2015 had officially come to a close and if you’re like me who became a new mother in the year that was, then perhaps you can safely say that it had been the most eventful, swiftest, most challenging yet meaningful year you’ve ever had. I know I can.
Enter year 2 of motherhood: 2016. By now, you must have gotten the hang of it. Although you still often complain about not having enough sleep or daydream about being completely undisturbed while getting a massage at the beach, you have now boldly embraced the entirety of being responsible for another else’s life. By now, you have also gotten used to hearing contradicting parenting tips and by now you’ve not only learned to filter them, you’ve also learned to develop your own.
Personally, I’ve had my fair share of “Did she just seriously say that?” and “Finally, someone gets me” moments. Along with the confidence you’ve mustered in the last 365 days is the art of knowing when to bite your lips or speak your mind when it comes to matters of your little one.
And so with another year starting anew, here are 5 things I wish I will never have to hear as a mother in the next twelve months. I’m not speaking on behalf of all mothers, but I’m sure I’m not only speaking for myself on this.
- Boy or girl? In one FRIENDS episode, Rachel had to put a ribbon on her daughter’s head while expressing how furious she could get if one more person asked if Emma’s a boy or a girl. I’ve seen this episode a number of times before even becoming a mom myself. That was when I discovered that it might be indeed offensive to ask a parent such “harmless” question. Now that I’m a mother, I realized that it’s not actually offensive, it’s more of… mind-boggling. You dress your child in lacy pink or put together a boyish jumper and some people still don’t get the obvious clue. I am not associating colors and clothing style with sexuality, it’s just something every parent would do: put clothes on a baby based on what have been accordingly labelled and purchased.
- Are you sure it was necessary? Of all the terrible comments I’ve heard about giving birth via Cesarean section, this one’s got to be the worst. And believe me, I’ve heard a lot, including the ever disturbing “You were not able to take the pain, did you?” I feel that questioning anyone’s method of giving birth is just downright rude. I would never forget that one time when someone told me that CS might not have been necessary, giving me a look as if I was just being dumb and that the doctor had fooled me just to get more money. I’ve grown tired of explaining to people why I had to do it, but I still feel that they need to know that it was either that or we might have lost the baby. And I shouldn’t have to. It didn’t matter how much we were billed or how much pain I had to endure after the operation, all that mattered was that we were thankful we had that option.
- Can he walk now? To be fair, some people use this as a conversation starter. That’s totally alright, just as long as you don’t follow it up with “Mine started walking independently when he was just 3 months old!” Wait, what? I think it’s adorable how some parents proudly talk about their child’s milestones, but comparing and pitting them against one another is another story. You don’t need to read through all parenting books and mommy blogs to realize that mental, emotional, and physical development vary from one child to another. I’m no expert but I understand that a crawling seven-month old is no way better than a four-month old baby who can utter syllables. And vice versa. Likewise, you can look at a child’s progress from different angles. Some babies are easy to feed which may make them behaved and obedient, while others need a lot of entertainment and appeasing before they take a bite. This may be because they are inquisitive or they already know and want to express what they want or not.
- Of course you still can! E.g. You can finish these drinks and go home late like you always do before. This usually comes from friends who do not have children. Optimism is always welcomed, but so is reality check. So instead of telling a parent to casually ditch plans at home to go on a road trip, inquire first when might be a good time to hang out. As well, always be sensitive with their preference. Timing and environment are factors considered by parents on whether or not they would bring their child. But aside from that, never pressure them to bring the little one! Even if you volunteer on looking after the child, the burden of responsibility will get in the way of an otherwise relaxing time for the mom or dad.
- Have another kid now! It’d be fun! I’ve no wordy thoughts on this. Just seriously, stop saying that.
Enjoy 2016, Mommies! ♥