Today, I’m kicking off a new series on the blog: Surprises About Motherhood. There have been a few things along the way that have surprised me. OK, OK…maybe more than a few. Let’s focus on the biggest things for the purposes of this blog.
Today, it’s the phrase “just wait.”
You’ve heard it. You may have said it.
While pregnant, I heard it a lot. My desire for a natural childbirth, whether to sleep train, bottle vs. breast feed, the list goes on. Every time I heard another mom who was full of wisdom tell me “just wait” after I proclaimed my plans, it hurt. I knew that we all do things differently, have different kids, and therefore each mother’s “just wait” was relative to her own situation.
I vowed to never, ever say it to another mom.
As I hit my stride as a mom, I found truth in the “just wait” comments. Many things that I just knew to be a certain way, weren’t. The other moms were right.
As a pregnant mom, I just knew that I’d use Major’s changing table until he was potty trained. Well, that wasn’t so fun. Once he got to be…actually, I have no clue how old he was, because another thing is that time really does fly…that changing table was booted from the room and Major was getting changed on the floor. Wresting with a crazy one year old, hurting my back, and worrying about him falling were not on my radar.
Milestones. Writing all of them down. Oh yeah, I was going to be quite the historian. Many said I would start strong and then slow down. And, right they were. My child’s milestones are mostly undocumented after the first six months. There is no baby book. There is a planner filled with some milestones, and a giant bag of photos that need to be put into an album. In fact, I didn’t even print the photos. My mom did. Because she knew. She knew.
Let’s talk about food. Oh, the food. I was going to be a baby led weaning champion. I was ready. Just wait, they said. And then, I quickly learned that I have an intense fear of choking and vomiting. Baby lead weaning allows the child to work through new textures without pureeing food. There is some gagging – which is a good thing! Babies are very protective of their little throats. It’s actually a great method, and I believe in it. However, one little gag and I’m screaming, flailing my arms, and have been known to run out of the room before getting my wits about me and returning. All the while, there is no choking. I waited, and they were right.
Finally, childbirth. I wanted a drug free birth. I had the playlist. I had the plan. The plan began to crumble with the very first moment of labor when my water broke and not a single contraction followed. Pitocin began about 6 hours later. After a few hours, I thought I could totally handle it. Then, the nurse told me that I wasn’t having productive enough contractions with the amount of energy I had and my ability to run laps around the floor. Weird. And with the increase in Pitocin and each passing hour, I knew. They were right. I would be taken down by my pain, and did indeed consent to an epidural after a 17 hour joy ride of stubbornness. I know many mothers who did it, and would do it again, and I think that is truly awesome. I also know that my sweet friends who said “just wait” knew ME pretty darn well.
Still, the other mothers weren’t right about everything. I sleep trained. Still do. I started timeouts pretty young. I wasn’t attached to Major’s baby hair. I put up a very adult Christmas tree and trained Major not to touch it. I stuck to no less than monthly date nights with my husband. I still exercise. I had Major off a bottle at 10 months. I don’t talk to him like he is a child, but rather a tiny adult.
There is no right, and there is no wrong, there is just what each family does.
Where’s the surprise, you ask? The surprise is, despite my dislike of the “just wait” phrase – I’ve almost said it.
I’ve wanted to say it so, so many times. I’ve bit my tongue. In those moments, I remind myself that that mother’s dream of her child putting laundry away on their own by one year is my pretty Christmas tree. That mother will do a lot of things her own way and exactly as planned, and she will do a lot of things like I thought she would. It won’t be because I was right; it will be because she and her child are not like Major and me. And we aren’t exactly like them.
Just wait…you’ll do things your own way, too. OK, I lied. Now I’ve said it once.