Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Overcomplicate Motherhood

My daughter had her first snotty nose last week. (How did we go nine months without having to deal with baby snot? I think we worked with lepers in a past life.) So I asked the leader of my mother/baby group for any tips she had for successfully suctioning the baby's nose.

What I wanted was some sort of ninja hold whereby I could still the baby's flailing arms, legs, and head with one hand and get the bulb up her nose with the other. What the woman suggested was buying a $15 device that sounded even more difficult to use than the two-dollar one I already owned. Which leads me to today's topic: Don't make motherhood more complicated than it already is.

One of the biggest baby trends today, something I had never heard of until I had a kid, is making your own baby food. Not, like, cutting up the banana so she doesn't choke on it, but buying sweet potatoes and brown rice, cooking the hell out of them, then pureeing them. And later pureeing chicken and potatoes and whatever else our mothers fed us out of tiny jars. Every mother in my baby group does this. I had an attack of mom guilt and told my mother this, and her response was, "Wouldn't you rather spend that time with the baby?"

Yes! Yes I would! Whew. Thanks, Mom. In that same conversation I was freaking out over all of the conflicting information about every single thing I had questions about, and she said, "Well, just pick the answer you like the best and use that one."

Now, my mother doesn't have any degrees in child development, but she raised or helped to raise seven younger siblings, four children, and seven grandchildren, none of whom have knocked over any convenience stores as of this writing, so I'm inclined to follow her advice. And I have found that her advice always boils down to "Do the easiest thing that will make you and the baby happy."

So I don't play my girl much classical music, but I put on the WFNX Leftover Lunch every day and sing Cure and Clash songs to her to develop her musical side. And I never even bothered to read up on "cry it out" sleep methods, because I already know that I birthed a mini-version of my stubborn self, who will scream until she pukes rather than give up and go to sleep. (This is not hyperbole. We had a stubborn-off early in her life, and I ended up covered in throw up.) Not that I have any problem with parents who do employ those methods, but when I hear mothers say, "I know I'm not supposed to rock her to sleep..." or "Everyone tells me to just let her cry..." I get sad, because getting through the day with a tiny human who not only can't tell you what she wants but frequently doesn't even know what she wants is tough enough without the added weight of unwelcome expectations.

You know, I should also clarify that if you like making your own baby food, I am totally cool with that. I don't ever want to be one of those people who looks at a mother who's trying her hardest and goes You're doing it WRONG! But if you're standing in your kitchen miserable and covered in mashed peas because you think it's what you should be doing? I promise you, the organic shit in the little jars actually tastes pretty good, and my kid's head hasn't started spinning around like The Exorcist in the two months I've been giving it to her.

By the way, my mother's response to the nose bulb question? "I hated those things. Just take her in the bathroom, turn on the shower, and wait for her nose to drain enough so that you can feed her." Thanks, Mom.

No comments:

Post a Comment