Sunday, April 26, 2015

Friends, I do not want to talk about my baby with you...that much

Recently I had a conversation with Hubby that, in summary, was that it's important for me to not be one of those moms that becomes obsessed with their children to the point of ruining friendships with non-parent friends. We are at that age where "everyone" is getting married and/or having kids. Everyone except half of our friends who are not married and/or not planning on having kids for awhile. It seems that the stereotype of the new mom is to discuss everything in the most minutia of detail about their child to anyone who will listen. I had a friend a few years back that said to me when I adopted Puppy, "I hate people who get a new dog or have a baby and cannot talk about anything other than them, right down to the number and consistency of every poopy diaper that they take."

Right now. Once and for all. Unless Little Guy shits gold or a toy action figure, you will not hear about what his poops look like. And if he does, it will be delivered in a witty package topped off with a sarcastic bow.

But the truth is that I do actually want to talk about him with my friends once in awhile. Unlike what I said in an earlier entry about every random person asking me about new motherhood, I do want to talk to my friends about that. Mainly because they are my friends and we have talked about everything else in life up to this point. Why is it ok to talk about break-ups, new relationships, stresses at work and with family, and the joys of other life milestones. But having a kid and talking about that is boring and annoying? And why is this something that only women need to watch out for? No one warns men about this (regardless of how much or how little they choose to talk about fatherhood).

Just like any other aspect of my life, sometimes I need to be giddy or vent about something for a portion of our hangout. Then I'll be ready to move on to the next thing. And it is important for me to move on to the next thing. I spend 23-24 hours a day with this kid (aside from when I get my breaks thanks to Hubby). As much as he is the main event of my life right now, he is not the only event, and sometimes it is nice to talk about other things. Just recognize that if I'm willing to listen to you tell me the same revolving story about the 324th guy you've dated, or how your mom did the same shitty thing to you for the 972nd time, this needs to be ok too.

So when did it become a huge pain to deal with newly minted moms? I know that there are those moms that surrender their identity to their children, but not every mom is like that. Some moms struggle with inner guilt as well as unacceptable pressure from those around them to be like that. That pressure starts early too. Even before we announce our pregnancy, the message that society sends us, that we are merely hosts for a new life to come into this world, starts the moment we become pregnant.

When I was looking for maternity clothes I was incredibly angry at the lack of actual fashion that exists in the world for pregnant women. Most stores with maternity lines do not reflect the fabrics, colors, and prints that are available in "regular" clothing. (I put regular in quotes because otherwise it implies that pregnancy is not a normal stage of a woman's life.) And the clothes that do exist are usually not carried in stores, only online. Jersey knit basics were all I could get unless I wanted to spend a lot, or obsessively checked the 2-3 affordable (when not marked up purely for putting the word maternity in the description) websites with offerings that found.

Then when we tell the word about the new life growing inside us, it gets worse. When talking to my mom about her experiences as a first time preggo and mommy she said that for a period of time she begrudgingly lost her identity as anything other than "Lulu's mom." I understood that more than I care to admit. All I heard was "how's pregnancy? how's the baby?" I had many things going on in my life during my pregnancy that did not revolve around the baby and few people cared enough to ask about any of it. I also often heard comments about what I ate, how my body looked, and my birthing choices as if I became a factory process to be scrutinized. No one commented about my decision to love and eat cheese puffs until I became pregnant, dealt with morning sickness where sometimes a cheesy chippy snack was the only thing I could tolerate without making me sick. These comments and lack of care about the rest of my life only made me think, that despite the fact that it is 2015, society still considers a woman's only job to make and care for babies.

Yes, I did grow a baby (but I didn't make him, that takes 2 people).
Yes, I do take care of him (but so does my husband and a whole host of other people).
Yes, I am on a kind of maternity leave (but I do have a career that's extremely important to me and I actively work on it every day because I LOVE it, not because I am afraid to fall behind).
Yes, my body did change (but whose doesn't? and it is pretty much back to normal).
Yes, I made lifestyle choices (but I am ok with them and you should be too).
Yes, I am a mommy (but I'm also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, clinician, soccer player, foodie, wino, audiophile, and most importantly, human being).
Yes. I shouldn't have to add "but" to every single one of these sentences to justify my experiences.

So, friends, if I want to talk about my kid a lot, a little, or not at all, you need to let me do that. I may be a mommy, but I'm a human being too. Deal with it.

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