Disclaimer: What you are about to read may upset you, especially if you have two X chromosomes, breasts and a uterus (note: not ALL people have all three). It became apparent during its first few postings, and repostings, that not enough was done to ensure that it was perfectly clear that this article WAS NOT written about ALL first-time mothers but rather a CERTAIN TYPE of "new" mom. The moms depicted in this article are an extreme; caricatures; a compilation of SOME of the kinds of things CERTAIN MOMS MAY DO while pregnant or during the first few months after the birth of a child. The group of women depicted in this post would more than likely be married or in a committed relationship with the father of their child. They are NOT teen moms, they are not single moms on their own, and they (this group of moms) are able bodied and they are sound in mind. They (this group of moms) may believe that they are entitled to a certain kind of treatment not experienced by MANY OTHER WOMEN during pregnancy, and they MAY believe themselves to be way better parents then the dads in their children's lives. If you fit this particular description of a first-time mother or have fit this description in the past, we hope to hear from you. However, if you do not fit this description, never have fit this description, and never will fit this description of a first-time mother, and you simply read the word "mother," or "woman" and are looking for a fight, please do not comment. Or stop yourself from commenting until you read the post a few times to see if there is anything other than anger that you can get from it. This post was meant to start a conversation about equality in the relationships of first-time parents - something that helps both moms AND dads.
First off, I just want to say that I applaud any woman that can carry a baby for ten months without complaining once about her back, boobs, or feet hurting her. As this is a rare human being, I applaud you for at least trying. Yes, it must suck having to give up your body to carry another human being inside of it. And it surely must be a huge inconvenience to have to buy all new clothing and shoes every couple of months. I know women just hate that. I also know that you must have really hated having all that attention given to you from your significant other, family, friends and complete strangers. I’m sure being the center of attention is a horrible position to be in. And if you were one of those unfortunate women that were tasked with having to go out and register for thousands of dollars’ worth of baby products that you would never pay for with your own money, and people dropped gifts off to your door that you had to return for cash, I can’t apologize enough for your ordeal. Pregnancy must have been absolutely horrible, and as a man who will never experience it I apologize on behalf of my gender that you had to make these sacrifices. I’m sure being waited on hand and foot got really old really fast, and now all you want to do is make the man who put you in this position suffer, as you have suffered.
Well, after giving birth and languishing in labour for hour after arduous hour, I feel it’s only fair to give you six weeks to recover and get even more personal attention, and get waited on hand and foot by your mom, your-mother-in-law and your man. You should be afforded a few weeks of insanity to think that you’re the only one who had a child, and no one in the world knows what you are going through. And you should be allowed to act a little bit crazy until all those hormones that are still coursing through your veins slowly go back to normal, acceptable levels of madness. But when those 6 weeks are over, and you can sit without a pillow, and your breasts are cracking less and less, and your settling in to a routine with your new family, it’s time to get back to reality and realize that, although it must have been nice to have all that attention, and all those months of being the most important person in your child’s life, life goes back to normal.
It took me three years to understand it, this whole new mom mindset, but I think I finally got it. It must be really hard for a person to go from being the center of attention for so long and then have to give it up. It’s not really much different than a baby. Just today my 3-year-old daughter asked me to feed her, when we all know she can feed herself. She just doesn’t want to. Many new moms are like that in a weird way. You got so accustomed to people waiting on you, that it’s hard to give it up. But you have to give it up. And instead of treating your husbands or boyfriends or whatever like slaves that should do your bidding while you sit on the couch and complain about how you’re doing all the work because you’re breastfeeding, why not treat them like what they are an equal partner in this whole parenting thing.
New moms, I’m sorry to say it, but sooner or later, you have to give up this whole “I gave birth to this baby so I know best attitude” and realize that just because you carried that baby for 10 months doesn’t give you sole claim to him. And just because you passed him through your most sensitive area doesn’t give you the right to make all the decisions over his care. So let’s give it up already and say you don’t know any more than dad does and share the load, and stop being so selfish with your babies.
Let’s get something straight. Just because you babysat when you were 13, or a held a few of your friends’ babies, doesn’t mean you know any more about raising a baby than anybody else. I fact, you’ve probably forgotten most of what you ever learned. And the truth be told, any man interested enough in wanting to know as much as you know could learn it from reading one parenting book over a weekend. Carrying a baby for 10 months and breastfeeding him doesn’t mean you have the market cornered on parenting. Single Dads and Gay Dads seem to be able to raise kids by themselves, more and more. And you may want to act like you know more about babies then the man who you keep pushing off to the sidelines, but we both know you got the same tutorials at the hospital on how to change and feed and bathe a baby as he did.
I know it’s hard to give up the control and the attention that goes along with being a new mom, but it’s not much different than ripping off a Band-Aid that you’ve been wearing a whole month longer than you should have been. You carried a baby, you gave birth to it, you got it going with milk from your breast. You’ve done a great job, not it’s time to share that baby and allow someone else to be an important part of that baby’s life; someone who is just as capable as you at changing a diaper, and giving a bath, and picking out sleepers, and feeding a bottle (full of formula or expressed breast milk). The time for mommy martyrdom is over and it’s time to share.
I get it. Parenting is one of the few things that women think they have the market cornered on, like dancing or cooking or ironing. But you can’t believe the hype. Many men are quite capable of doing all these things (well, maybe not dancing), and just because they do it differently doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong. I have no idea why moms treat parenting like a competitive sport, but they do. They compete with each other and they compete with their significant others as well. And it’s just wrong. Parenting should be about team work. It’s not a dictatorship where someone does everything simply because they don’t want to hand over what little control they have to someone else. Dads don’t want to compete with you; they just want equal time to bond with their kids, their own way. If you feel like you’re in competition with other moms to be the best mom ever, that’s your hang up. Today’s involved dads just want the chance to do more with their kids than their dads did, and they can’t do that if you won’t get out of your own way to see that you are not the only parent in this relationship.
I say every mom deserves 10 months plus six weeks to feel like she and her baby are the center of the universe. After that, the fairy tale ends and the reality of what it really takes to be a good parent should begin- and that’s recognizing that thinking that you are the be all and end all of parenting for your child is just an ego trip that isn’t doing you, your child, or anyone any good.
First-time moms, we know you just want to be the best moms you can be to your child. We know that society has brainwashed you in to believing you are born baby whisperers. And we know you can’t help but get dragged in to the competitiveness of motherhood. But you know it’s all bullshit. Anything moms can do, dads can do equally. And if you don’t believe it, feel free to come to my house and see for yourself. The sooner you realize your child’s father is as capable as you at handling all childcare responsibilities, the sooner you will be free to take a break, and not feel like the world is on your shoulders, and you are not the be all and end all to your child’s happiness. You are just one small, yet significant, part to the big picture.
Some moms will never understand what I’m talking about here, and will continue to call dads useless, and worthless, and fumbling and bumbling and lazy and incapable of caring for a child the same way a mom can. And they will continue to do all the work when it comes to cleaning and cooking and caring for all things child related. And that’s great, if that’s how you want to perceive the world, but in the words of Dr. Phil: “How’s that working for you?”
You reap what you sow. And sharing the load when it comes to raising your kids is just the better way to go.
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