You see, the thing is that I didn't really know many other mommies when I was a new mother. Everything was hard and my mom was 1000 miles away and even when I talked to her, there was an awful lot that she just couldn't help me with. Case in point. Pudding used to scream her little lungs out on any car ride that lasted more than 10 minutes. We tried music, we tried having me sit next to her, we tried no music, we tried NPR thinking that it would put anyone to sleep. Nothing worked.
I asked my mom what she had done and she told me that when I was little (1981) that she hadn't used a car seat, she'd just put me on the passenger seat next to her and kept a hand on me to make sure I didn't roll off. If I got fussy, she'd just pull over to the side of the rural road and nurse me back into quiet. She was living in rural Wisconsin in a sparsely populated county where the nearest grocery store was two towns over and you could drive for miles and miles without seeing another car. Her experience was not particularly helpful to a mommy living in the DC metro area.
I read books of course, but all of them seemed to disagree or just not to work in real life. One told me that if I went through our nightime routine and then simply placed my daughter in her crib that she would fuss for a while but eventually cry herself out in under 30 minutes. It only shows how desperate we were to get some sleep that we actually tried this. 45 Minutes of hysterics later, Pudding came into bed with us, tears, hiccups and all. The experts underestimated the Pudding's endurance.
The only thing that ever really seemed to help was talking things over with another mother who was going through it. Even if her experience was different from mine, talking things over with her helped to keep me from getting lost in the maze of infancy.
The only problem with this was we were basically the blind leading the blind. Neither of us really knew what we were doing so it was more comparing notes than passing on knowledge. As a result, most of what I know about mothering and babies, I had to learn the hard way, and quick. Here's a short list of the things I figured out so far.
- nursing is not the answer for everything
- potty training is not as scary as you think
- you can't go back to the person you were, motherhood is life altering
- boxed drinks are not to be trusted in the hands of toddlers
- Adjusting expectations changes everything
- modern ideas are all well and good but chances are the way your great-grandmother did it was better
- babies can't tell time, when your baby is still new, you should forget how
- take time to enjoy your baby because you will blink and they'll be toddlers
- babywearing is way more fun than a stroller
- The second one is easier because you are already a mother, the transition is less stressful
- trust your body, trust your baby, trust the process that nature set up
So if I accost you in the grocery store about the joys of babywearing or offer to help you with your latch at a cafe, I apologize. I know this advice is not really wanted. But please know that it comes from a place of love for mommies everywhere and an understanding of how hard the job unfamiliar the territory can seem.