I know. It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. I don’t really care. I have been listening to Christmas music (and threatening to make a playlist of nothing but “Feliz Navidad” covers) all week. Since Iris has a panic attack whenever we leave her, Carl and I have been lacking in the quality time department, so we decided to have a tree decorating, holiday cookie baking night on our own after Iris was in bed last night.
We also had a long, much needed talk about life after baby. Totally worth doing, we said. We can’t believe how much we love her, we said. And yet… “It’s not as much fun as I thought it would be,” Carl admitted.
And fun, we agreed, is important. However noble and nurturing you believe life is supposed to be, it should also be fun.
….One thing that is NOT fun, however, is sitting with a bunch of young moms and attempting to be real about the craziness of life. The mom on my left just shook her head. “I wouldn’t know what to do with a BAD baby,” she said, snuggling her sugarplum princess. “It makes me scared to have another one.”
“It’s ok,” the mom on my right consoled her. “We thought the same thing—our first one was so easy. But our second is just the same. You’ll get another good one.”
Apparently fake is the new black.
Also, fyi jerkmoms, MY BABY IS NOT BAD. I am so sick of people labeling babies good and bad based on their convenience factor. My baby is super inconvenient, it’s true. She cries if I leave the room; she thinks babysitters are psychotic soulless wraiths sent from hell to torment her; I could count on one hand the church services where I’ve actually been sitting; she has never slept longer than 6 hours in a row (and that about twice); she hates sleeping in general, and she hates car rides with the passion I usually reserve for sexist pastors. Her behaviors are super inconvenient, and if she still has separation anxiety when she’s twenty, we’ll talk. But at 8 months, I think it’s a little early for labeling her immoral.
I wondered later if maybe their weird response was because I had somehow come across as one of those awful people whose story is ALWAYS worse than anything that ever happened to you. But I genuinely don’t feel that way, so I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. It’s so epically obvious that there are more challenging situations—my baby is healthy and I’m not a single parent for starters—that I have trouble believing that’s what was going on.
I think people just have a superstitious need to believe that if you’re stressed out or unhappy or your life feels like it’s falling apart, YOU must be doing something wrong. It’s certainly more appealing than the belief that normal implies a certain amount of struggle, that life is generally insane, and events are often outside of your control.
I’m pretty sure Iris didn’t come into the world to fulfill my roseate fantasies of parenthood or make me look like an awesome mom. My guess is she came to be her busy, curious, opinionated, clever, assertive, funny, driven, grape-obsessed, spit wad blowing self. And (on my good days, anyway) I’m ok with that.
This morning when we came down for breakfast we showed her the Christmas tree, all lit up and full of wonderfully grab-able ornaments. And you know what?
It was fun.