02 May YELM: The Questions
As a mom, I cannot STAND the following questions:
“Was it a rough day?”
“Is the baby sleeping through the night?”
These questions bother me so much that even as I write this blog, I feel my heartbeat quickening and my blood pressure rising. I know they are harmless questions in which the asker only means to connect and commiserate with me, the mom. I know this. BUT, I still really cannot stand these questions! Here’s what bothers me so much about each of them.
“Was it a rough day?” Okay. So, right away, I’m defensive. Of course, it wasn’t an entirely rough day. Yes, there were moments when the children acted more like angry monkeys at a heavy metal concert than like squishy toddler babies and moments when I felt as though I might lose my mind if I had to say ‘It’s time to get your shoes on’ one more time, but no. It wasn’t an entirely rough day. Those moments were rough. Downright terrible, in fact. But, c’mon, we had so many more good moments!
Out of the blue, the 3-year-old said “We’re having a lively party! I think you’ll enjoy it!” The 1-year-old and I got to read books and play together. We laughed a lot. We all spent time outside, getting fresh air and exercise. Everyone stayed calm and happy while running an errand. I got some work finished, took a shower, put on makeup (!), made dinner (!!), and had time to chat with a couple of friends on the phone (!!!).
Parenthood/motherhood is all about reality vs expectation. The expectation that this question implies is that a mom’s day with her children must be rough. The reality is every day is peppered with really hard moments but lathered with really good ones.
Next time you feel this question forming, maybe try asking “How was your day?” instead. ☺
“Is the baby sleeping through the night?” No, friend/parent/doctor, he’s not. Are you? (Yep. Defensive.) Believe it or not, this is not the most crucial milestone for babies. In fact, it’s NOT EVEN LISTED on developmental milestone checklists. The expectation of this question is that babies should sleep through the night and that parents should do everything possible to make that happen. So, the answer to this question is almost always ‘no’ but the mom you’re asking might feel so pressured to “be a good mom” that she’ll say ‘yes.’ And then, she’ll go home and stress and obsess for days about all the things she should do differently to get her baby to sleep through the night only for her baby to continue to BE A BABY and wake up to eat or rock or snuggle or whatever… *sigh*
It’s taken two babies and almost three years for me to (almost) completely let go of this cycle. I’m not a bad mom because my baby wakes up in the middle of the night. He’s well rested. I’m well-rested. And this is all temporary.
Next time you feel this question forming, maybe try asking “How are you sleeping?” instead. ☺
Read more posts by Greta, Your Ever Loving Mother (YELM), as she journals to normalize parenting challenges, joys, and stresses.