• Mon, Sep 9 2013

8 Motherhood Myths That Every New Mom Encounters

greek myths bookLadies who are (or will be) new to the parenting club, high-five. As far as I can tell, motherhood is pretty awesome. But between all the not so awesome mom groups, mom friends, and cultural stigmas, there is a lot of motherhood mythology to wade through in those first couple of years. You may have heard some tall tales about Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and all the rest but I have a few other stories of that ilk to share with you.

1. Motherhood means being deliriously happy all the time

Define “all of the time.” Most of the time? Some of the time?

2. Moms who don’t breastfeed just didn’t try hard enough

Don’t be this mom. Ever.

3. Your maternity leave is like a vacation

Question: do you awaken at three o’ clock in the morning (explicitly NOT to throw up) to feed a very small person on your vacations? Because I don’t!

4. Your baby will instantly love you

Maybe, but maybe not.

5. You will love your baby instantly

Could happen, could not. Wait on it.

6. Postpartum depression is for women who don’t love their babies

I have yet to hear this gem be articulated before me, but the sentiment nevertheless lingers in the way we often talk about women who had suffer from PPD. The sisterhood — as well as parenting culture in general — has a looooong way to go on this one.

7. Parenting should come “naturally” to you

If that were true, Google would surely cease to exist. Everyone knows that new parents googling the shit out of every which rash and swaddling technique single-handedly sustains a HUGE chunk of the online world.

8. If you’re not completely fulfilled by motherhood, something must be wrong with you

LOLZ for days.

(photo: CarlaGates247)

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  • Amanda Rene Slinger

    So glad to read articles like this, Cletus the fetus is due in three weeks & sometimes the bullshit about parenthood I read or see on TV makes me feel like there is no way in hell I will ever be good enough to raise a kid. This website is a nice, down to earth breath of fresh, sarcastic air!

    • Erin Murphy

      Cletus the fetus! I love it! Our little guy is due in 5 weeks. I thought Teeny was clever until I heard Cletus.

    • Talija

      Oh gawd, the last time I heard this term, it was at a medical convention and a bad joke about preemies with limited brain function.

    • Amanda Rene Slinger

      We just started calling him that as a way to annoy nosey relatives who want to know what the name is. We tell them Cletus, they get a sour look on their faces and stfu, it’s wonderful.

  • Anika

    I didn’t encounter a single one is these as a new mother.

    • whiteroses

      Then you are very, very lucky.

    • Andrea

      I didn’t really either, but I had my children pre-internet. I also had my children before most (really all) of my friends and it was all I could do go to work, raise my child, and not die.

  • keelhaulrose

    I got the “PPD means you don’t love your child” when I was going through an extreme bout of PPD. Yeah, because that sentiment helped… nearly send me over the edge.

    • Andy

      Yeah, people are assholes when it comes to PPD. I tried to talk to my mom about mine, thinking she’d be a good shoulder to cry on, and she said that she didn’t have time for PPD, since she was going back to work, and it was all in my head since I was getting to stay at home. That may be true (the being lucky enough to stay at home part), but at the time it felt more like a death sentence than a luxury.

    • whiteroses

      Speaking as a fellow sufferer- the folks who say that have no f-ing, g-d clue what it’s like, and I pray they never do.

  • Jessie

    Totally unrelated to the article content, but that book of Greek Myths that is pictured is one of my favorite books in the world, I’ve had a copy since middle school and still love it to death. <3

  • AugustW

    “Not liking your child all the time doesn’t mean you don’t love them.” I had this a lot when my daughter was fresh, and a screamer. I still sometimes have it now that she’s a toddler. Still a screamer.

    • Andy

      When I graduated high school, my dad got me a jewelry box engraved with “I like you most of the time, but I love you always.” Very fitting, especially since I was kind of a moody bitch as a teen ;) I think he and my mom were secretly looking forward to the empty nest!

    • http://lawleramericanadventure.wordpress.com/ Nicole

      My mum was fond of telling me during my teen years (when I was a horrific hormone monster) “I love you but I don’t have to like you.”
      There is no one on earth that I’ve ever liked 100% of the time and that especially includes those people whom I’m madly in love with.

  • Harriet Meadow

    Number 5 hits home for me. For whatever reason (hormones probably), it took me three whole weeks to feel that overwhelming, all-consuming, intense love for my son that everyone talks about. Since I didn’t know that this was a possible outcome, I felt super guilty about it, and I wondered what was wrong with me. Turns out there was nothing wrong with me. After three weeks, it hit me (and what a wonderful feeling it is indeed)! And I’ve met several other women (both in person and online) who had the same thing happen. It’s like the dirty little secret of new parenthood.

    • phoenix81

      Yes! I think it took about 5-6 weeks for that bond I kick in for me. My best friend told me beforehand it was the same for her, which helped me lose the guilt.

    • Edify

      It took me months. Coincided with the period of time my daughter stopped alternating between staring and screaming at me all day long and finally got some sleep in her own bed.

