As a mother of two beautiful girls (insert additional gloating comments here), I try to limit my annoying parenting comments to my non-parenting friends.
But even as a parent, I can attest that the below comments are by far the most annoying things parents can say to non-parents, or soon-to-parents for that matter. Please note they are not listed in order of annoyance.
- “Just Wait”
Quite possibly one of the most annoying phrases. Ever. I got this a lot when I was pregnant, and now from parents with children older than mine. “You think this is bad? Just wait until she gets older.” a) Why are people always projecting so much negativity? Yes, parenting is exhausting and we get pooped on, peed on, etc. But it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. b) While I may have limited experience as a parent, I’m well aware that more changes are headed my way. The “Just wait, they get older” comment is by far my favorite comment. Thank you, stranger. I might not otherwise know to expect my children to age or change.
- “You can’t possibly understand.”
Insulting and condescending. Suggesting another person cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be sleep deprived, or totally in love, or even frustrated beyond belief is utterly and completely condescending.
- “When are you having kids?”
For me the annoying, recurring question is “When are you getting married?” But having married friend without children, I often hear them get the “When are you having kids?” question. Second to that in annoyance is “When are you having more kids?” Particularly annoying if you literally just popped out a kid. Case in point, I was in the hospital room holding my newborn daughter when a family member asked if I was planning on having anymore.
“I wasn’t a good mom tonight. I need a break.”
I sent that text to my partner tonight, and I felt horrible as the thought entered my mind, as I typed it and even worse – as I sent it.
- Not loving the baby as much as my toddler
- Losing my bond with my toddler
The first was never an issue. The moment I heard my daughter cry I fell in love, and my heart is overwhelming with love for both of my girls. The second fear, however, is my current reality.
A week before I gave birth to my baby an acquaintance told me, “Your relationship with your first child will change.”
Well no shit. Next you’ll tell me that C-sections suck and the Pope is Catholic.
But that was always really my biggest fear – not having the energy to maintain my special relationship with the Child. My partner and I have been so careful to say things like “Just a minute.” versus, “I can’t help you right now because I’m doing x, y, z with the baby.”
I’ve been the mother of two for four weeks and four days, and I need a break. Admitting this makes me feel like a failure. When I say I need a break, I don’t mean anything long – three hours to myself to sleep, recharge and spend a few quiet moments alone would do the trick. If I’m being 100% honest, an entire day – sun up to sun down – would be even better.
I’ve been blessed with the company of family and close friends since the birth of my daughter, with a few days throughout to myself to learn my new routine and enjoy my family. But today, I’m run down. I’m exhausted, and overwhelmed with guilt.
After a peaceful day at home, laughing, playing and reading quietly, the evening ended with the toddler defying me (once again). I expected her to act out when the baby came home, but I expected it to happen right away. Instead, it took two weeks, and she only acts out against me – mom – not dad.
Sleep deprived and frustrated, I sent her to bed with no dinner, I made her put her jammies on herself, and I didn’t even say goodnight or tell her I loved her. Oh, and she cried herself to sleep. (I’ll collect my Mother of the Year Award later.)
I’ve reached my new low in parenting.
I know this will get easier, and I know this phase will pass between the Child and me – but knowing all of this doesn’t make right now any easier.
As I’ve said before, I’m blessed with great friends and family. One friend in particular, who we’ll call “Kay”, is one of my “real” moms. She gives it to you straight, and you never feel guilty for admitting your parenting secrets (and failures) to her.
Recently she told me -
Part of being a good mom is worrying about how to be a better one.”
Why do we (I) put so much pressure on ourselves? I feel so guilty for putting my infant in her swing so I can have two minutes to myself. “I should be holding her,” I tell myself.
This is where “Kay” steps in.
The more I speak with REAL moms – the ones who tell the truth, haven’t showered and have given their children an Oreo once or twice – the more I realize that the first weeks/months are about shear survival. Then you start to get ‘the hang of it’. It’s hard when you take being a mommy seriously.”
I know it gets better, and I know the village that’s helping me raise my children is amazing and that I’m not alone (Let me be very clear that my partner has been and is an amazing support). But just for tonight, I’m going to be “real” and tell you I need a break, and I’m terrified that I’ve ruined my relationship with my toddler because of the terrible way her night ended.
Seven months ago I wrote about entering the phase of the Terrible Two’s with the Child, desperate for advice and a way to cope.
I know every parent says this, but the Child really is great. I find that she typically melts down when she’s tired, over stimulated or hungry. The hardest part in dealing with the so-called “terrible two’s” – which are age-appropriate reactions! – is reminding myself that I am the adult in the relationship.
Around the time I wrote the post about my challenges disciplining the toddler, I experienced one of the lowest points in my parenting experience thus far. The Child was melting down in her room. She wouldn’t put on her shoe or something insignificant like that. Frustrated, I told her I was leaving without her, walked out of her room and shut the door.
I will never forget the way her cry shifted from frustrated to so unbelievably sad, and even worse, the look Manfriend gave me when he went in to console her.
“You can’t say stuff like that to her. She feels abandoned by you.”
I felt tiny.
At that moment I knew I needed help. I wasn’t myself, and most importantly was not being the mom I wanted to be. A friend of mine recommended a book that I swear by and I now recommend to everyone I meet – parents and non-parents alike.
Raising Happiness did wonders for me. I communicate with my toddler in a way I never thought possible, which in turn has helped us both work through the times we both need a time out.
I took pages of notes that I often reference and firmly believe the key takeaways would benefit anyone and everyone.
- You need to be able to find happiness within yourself before you can expect to teach someone else to do it.
- Start a daily gratitude journal. The simple act of writing it down will bring you so much joy.
- Leave the guilt at home and ignore your judgmental friends. Doing something without your kids to nourish your soul is important.
- Forgiveness is a skill you need to teach and practice.
- Eat dinner as a family.
Read the book and check out the author’s blog while you’re at it.
Has a book recently touched you?