Mom Lesson: I Said I Wouldn’t, But I Did

Mother looking at her sleeping baby head to head in a hospital bed

Baby watching TV

As a first time mom, over the course of my entire 40 weeks, I read literally everything I could get my hands on over the subject of parenting. What was in? What was out? What was best? What made for the smartest kid, the most athletic kid, the kid most likely to become Mother Theresa? I was going to do it all.

I was going to breastfeed, cloth diaper, make my own baby food, prevent her from ever seeing a television screen, never let her know the existence of sugar until it was out of my hands (so, until my mother had her away from me for the night), and teach her that McDonald’s was an evil place that made kids turn into clowns, permanently, with big red afros. She was going to be sleep trained by four-weeks-old, and would never leave the house without shoes and a bow.

But, reality slapped me in the face real quick after giving birth, starting with the fact that my breasts didn’t want to produce milk. I should have known something was up when they never changed size from Day 1 of my pregnancy to two-weeks post-partum, but I still tried in vain with a hospital-grade electric pump; the most I ever got was two ounces. Formula it is, then.

And cloth diapering lasted all of two days when I realized I had to wash the things each and every time. Ohhh, THAT’S what cloth diapering is? Yeah, I’ve got enough laundry due to all the spit-up and diaper explosions, I don’t have time to worry about the diapers themselves. Hello, disposables!

The food processor that was going to make all that wholesome, healthy and organic baby food? Still sitting in the cabinet, untouched. Did you know they have baby food that you can purchase IN JARS, right there in the grocery store, the same place you can buy the oh-so-important coffee? Yep, it’s true.

It goes on like this, since I do plunk her down in front of her favorite show, Bubble Guppies, in order to get a load of laundry done, or unload the dishwasher, and my mom has already introduced her to ice cream and yogurt, and her great-grandmother introduced her to whipped cream at eight-weeks-old.

I never had a chance. Insert guilt, shame and self-loathing here.

There are some parents who can do all of this. They are those superhumans who can also knit clothes for their baby and pump gallons of milk from their own body. I envy them (and despise them!).

The fact is, I was in pre-baby all-knowing mode. When you only have yourself to take care of, it’s easy to make plans for all these things you’re going to do once this amazing creature growing in you makes its appearance, except, for some of us, the reality hits hards and brings us back down to earth.

I mean, before I got pregnant, I also made plans every single night when I crawled into bed that I was going to get up early before work and head to the gym and, trust me, at the moment I am not a size 6. I’ve been making promises to myself I can’t keep for 25 years now, what made me think that was going to be an easy habit to break?

She’s still a healthy, happy, disposable-diaper wearing, television-watching, jarred-baby food eating 10-month-old, and that’s really all I care about now.