until _____” comment. “Your daughter said ‘Mama?’ Just wait until they really start talking because they’ll never shut up…you’ll crave those quiet days.” Or, “I wish my baby had been a late walker…it was so much easier then.” Helpful hint: No matter what a parent says, the correct response is “Children are a blessing.” It seriously satisfies everyone…all blessings come from somewhere, so no matter who or what you pray to, it fits.
I recently saw a Yoplait yogurt ad on TV that sums up how I feel about being a parent in today’s society to a T. If you breastfeed in public, you are shameful. If you choose formula, you are evil. If you work outside the home, you hate your kids. If you don’t work outside the home, you and your lack of ambition are a drain on your husband and family. I had a woman in church (IN CHURCH) ask me what I “did” as I was straining to keep my baby from ripping my earring out the other day. I kind of just looked at my daughter and back at her and back at my daughter and back at her. Um, “this,” I thought. Luckily, I do have a little side hustle as a writer, but that’s more for me than anything else. I don’t really know a better way to ask that question, though so I don’t have much advice to offer to others. Maybe “So, is wrangling that apparent bipolar little gremlin your only job or does that in any way leave you time and energy for something that pays?” Or, “I don’t know how you do it.” I like the second one even though it’s more of a statement than a question…and I’d respond, “Well, children are a blessing.”
My daughter truly is a blessing, though…she has slept through the night since she was four weeks old and sleeps from 8:30 pm-8:30 am about 99% of the time. I constantly get asked when I’m going to have another baby, and I think…I already won the lottery once…what are the odds that’ll happen again? I can hear the trolls now. “It would be cruel for her not to have siblings…every only child I know hates being an only child.” Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time (that’s weird), I agree. She’ll have a sibling…when I’m good and ready and not a second before. Margaritas are just really good right now…maybe they won’t be in a year or two…maybe the lemon and lime crop just rocked this year…and last year. It probably also rocked the year I was pregnant and missed out…that would so be my luck. I mean, it must have, right? Lord knows my husband ordered one every…single…time we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant or a restaurant that served margaritas.
Being a parent is hard. I thought the easiest part would be picking a name, but I was totally that parent HOLDING my child in the hospital talking to my husband about which name we were going with. I honestly think you can make fun of every single name out there in some way. Maybe just I can. And, maybe if I teach my daughter to have a thick skin, she’ll be able to shake off all the jerks that will find some way to make fun of her being tall or being smart or being gorgeous, or being generous or being the first person to conquer some amazing feat.
All modern-day parents know the best lesson we can teach our kids is how to stand up for what they believe in…no matter what. Take a side, but know why you’re on that side, and understand that someone else trying just as hard may have a really, really good reason for being on the opposite side. However, if your child can chew steak, maybe it’s time to give up some things from when he or she was a baby…food for thought. #childrenareablessing #hashtagsarelame