    • SusannahJoy

      It happened gradually for me. By like 3 weeks I totally loved him, oh my God he’s so amazing! when he was sleeping, but it took longer than that for me to love him when he was awake. Like Edify said, him sleeping in his crib was a huge help, because then he started getting more sleep, which meant he was happier during the day (and I only had one person be judgy for letting him cry it out!).

  • whiteroses

    1. Delirious happiness is a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. It is not being wrist-deep in another human’s bodily fluids, or trying to feed a squirming one year old something he doesn’t like, or wanting to just pee alone once FOR THE LOVE OF ZEUS, JUST LET ME PEE ALONE!

    2. Every mom has her own reasons for breastfeeding her baby. In the end, it’s not even a choice that your partner needs to be involved in- not really. And if your partner doesn’t get a vote, why give well-meaning friends, family, strangers, and random Internet commenters that power? Your boobs, your decision. And if you try really hard and it doesn’t work out? Or if you never wanted to in the first place? Formula is awesome and extremely effective. No guilt, lady. As long as you feed your kid, everyone else needs to STFU.

    3. A vacation is mai tais in Kauai or a trek through the Alps. A vacation is not catnapping every two hours and sitting bolt upright every half an hour because the baby sleepfarted and that monitor is way too sensitive.

    4. If they do, great. If they don’t, great. You are dealing with another human being with their own thoughts, personality and desires. And really? The two of you do have a deep, primal bond, but you don’t know each other yet. You’ll get there.

    5. See #4.

    6. HELLS no. PPD is ridiculously common. Something like up to 25% of new moms experience it. You are not alone. If you think you have PPD, get professional help. If your doctor ridicules you, find a new one. It’s nothing to sneeze at, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, and did I mention you’re not alone? If you’re going to take care of your baby, take care of yourself. You can’t separate the two.

    7. Some of us are blessed by Gaia the Earth Goddess and have this mother thing in the bag. Others do not. If EVERYONE knew what they were doing, those “What to Expect” books wouldn’t be bestsellers after years and years.

    8. I have two advanced degrees. I am not overly fulfilled by reading the same Dr. Seuss book over and over until my head bleeds. Nor am I fulfilled on the days when (let’s be honest) my son is being a tiny, tiny, extremely cute hurricane of emotion. I am not fulfilled when the highlight of my day is outsmarting a toddler. And I am not fulfilled when he screams so loudly that I can’t leave the room. My parenting mantra: “If today was bad, we’ll try again tomorrow. If today is good, we’ll try again tomorrow.” Chances are 50/50 that tomorrow will be awesome. Don’t sweat it.

    Love your kid. Love yourself. Love those around you. Do what you can with what you have where you are. You cannot be all things to all people, and some days, keeping the kids alive will tax your limits. In the words of a little blue fish: Just keep swimming.

    • whiteroses

      Sorry for the novel. I feel really strongly about this.

    • Amanda Rene Slinger

      To #1, my 2 year old nephew who is learning to talk came to creep on my in the bathroom the other day while I was dropping a deuce. He opened the door, walked in, gave me a look of total disgust, said “ick”, and walked away, leaving the door open and my jaw on my chest. I just got creeped on and dissed by a toddler, this is what I have to look foreward to, lack of privacy and judgement, from someone who craps in his pants.

    • http://lawleramericanadventure.wordpress.com/ Nicole

      My now 2 yr old niece once waitied until I was mid wee before pretending to fall over and start to wail. No one else could hear her so I pulled my pants up and ran out only to have her stand up and walk into the toilet and look at me expectedly like “Go on. I’m waiting to see what happens.”
      I couldn’t do it (I get stage fright) and she also left me in disgust, with the door open.

  • Cat

    Okay, I just got ridiculously happy about that first picture – I’ve had that book since Grade 1 <3

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I have to admit that I found my year of mat leave (CANADA!) to feel totally like a year-long vacation. I think most of this has to do with the fact that I didn’t give a shit if I cleaned the house or cooked dinner. I usually napped at least once a day with the kid, so the sleep deprivation wasn’t that bad. And the first four months, when I could still watch TV while breastfeeding (at 4 months the kid started being distracted by the screen)? Dudes do you know how often Golden Girls is on TV during the day? SO MUCH.

    I know I’m really lucky (no PPD, relatively easy time breastfeeding, supportive partner who took a significant amount of time off as well), but yeah…I love my job, but not working for a year (while still pulling in some cash because CANADA!) was awesome. Of course there were times when I was bored, craved adult interactions, struggled with getting the kid to nap and all of that. By the end of the year, I was excited to go back to work. But mat leave really did feel like vacation.

    That said, I agree with everything here. I loved my kid when she was born, but now that she’s talking and has a personality beyond adorable-but-often-leaking lump? Now I actually LIKE her, which feels amazing. Newborns are cute (teeny-tiny-everything!) but soooooo boring. Thankfully they’re quite portable.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I agree that babies are boring – why did no one ever tell me that? Of course, you love ‘em, but FB makes it seem like a new baby is SUPER enjoyable, when really I was often… bored.

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