Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My misconceptions about motherhood

Aw.. I've been so busy I barely have time to even blog! But I was delusional and thought that now that Grant is getting a little older, I would have time to do things like blog. Boy was I wrong. Now that he is mobile he is constantly getting into trouble, that he is keeping me on my toes! Especially with the Christmas tree up. His favorite thing to do is crawl to the Christmas tree and yank the ribbon, practically tipping over the tree.Grant pretty much gives me a heart attack once a day. He finds everything but his toys more exciting to play with and pull down. I thought now that he is older, he would entertain himself with his toys and play. But boy was I wrong. Toys aren't exciting. Pulling ornaments off the Christmas tree is exciting, playing with the TV remote is exciting, trying to slide down the stairs is exciting. What the hell was I thinking that it would get easier now that he is older?

I'm not sure why I thought that. Now that I almost have a year of motherhood underneath my belt, I'm starting to realize I had many misconceptions about what motherhood would be like. Maybe it's TV or books that skewed my vision. Or my false perception of people I know and how they things are for them as a parent. I guess I never realized that motherhood isn't a one size fits all. What works for one mother may not work for another. Babies are all different, and all have a mind in their own.

So here are the misconceptions I have had so far as a mother:

1) All newborns sleep, all the time. 
The other day, Amy who watches Grant was asking me if I missed the days when Grant slept all the time, because now he is getting into things and moving all over the place. And I probably am missing that stage tremendously and wish he was little again. Well, I don't miss that stage considering I never was in that stage with Grant. He probably slept good for the first week of his life. And then he pretty much decided to hate sleep, and that being awake was more exciting.I really don't know what it's like to have a baby that can sleep for more than 6 hours in a stretch of time or take a 2 hour nap. I'll get lucky if Grant takes a 10 minute nap. I thought during the newborn stage I could actually get stuff done, and have a lot of time to myself, because he would be sleeping all the time. Yeah right.

2) Babies actually go to bed at 7:00 p.m -8:00 p.m.
For a shower present, my sister in law gave me this book: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child .
I started to read it before I had Grant. Before I even understand what it meant to have a baby that doesn't sleep. I started to read this book, and freaked out when it was saying how you should put a baby to sleep at 7:00. I thought if I work all day and get home at 6:00 and put him to bed at 7:00, I would be so sad because I wouldn't get to spend time with him. I know my sister in law swears by this book, and she puts her kids to bed at 7:00. I remember freaking out about this, but then understood its all about scheduling the appropriate number of naps, having consistency, and a daily routine, to get to the point where a baby would go to be at 7:00pm. The problem is, this wonderful book, which in theory is a great book (and maybe I should give it another try, but at this point I feel like it's too late to even try) doesn't work in Grant's case. Grant doesn't take naps. He thinks he is missing something important. He takes 10 minute cap-naps, and then is somehow re-energized and ready to go for another 4 hours. And he isn't cranky, he is happy as can be. And he never goes to be sooner then 9:00. If he does go to be sooner then 9:00, he ends up waking up 40 minutes later, and then we can't get him back to bed until midnight. Most nights he goes to be at 9:30- 10:00. My child seems to hate sleep. I know I've heard of other mother's get upset when their child is under the care of a sitter, grandma, etc, and the baby takes a late nap, and then is unable to go to be at their normal time. I laugh not because it's a funny situation for that person. But rather, it's never that way for Grant. I wish I had that problem. For Grant, no matter what he goes to bed around 9:30, and never takes any naps after 4:00 pm. (It's a rarity.)

3) By the time a baby is a year old, they won't wake up at all during the night.
Little did I know there is a thing called sleep regression. If Grant didn't get enough sleep as it is, it just get's worse. Apparently going through the milestones like sitting, crawling, standing, etc, makes it hard for a baby to go to sleep and stay asleep. I thought by 9 months, Grant would sleep through the entire night. And maybe this is true for some babies, but this is not true for my baby. He still wakes up usually around 4:00 in the morning, and then at 6:00 in the morning, and will sleep for another hour or hour and half at that. I was hoping now that Grant is 10 months old, I would finally get a straight 8 hours of sleep. This has only happened like once, since Grant was born, and it was pretty much a fluke.

