May 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Dear They:

I never realized being a mom meant having you in my life as much as you are. For months I have been clinging onto your words of advice as if they were a lifeline taking me from new mommy hood to sanity.  I read as much as I can so I am up to date on your words of advice and then, when my family and friends ask how I am doing, I barf back your pearls of wisdom as if to justify why I continue to try and get a screaming baby to sleep in his crib or why I become neurotic with each trip for vaccinations.

They say to delay the MMR vaccine.

They say you just have to stick with breastfeeding.

They say the hardest time is the first three months.

They say you sleep when the baby sleeps.

They say this time moves really fast.

I have never met you face to face, I imagine you have your hair pulled back into a tight bun and wear an expression as if you just bit into a lemon.  You probably carry a briefcase and a calculator and armed with a litany of information should anyone challenge your advice.I’ve listened to you for months, trusting that you would deliver me from angst and worry.  But, as more time passes, I realize instead of bringing peace, you are driving me insane.  I tried to listen to you They, when you said not to let my baby sleep in his swing.  For weeks I have stumbled through the darkness with my eyes half-open after an hour of sleep only to be greeted by a baby that was screaming at me as if I had prematurely told him there was no Santa.  Against your advice, I let him sleep in his swing, They….and guess what I did it all night long.  Yes, They, I let my baby swing in his little swing with glorious melodies chiming out of the music box for a full 8 hours.  And you know what, They, he slept for a magical 4 hour stretch each time.  I know you warn against such horrible judgement and strongly believe it will make my baby dependent on a swing to fall asleep, which is when I reminded myself that I know not one grown adults with a swing in their room, and those I do know with one are not likely using them for sleeping purposes.

You told me They, that if it hurt when I was breastfeeding, I was doing it wrong.  For weeks I agonized over your words.  I tried, day and night to get the perfect latch and each time it felt like hot daggers being driven through my boob.  I trusted you They, I trusted that it must mean I was doing it totally wrong.  You told me to keep trying, to stick with it, that it was a natural thing and many people just gave up too easily.  I cried over what you said to me, They.  You made me feel like less of a mom because I struggled to get my baby to latch painlessly and couldn’t get through any feeding without saying the F word.  It was only after a painful 6 weeks that a lactation consultant told me I was doing everything correctly but had pain because of an infection.  Where were you then, They?  You still haven’t apologized for leading me astray.

They, you preach quite a bit about vaccines, what my baby should be doing from week to week.  You pretend to know everything about how to raise the perfect baby.  You tell me what to do, when to do it and how it should be done.  They, you make me worry when my baby isn’t grasping or tracking objects during the week you say he should be.  You worry me that he is sleeping too little or too much.  They, you have given me advice on how often to breastfeed, how many times I should bathe my baby during the week, that I shouldn’t use white noise too often, that I shouldn’t eat certain foods, you tell me what is normal only to make me feel abnormal and a failure as a mom.

I would like to formally break up with you They.  Instead of listening to your advice and “tricks” I am choosing to listen to him.  When he cries, I will feed him, even if it has only been 45 minutes.  When he sleeps better in his swing I will let him.  If he misses a nap, I won’t consider my day doomed, when he sleeps for three hours instead of five I won’t get upset.  There is no room anymore in my relationship with him for you, They.  From this day forward I choose him over They any day.  Thanks for the advice, but I think it’s best to listen to my instincts instead.  That’s what They say to do anyway.


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