Wow. The essay on do-nothing baby holding has been shared on facebook 27,000 times in the 27 hours it’s been up on Scary Mommy. There are some scathing comments on various sites but I think the 27k shares outweighs 30 scathing comments.
The way it’s written is meant to be biting and over-the-top but the soul of it is entirely true to me. It’s an internal voice that a lot of us mothers have, whether we outwardly acknowledge it or not. And if you don’t have that voice then goody for you. Some women poop unicorn rainbows; I get that.
As one commenter said in my defense, “You realize that this whole entire website is snarky and sarcastic, ON PURPOSE, it’s a place to blow off steam and then go back to your family with a smile on your face having vented a little. This site is not REALITY, just a small piece of it.”
People are giving me shit for “not being able to celebrate my baby without someone bringing me food” and I have to ask, what the hell are you talking about? Had I not been celebrating that baby since I peed on the stick? Do you think that I, personally, can’t love and appreciate my little human without someone else shining up my refrigerator? What does that have to do with feeling like an overwhelmed first-time mom with a child whose tiny body needed five and a half months to outgrow his severe colic?
These rules are about MY story and my friends and my family. Some performed awesome acts of loving kindness and some– even those with children or who had already raised children of their own– boggled my mind with their inept behavior and pig-headed comments. I wish I could include the more outrageous things but they’ll know that I’m talking about them. And they all knew how bad my baby’s colic was, how desperate I was feeling, and how hard of a time I was having figuring it all out.
When you have a child who is so severely colicky yes, it is a really big deal to squeeze your fat ass into something that fits and sit around and listen to whatever the hell it is this baby-holder feels like talking about. The shit baby-holders talk about boggles my mind, too!
I often didn’t find the time to go pee in an entire day. I didn’t brush my teeth. I didn’t feed myself. There was no way I would have been rushing around making myself and my house “presentable” if this person wasn’t coming over. When it would turn out that they were making themselves into a guest and weren’t there to lend a hand, their company was really not welcome in my mind because of how hard my struggle was at the time.
I was so overwhelmed and lost and often found that even when my own mom would visit that I was resentful that it became “my time to do my chores” while she held my baby because she wasn’t going to cook or clean; those days were long over for her.
I just wanted someone to help me while *I* held my baby. Or do something to help in the rare moments that the baby slept. I think that’s part of being a loving friend or relative– not just showing up.
I’m not talking about people who were “desperate for adult conversation” (question: for women who have significant others coming home at the end of the work day can you really not go 9 hours with talking to an adult’s face?) or single moms or women with deployed husbands or people with twins or triplets.
I’m talking about the vast majority of new mothers. They have singleton babies and they have a husband coming home at the end of the day. There wasn’t one person whose company and help I wanted more than I wanted my husband’s.
And truly, when someone would show up and not ask if they could bring anything, didn’t bring any food, didn’t bring even a tiny thoughtful gift, didn’t ask how they could help I really wondered what the hell they thought they were doing there. In all honesty, no, I don’t care whether or not someone shows any interest in my baby. Is that supposed to make me a bitch? Maybe I have too many girlfriends to care if I lose a few by saying that. I cannot appreciate someone who shows up to do nothing other than allow me to bask in their presence. We need our tribes surrounding us to help us through the stressful times. What kind of tribe member sits around and does nothing? Your tribe needs to be making dinner and taking out the trash.
But hey, not everyone has the difficult baby I had the first time. My second baby was an angel that fell from the sky and slept for 2 months only waking to nurse. This was my story. It doesn’t have to be yours. It doesn’t make me an ungrateful bitch who should be waiting on others in celebration of this kid who was driving me to the brink of insanity.