4) The older they get the easier it gets and you'll have more time to get stuff done.
Maybe this happens when they are like 5-6 years old. And if this isn't the case, don't tell me. I have a feeling it's one of those things where it never gets easier. I thought since Grant is getting older he may want to play more independently. Yes, he does want to play more independently but with things like laptop cords, snowman figurines off the end table. Why play with toys, when you can play with things you know your can't have.

And I'm really starting to believe I'll never have time to get stuff done. One of my volunteers that I work with in my job, was telling me how a mother was unsure that she wanted to be a co-leader because of the training she had to do and didn't have time to do it. I didn't understand this considering the training is pretty easy, it can be done within two hours online. I told my volunteer to work her magic and explain to this parent that the training is easy to do, and easy to find time to do it. And then my volunteer slapped me with a dose of reality. She told me that even when you're kids get older, you still don't have time to get stuff done. Instead of changing diapers, and chasing after a moving baby, you're going to soccer practices, helping with homework, and pretty much running around town. She said I may have a baby, and think I may not have time to get stuff done, but it doesn't get any better the older they get. The joys!

5) It's easy to let a baby cry it out, and that is the only way to get a baby to sleep if they wouldn't go to sleep.
Maybe it is easy for some. And I know the CIO (cry it out) solution is a sensitive subject for some. Considering some think it is a great method to use while others do not agree with it, and think it's cruel. I'm not here to lecture or judge on if a parent does use CIO. But I will say I always thought I would use this method to get a baby to sleep. Because I know this is the more old-school way of parents doing it. I think my parents did it, and I know of other parents who have done it. And I turned out OK. So I thought I could do it, especially considering my child HATES sleep. But I discovered that I simply could no let Grant CIO. I've tried on a few occasions, I let him cry for 20 minutes, and it was dreadful. I think he probably would have cried for over an hour if I would have let him, and I think he would have still been crying. The crying breaks my heart, and I realized that there is no such thing as a baby "playing me" usually when they are crying, it's because they are in pain, upset, want attention, etc. I discovered that I can do CIO, it's not for me.

6) Teething isn't THAT big of a deal.
I never understood how terrible teething is, until I became in the mist of it. Poor Grant, has had two bottom teeth for over 3 months now. And there is no other teeth in sight. I keep thinking his top front teeth will pop through but it still hasn't happened. Amy who watches Grant used a great analogy with me that I never really thought of with teething. Her example was when you have a toothache or get your wisdom teeth coming through, you're in a lot of pain, and may complain or cry about it. Imagine what it's like for a poor baby, when he or she has five-six coming in all at once. Look at all the teeth they get in just the two years of their little life. They have to go through so much pain and agony to get all those teeth. I can understand now why Grant cries and fusses over his teeth. Before I never really understand why teething is so terrible, until I actually have seen Grant go through 8 months of teething, and he only has two teeth so far. It's rough. He has a good reason to cry!

7) I would never do half of the stuff I've seen other parents do.
Before I had Grant, I had my "ideas" on how to parent. Mainly I based this other what I saw from how other parents parent their child. I told myself, I would never do that with my own child. I thought I had my own ideas on what makes the perfect parent. The thing is there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and now I know why parents do the things they do with their children. I never thought I would never get my child formula but I did. I never thought I would give my child a cookie in the morning. But it's the only way to make him happy when getting ready for work. (In my defense they are Gerber Arrowroot Cookies so I'm not giving him pure sugar.) I let Grant play with my makeup when I get ready for work, because if I didn't, I would be unable to get ready for work, because I would have a crying baby at my feet.  Bottom line, what parents let their children do sometimes may seem strange, or others may not understand if they don't have kids. But now that I am in the other side, I get it, and I get why parents let their kids do the the thing they let their kids do.

Yes, I play with mommy's makeup, don't tell daddy

Grant has opened my mind to parenting, and really has eliminated many of my misconceptions as a parent. It's definitely not easy taking care of a baby, but seeing his cute smiles and face brings joy to my heart, and makes it totally worth all the hardships. :)

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Megan! I think our children have a lot in common. Or maybe our children ARE normal. I've done a lot of reading and research and have come to believe the whole sleep issue is much, much, much more common than let on. You're doing a great job with your little guy, so hang in there (and pay for a babysitter to just get out for an hour or two every now and then. I've only recently discovered how helpful this is!)