My little bro and his significant other are going to be parents very soon – for the very first time. ( Congratulations!) In honor of their impending sleepless nights and exhaustion fuelled days, I composed a list. It began as a Hate List of all the complaints i have about being a mother but then it grew to become something else…
The ABC’s of Motherhood. A Hate List. Or is it?
A is for All the free, unsolicited Advice people feel moved upon to give you. All the time. Everywhere you go, whether you want it or not. Lie baby on her back, no lie baby on her side. (Just whatever you do dont lie baby upside down on her head.) Cloth nappies. Disposable. Disposable diapers are for destroying the environment. Cloth nappies are only for filthy rich people who have housekeepers and fulltime nappy washers. Burp baby, dont burp baby. Scheduled feeds make happier babies. No, scheduled feeding is only for palagi babies who are ‘independent and autonomous’ creatures who are raised ready to move out as soon as they can feed themselves. Everyone has advice for you. Its so damn tiring listening to them all.My advice to you? Just smile, nod your head and then blinkin well do whatever you please. Or be like me and read EVERY single baby/mother book in the university library while you’re pregnant and supposed to be studying for your degree.
B is for Breasts. Big. Bad. Bloody, painful breasts. Breasts that leak at inopportune times like a a piece of plumbing that only malfunctions when you have guests over. Breasts that no longer belong to you. Breasts you will no longer care about exposing to the world. Because heck, all you will want is for that baby to stop screaming. Breasts that get slobbered and gnawed on. You probably never knew you were capable of wanting to tear your child limb from limb – until they have their jaws clamped down Rottweiler style on your nipple. And they wont let go. Yes your world will now be full of breast. Because even if you bottle feed, those insufferable do-gooders who champion ‘BREAST IS BEST’ will look at you with horror if you dare stick a bottle of formula in your baby’s mouth. As if you were feeding baby chemical waste. And you will cringe with the shame of it as you hang your head and confess, ‘yes I am a complete loser/selfish criminal. I cant/wont breastfeed. Please just shoot me now.’
C is for constipation. DONT ASK. Just remember three words – papaya, prunes and prayer.And C is for contractions. That you would sell your soul to be rid of. That grip you and rip you. That just keep getting worse. Until you beg to be put out of your misery and decide that the only other children that will join your family in the future – will be orphans from some African nation. (that is if there are any left after Madonna and Brangelina are done.)
D is for the debt you will incur to feed, clothe and educate that delightful little baby. Debts that will magnify astronomically as time goes on. (Do you know how much a 15 yr old eats at Mcdonalds!?) And Doubts. That will plague you with a constant vengeance. Is baby breathing? Im not sure – poke him to see if he makes a noise – oh damn, Ive woken him up. How many poo nappies are too many? Or not enough? she cries too much, what does that mean? She doesnt cry at all, whats wrong with her? Ohmigosh what am I doing wrong – that other womans kid is reading the encyclopedia already and mine cant even spell his name. Why did i ever think i could be a mother?
E is for epidurals that are a precious gift from above. EVERYONE should have one. Energy that you will never have enough of now that you have a child. Exclamation marks that punctuate every sentence when you talk about your baby and what they can do…and you’ll never believe it, he was waving his little hands in the air and then just like that he put his thumb in his mouth and started sucking on it! You should have seen it! It was amazing!…and I have to tell you what she did today, she smiled! Ate a banana! Put on my high heels! Poked out her tongue at the pastor! Parents, we can be very tiresome to be around when we’re raving about our kids…
F is for the failure you will think you are. Every time your child doesnt run as fast, sing as good, dress as neatly, or sit as quietly as everyone elses. For Faith that will keep you going even when you dont want to – just one step at a time. Just hang in there and it will get better.Just hang in there and before you know it this kid will be all grown up and move out… Oh and of course F is for Fat. ( who can Forget THAT!) Fat that you never thought would move in with you, that most times , decides to stay Forever, an unwanted extra tire/chin/arm flap.
G is for Great big hugs that they will Give you when you least expect it. Catching you off Guard at your Grumpiest moments. ‘Mama i love you more than all the marshmallows in the world!’ And Grandparents who will suddenly become either soppy/fountains of knowledge/or bossy and irritating supervisors of your every (ignorant) move. And Great babysitters when they feel like it.
H stands for the Hell you will think you are living in sometimes. When that kid wont stop crying and the house is a pigsty and you havent showered in ages and your clothes dont fit and all your friends are going to lots of happy places that involve parties/cafes/endless lunches/holidays/business conferences that involve flying to exciting destinations like Paris and Rome. Leaving you behind. In hell. But it also stands for the Heaven you will ONCE IN A RARE WHILE think you have stumbled upon.When that baby snuggles into the crook of your arm and you can feel their hot little breath against your cheek. And when that three yr old puts on a ballerina tutu you bought from Mr Lavalava for five bucks and spins around on chunky legs with a goofy smile at her own cleverness. Or when that new teenager comes and tells you about a girl he likes and asks your opinion about what he should give her for her birthday “because you always have good ideas mum.” Or when youre trying to sing a child to sleep with ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and she interrupts you bossily, ‘No mama, sing There’s a party in the bedroom, all night long!’ Yep. Heaven, blink and you might miss it.
And this list needs to Be Continued because otherwise it will be the longest post in the world. And NOBODY wants to have that world record.