If you’re already a parent, then you know that when people found out you were expecting your first, they would say all kinds of things to you. Some things are helpful. Some of them aren’t. Most all of them come from good intentions.
I think parents probably feel a little separated from non-parent people because being a parent is unlike any other life experience. It’s so much bigger and time-consuming and emotionally challenging and intellectually — uh — challenging than anything else. I think. Still a month or so before I’m an actual dad.
And so when a parent finds out someone else is going to be a parent, they want to share their knowledge and experience.
Expecting parents can expect to hear things like:
- Get some sleep now!
- Enjoy your peace and quiet!
- When the baby comes, sleep when they sleep.
- Enjoy your clean house!
- Enjoy pooping alone!
- When buying baby clothes, go ahead and buy larger sizes, too, because babies grow so fast.
These things are more or less helpful to the expecting parent. But what I find galling about most of the comments I’ve received is how obvious they are. They’re things my husband and I are already aware of and consciously planning for. And I can’t help but think, “No sh!t babies wake up in the middle of the night. This person thinks I’m a f!bombing idiot.”
I shared a picture of our nursery on social media and it’s all neatly organized. My husband has labeled drawers and shelves. Everything is clean and put away. And the first reactions from my friends were to laugh and say things like, “It’s funny how clean it is. That won’t last!”
I know in my brain that people aren’t doing it to be mean or insulting. They’re usually trying to be helpful or funny.
My gut reaction is to joke back that as soon as one knows that a child is coming into their life, they should just start pooping on the floor and living like animals or something. But that joke always comes out of my mouth in a very harsh way, so I try to resist indulging in that impulse. The reason for the impulse is because the price of the initial humor seems to be paid out of our attempts to prepare for the birth of our child.
But I do struggle with having an appropriately tame reaction to these comments. They’re innocuous and ubiquitous. I need to just get over it.