Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Debunking Parental Myths or Why people are full of poop

When you are pregnant people who are currently parents become very HELPFUL with their information sharing. They do have the nasty habit of restricting the information they share to the 'scary as all crap' category. You know the type: "I was in labor for 7 days straight and they had to finally pull my child out of my right nostril" or the "Oh just wait 'til he/she/it is born, THEN the nightmare REALLY starts" or the ever popular "My child just graduated high school and it STILL hurts when I poop".
And these stories of horror are not limited to women. My babydaddy got them too, only he got the ones designed to strike terror in the hearts of the y-chromo owners. For example, "You will never play a video game again in your life" or the nightmarish "that sports car you own? Say goodbye now, 'cause you'll have to swing by the car dealership on the way home from the hospital to trade it in for a 1987 AstroVan".
Initially, I thought people were genuinely trying to be helpful - sharing their learnings, so to speak. But as time went on, I noticed that NONE of the stories were positive, pleasant or even remotely helpful. They were all just scary. And they were all relayed with a certain cruel smugness. One of my best friends, a mother of 2 even got in on the act. And, because I was hormonal and because we are those kinda friends, I started shrieking at her, 'ARE YOU TRYING TO FREAK ME THE F OUT?!?!'. This actually startled both of us. Me, because I was unaware I could hit such high notes and her because she honestly hadn't really realized what she was doing.
After I stopped frothing at the mouth and she took that time to consider the valid, albeit high pitched question, we discussed. At length. Eventually we came to the conclusion that humans are spiteful crappy little creatures and the joy of "I know something you don't know" goes back to elementary school days. Parents 'in the know' just loooooooooove to wave their knowingness over the heads of the newly knocked up Bambis wandering in the woods of What The Hell is Happening to My Body and My Life.
But the largest part of it is simply carrying on a tradition. It's just want you DO. People did it to me before I joined the club of parenthood, so now I'm doing it to others. You are a pledge asking for membership in the Frat o' Parent, and you gotta EARN it - *I* sure had to, is the mindset. In short, it's Hazing.
Well, the tradition dies here. Even though I've earned the right to scare the bejeebers out of anyone with a fetus, I'm going to pass. I REALLY did not enjoy being on the receiving end of this hazing process, so now that I've crossed over, I am going to officially turn in my pledge paddle and tell the truth about what happens on the Other Side. Or at least whats happening to me. YMMV. I may get drummed out of mommy's club, but what the hell. I have the stretch marks to prove membership so Nyah. So on the the debunking!

TALE OF TERROR #1 - "You will never sleep again!" - This is sooooo totally untrue! I sleep all the TIME! I sleep in my bed at night, I sleep sitting on the sofa with the TV on, I sleep sitting bolt upright in a nursing chair with a child on my boob, I even sleep in the front row of a meeting while the president of my company presents not 3 feet from me! I am a sleeping MACHINE! Now if what they meant was, you'll not get a good nights sleep for anywhere from 3 - 30 months, then that is, in fact in my experience, extremely accurate.

TALE OF TERROR #2 - "Putting your child in daycare will the the single most emotionally traumatizing experience of your life" - OK this one I'm just calling Bullsh*t on. I'm sure that, societally speaking, it's SUPPOSED to be, but seriously, F that. I love my child. I even love her with that creepy not-quite-sane, throw-yourself-in-front-of-a-truck-to-save-her, hormonal, atavistic brain-stem-level kinda love. But after having cared for this child 24/7 for 3 months straight, handing her over to licensed, regulated, highly competent, professional childcare experts for a few hours was a tiny little slice of heaven. You know that classic labor joke? "nothing's fun for 15 hours straight!". If that's true, sure as hell nothing is fun for 2.160 hours straight. I don't think breathing a sigh of relief when someone comes in to help you out makes you a cold hearted Mommy Dearest. It just makes you human. Now granted, I was really happy to see her again at the end of those few hours, but I will not need years of therapy to get over having handed her over to caring and competent carefully screened professionals in the first place. Pfft on that.

TALE OF TERROR #3 - "You won't go out in public until your child is in kindergarten, if then - and forget about eating out again EVER" - This is doo. We've eaten out at least once a week ever since the Infant was cleared for public exposure (2 month shots). Now before I go any further, let me just cut the flaming off at the pass, I *know* that this is highly Infant disposition dependent. At least I know that *now* - back when I was sitting at the feet of the parental sages, as far as I knew, we would NEVER EAT OUT AGAIN. The BS here is that no one tells you that, actually, some babies don't give a flying monkey where you take them, and they are perfectly content to snooze away in a car seat in a back seat as they are in a car seat in ringside and the Loud and Boisterous Circus of Light and Sound. But since we're told it's IMPOSSIBLE everyone is afraid to even try.
We, being parental daredevils with a high tolerance for risk, tried. And since we happen to have a child who's not a recreational screamer (she's more of a needs based screamer. If she needs something, she screams, otherwise she's cool.),we go out to eat. Sometimes she's awake, mostly she's asleep, and once we had to get our food to go, but we knew we were rolling the dice by going out near bedtime for her. I'm here to tell you it's possible people. Her willingness varies wildly from day to day, hour to hour, and I expect, age by age, but you gotta give it a shot. There's no reason to write off sitting down at a table not covered in unpaid bills, and allowing others to bring you food they cooked for you.
The sleep though? That you can just kiss goodbye.

No comments: