My husband’s “dad friends” give more honest advice than my “mom friends”.
Let’s just get it out there, parenthood caught my husband and I by surprise even though we planned everything, took classes, and read books. Like all new parents, we thought we were prepared. But as we soon came to realize, you can never really prepare for that crazy whirlwind adventure that is parenthood. In the haze of those newborn days of sleepless nights, worrying, and endless bottles, needless to say, we were going crazy. We were on the search for anything that would help us get sleep.
“We thought we had to be doing something wrong.”
Other moms offered advice. We tried this, we tried that, nothing really worked. We thought we had to be doing something wrong.We were researching and googling and coming up with theories. As the months rolled by and we still were not sleeping, we just thought we’d wait it out and let nature take its course. We spoke to other parents and it seemed that my husband and I were getting conflicting advice from other moms and dads.
“They told my husband to hold on, that the first year would be rough.”
My husband’s friends that were dads seemed to be brutally honest more so then the moms I knew. They told my husband to hold on, that the first year would be rough. They warned him that it would not be a smooth road that progressively improved but rather it would be up and down and always changing. They warned him about sleep regressions and leaps, which if you don’t know, are absolute hell. Babies go through stages were they are learning and growing and it disrupts their sleep patterns.
“One even mentioned, after hours of trying to comfort his son, he felt like he would throw him out the window.”
They even were open and honest about how they didn’t enjoy every moment of it when their own children were babies. One even mentioned, after hours of trying to comfort his son, he felt like he would throw him out the window. Now, he didn’t actually do it and he never would’ve but hearing that someone else got that frustrated made us feel less guilty that we were just going through the typical things other parents had gone through.
My husband’s friends made us feel better. Even though they basically told us we had to push through and just roll with it, and didn’t offer a secret weapon to get through all of this, their honesty was comforting. We stopped driving ourselves crazy with theories and products and just pushed through.
“Perhaps moms feel guilty to admit that they sometimes get frustrated.”
Before this epiphany, moms were giving me hope that somewhere around 6 months my life would get back to normal. I’m not sure if they were just trying to comfort me or maybe for some they were that lucky, but moms simplified and sugar-coated their advice. No one mentioned sleep regressions or that I wouldn’t enjoy every single moment of motherhood. Perhaps moms feel guilty to admit that they sometimes get frustrated. Perhaps it’s more acceptable when a father has trouble adjusting or feels overwhelmed. Society tends to think motherhood comes more naturally and that we moms just get the hang of things.
They’re are images of mothers, though tired, smiling and bouncing a happy baby all over television and in ads. Maybe some moms feel the pressure to keep up appearances. Sure, there are a ton of us complaining online but it’s usually to strangers or anonymously. We post pictures online with well thought out captions showcasing a perfect life. And it’s those very images that made me feel as though I was a bad mother. Why couldn’t I get my baby to sleep? Why wasn’t I happy to wake up for the sixth time at 2am?
When my husband’s friends had honest conversations with him about parenthood he felt like everything made sense. It wasn’t perfect, not for anyone. It was okay that we felt out of our element and that sometimes we weren’t perfect. Most importantly, though we love our daughter more than anything, sometimes we didn’t want anything more than a little peace and quiet. We stopped feeling guilty that things were chaotic and we stopped trying to make things perfect, because now we knew that was just impossible.