12 most annoying things that I've had to hear as a new mom.
1. 'Normal labor can't be that bad.'
Pain is subjective, as is what defines 'normal' labor. How bad it is or was depends on how long you were in labor, how quickly your child descended, when you took medications (if any), if you got an episiotomy or tore, along with a bunch of other things including your own stress level. Just because you didn't have a c-section doesn't mean you got off pain free, and since when is it a competition anyway. If you walked away with a beautiful baby, you will someday (or so I hear), forget about the rest.
2. 'Do you get enough milk?'
This question maybe kosher when asked by a really close relative, a parent, or your best friend. It is definitely not kosher when asked by friends of your husband's relatives or anyone else you have spoken to less than ten times in your life.
3. 'So, When's the next one?'
I grew a child, I didn't plant a potato. How about letting me raise this one, or letting all the strained parts of me recover before you go on to ask me that question?
4. 'We are in this together (or equally)'
That's a beautiful thought, darling husband, but until you've stayed up all night nursing (changing diapers and passing out again doesn't count), or pushed a baby out of you, nothing will be equal again. And no, cutting the cord is not equal to pushing the baby out (or having it pulled out surgically).
5. 'Are you really going to leave him/ her and go back to work?'
Wanting to work does not make me a bad or ignorant parent, nor does it mean that I do not want to spend time with my child. I'm going to do my best to juggle both roles like millions of other women who are making decisions that are right for them, and not based on anyone else's opinion. It doesn't mean it's easy to leave my child and go to work, and I know from recent experience that it's not easy to stay at home with a baby all day either.
6. 'Oh, so you really stay home all day, what exactly do you do?'
Motherhood is more than a full time job, it's an around the clock, no holidays, no sick days, and no financial reward kind of job. There's really none other like it. Sometimes you're paid in affection and some days the only thing you get in return is screams and tears. But we get up every morning with our human alarm clocks because we believe that everything we do will eventually help make a better person out of our little humans. Regardless of whether we are working or staying at home. (And no, when I'm home, I do not get time to nap or sleep or put my feet up endlessly.)
7. 'How's MY baby?'
Some moms are okay with this, but I know a lot of new moms are not. Unless it's being said by someone who was in the delivery room or someone who shares a serious chunk of biological material with the baby, he or she is not anyone else's baby.
As a rule of thumb: if it didn't come out of you, or move in with you, it's not your baby!
(Suggested Experiment: The next time I get a request from anyone to 'send me pictures of MY baby', I'm going to be reply with a picture of their own biological child).
8. 'Don't worry, you don't have to stay home, I'll find someone to watch the baby.
There's so much in this sentence that's just ridiculous! I zoned out and never went back to the last conversation where this was said to me. I get that not everyone understands what it's like to have a child, but to assume that any parent will be comfortable leaving their child with someone they have never met is beyond comprehension to me.
9. 'Don't feel bad, but here is some advice...'
Is there a reason I'm being offered unsolicited advice about my parenting skills other than to make me feel bad (or to make yourself feel better)?
10. 'Are you like, one of those moms who are all paranoid about germs and stuff?'
Yes, getting exposed to germs will build my child's immunity and so I don't sterilize every single thing he touches and I won't ever stop my furry son from playing with my human one. But that doesn't mean he can mouth things from the floor or other people can shove their hands in his mouth so that he can use it as a teether (This has actually happened!) being clean and careful with my child's health does not make me germaphobic.
11. 'I had such an exhausting workday.'
Really? Why don't we trade places just for the night?
12. 'How does it feel to be a mom?'
This one may seem innocuous but is actually the most annoying because there's an expectation for your answer; it includes all rainbows and butterflies and nothing real at all. No one is asking to know about post partum depression, mood swings, stitches, your post partum body, how overwhelming it feels to enter your home with a baby, spit up and poop everywhere, sore nipples or how many times you woke up at night.
They want to know about how great your bond is which they expect to be there since the first second you hold your baby (for some people it isn't there from the first second and even for those who do feel it, it definitely get stronger and more meaningful over time.) I've been asked this since my baby was a few minutes old and still had that weirdly adorable cone-shaped alien-like head. 'Indescribable,' I've decided is the only suitable answer for this one. Because I may be able to type endlessly, but I have no words to describe how grateful I feel to be a mom.
I know there are more of these and everyone has their own experiences so feel free to share, moms! I'm more than happy to sympathize along with you.
All photographs in this article are original and contributed by author.