I’ve always been a pretty chill person, and even in my high-strung moments, I’m known as “sweet.” But since having my infant daughter, I’ve come to find that a she-dragon lives within. Or at the very least, a mama-bear, particularly when people say one of these things:
1. Anything about my baby’s size. When she was born at 9 pounds, people suggested I had overeaten during my pregnancy. Now that she’s in the 12th percentile for weight, there is always speculation about her diet. Just like all other humans on the planet, my daughter is her very own size. If we have a problem to address, we will do so privately.
2. “You need a routine.” Ever since I was trying to juggle a newborn, a husband, a household, and some semblance of a shower, I’ve heard this. My baby doesn’t love to nap. Every day is different. All I can do is take the schedule one day at a time and follow through with plans as closely as I can. I’ll take your empathy on this one, but not your criticism.
3. “Just let her cry it out.” Or, even more annoying, “I can’t believe you don’t bring her in your bed.” We’ve got our sleep thing going on here, and it’s going pretty well. If I’m asking for your advice, you’ll know it. But otherwise, I’m either well-rested and not in need, or super-exhausted and just going to get pissed.
4. “Don’t you miss working?” or for my working mamas, “Don’t you wish you were home with your baby?” Whatever choices a family makes about who’s working where and for how many hours is their business. If you want tips on juggling a work-from-home lifestyle with a baby, I’ve got tons. But please, let’s quit criticizing each other over who works and who doesn’t and why.
5. Anything about my husband. No, really, just don’t say anything. Whether it’s about his crazy work schedule or a remark on the fact that he “never” attends your stuff, I just don’t want to hear it. I married a great man and my gripes with him are my own; I don’t need a friend making judgments or assumptions about what goes on in our house.
6. “Your dog is so aggressive!” Nope. Just don’t approach a stranger’s dog with your hands in his face. Ours is a rescue with a big heart and he gets nervous. I’m really defensive of him, especially now that I’ve seen what a great big “brother” he is to my daughter. Ask me if you can pet my dog, and I will tell you not to. That’s how this is gonna go.
7. “Don’t be so overprotective.” I know we need to get over it and find a sitter, but I’m not quite there yet. And yes, my daughter wears massive sunhats, even on cloudier summer days. And so on. I would never criticize your parenting, and I’ll probably calm down a little when she’s older, but here’s the thing: The parenting choices that I make are none of your concern.
8. “Aren’t you worried about…?” It doesn’t matter what comes after that, from rashes to preschool plans. I’ll save us both from a stressful conversation by letting you know that the answer is “yes.” I am so worried that sometimes it is hard to breathe. I’m a new mom! Please don’t add one more thing to the list — if it’s not on there already, let’s leave it off.
9. “When are you going to have another?” I was just pregnant, like 10 minutes ago. I intend to spend the next two summers enjoying soft cheese, sushi, and wine. But aside from that, why is this a topic? What if we were having trouble getting pregnant? Or in financial distress? I have no idea why people always ask this one, but I really hate it.