Things I Once Worried About (But Have Since Given Up On)
Ahhh......to be a first time mom again.
Oh yes, there is far too much worry when you first discover you are one of the sole people responsible for raising a soft mound of cooing flesh into a fully functioning, successful, and otherwise perfect adult.
The stress! The all consuming terror of it all!
Never fear though ladies- I am an experienced mother of four! My oldest is actually like seven or something and I would love to let you know what you no longer need to stress out about. I would like nothing more than to save you the worry and time wasted freaking out that you could avoid if you only listened to me! So, without further ado, HERE is your list...
1) Public urination
Don't worry, I am not talking about me. I hardly EVER pee in public. The same however cannot be said for my children. In the very recent past my almost three year old has peed at the park twice, in the parking lot after a library presentation, ("I go here mom, OK?!" she said as she squatted) in a Walmart parking lot (just doing my part, pissing on corporate America), in the flower bed at another park, and in my driveway.
My husband says that I shouldn't allow this kind of behavior and that it is illegal and we may all get arrested at any moment. As I mentioned, I refuse to worry about stuff like this. Unless your child has the bladder of a camel and waits to potty train until they are five or six, they will pee in public. When kids have to go potty, they HAVE TO GO. You have about a five second window from the shaky dance to a warm puddle.
A worry free mom embraces the fact that urine is fairly clean and just goes with the flow. She realizes that: A) there is often not a nearby bathroom B) if there is it is most likely NASTY C) kids have tiny bladders D) they still need to be hydrated and lastly, E) pee is better on the ground than in your hot car.
Your kid will pee in public. But I am pretty sure it is a misdemeanor.
2) Indecent exposure
This time I am talking about MOM indecent exposure. I remember the first time I attempted "public nursing". It was memorable.
I was in the "doctor's office" (this was before my family when crazy alternative medicine/my body works and all that mumbo jumbo) waiting to be called in for the three day checkup. Pediatricians, while doctors, seem NOT to know that MILK comes in on the third day postpartum. So as I sit with my gargantuan breasts that will not fit in any bra I have or have ever owned, the baby gets hungry. And then.....and then the waterfall starts. As I struggle to attach the baby under a blanket so nobody sees my swollen cantaloupes, milk just starts POURING out of me. (Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the miracle of ample supply.) Within seconds I am soaked to my waist. (I know I exaggerate a lot but I am not exaggerating right now.)
Meanwhile my flailing baby is wondering why he is suffocating under a blanket.
Now, when they need to nurse I just feed them. I am discreet. (My husband is really actually kind of cute in his concern over the idea of other people catching a glimpse of my nipple. This always cracks me up.) But I know too that it is kind of difficult to nurse a new baby under a cover when you need to see what is going on and it is virtually impossible when they are bigger and want to see you and the rest of the world. I have also abandoned the idea of the "sexy breast" because that is a secondary function much of the time (oh and because of stretch marks and gravity- shhhhhh).
Make yourself and your baby comfortable and remember that people will probably not notice or they will look away. Breastfeeding is normal and not worth worry if it is actually working for you.
3) The terrible twos
You know who coined the phrase, "terrible twos"? Somebody who had never met a three year old- that's who.
I have actually heard new moms worry about their babies growing into two year olds because the age really gets some bad press. You know what though- it isn't that big of a deal.
A two year old is a unique creature. They have their own mind, their own opinions, they sleep less, they are becoming aware of their ability to manipulate their surroundings, they are physically able to walk and climb, but they have limited verbal ability. Sometimes that verbal ability is limited to the word, "No". Or should I say, "NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
True, your sweet sleeping infant now has their own two year old agenda and it won't always jive with yours. The good news is there are a lot of awesome things about a two year old like they can do things for themsleves and they can play and get a drink and go to grandma's house.
The bad news is three is hard and four and five and six and seven (and that is as far as I have gotten) are all hard too. But I am pretty sure at this point that EVERY age and EVERY phase has good and bad things about it. I am also pretty sure it goes better if we worry less and enjoy more. You will figure it out and then something else will happen.
That is life and that is kids. Always challenging but always learning.
Remember when poop was this nasty thing that went in toilets? I do, but barely. Now I have cleaned it out of carpet, off tile, walls, legs, fingers, even hair. Sometimes I talk to people who are afraid of the "naked method" of potty training because they are still grossed out by poop.
You get over it.
OK, I still do find it gross but it is so very everyday and such a part of my life, I kind of feel like a 12 year old boy who just CAN'T stop joking about bowel movements.
I've got to be going- I have another dirty cloth diaper to swish in the toilet! Whoot!
5) Macaroni and cheese
I think there was a time when I felt guilty and worried about the plight of humanity if I dared feed my kids boxed macaroni and cheese.
Then I had baby number four.
I have to admit that I pretty much freak out now if I look in the pantry and there is NO mac and cheese. It is a quick lunch that everybody eats. I ease my guilt by buying the organic kind. (Because as you know, if it is organic, it must be really awesome for you, even if it comes in a box with magic powdered cheese.) I also throw in a few raw eggs when the noodles are hot, stir them around until they cook, and voila! a protein filled lunch!
Now I just feel smart when I feed them mac and cheese, not guilty.
6) Everything else
Messy faces (bound to happen), mismatched clothes (just glad they dress themselves and have opinions), hair that isn't perfect, a flabby tummy, the list just goes on and on. And we still survive. And so will you.
In the end, I believe the key to motherhood happiness is actually giving up on perfection and embracing mediocrity, while at the same time still caring enough to get out of bed, laugh, and make dinner, and then laugh some more. Then, if we are lucky, it all works itself out. And if we are REALLY lucky then no police officer will ever witness our children defecating in public parks while we breastfeed a squirming infant held in our stretch-marked lap.
(Disclaimer- Lest this appears to be me thinking I have wisdom or something silly like that, don't worry. Whenever I think I have things figured out it all falls apart. Usually on a freshly mopped floor during a typhoid epidemic or something equally disastrous. Never fear, life keeps me humble despite my best attempts at thinking I know which way is up.)