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We’ve All Thrown A Stone or Two


No one ever told me really how hard it would be to raise these mini human beings. I remember before I had kids hearing parents talking amongst themselves about their kids and scratching their heads about something their kid had done and mumbling about how hard it was to be a parent. So I guess, they were trying to tell me, but frankly, I naively, egotistically assumed I could do it better. I would think to myself, “How can it be that hard? That much work? Take up that much energy?” I was so judgmental of parents. You know, “Well, if they had taught the kid better manners or values or fill-in-the-blank, then their little brats wouldn’t act like that.”

I heard parents talk about how tired they were because they were up all night with their kids and how they never had time to do whatever because the kid was monopolizing their schedule. All I could think of was, “You are obviously not managing your time well and why aren’t they sleeping? When it’s nighttime everyone sleeps, this should not be a problem. Why are you keeping your kids up, go to bed you crazy people?”

Before I had kids, I would inevitably get stuck in a seat right in front of a little angel who played with his tray table and kicked the back of my chair for the entire flight. I actually flew to Chicago once for a job interview and had a baby throw up on my shoe. I had no problem shooting a look at the darling in an effort to turn the child to stone and cast a similar glare at the parents to let them know my disapproval of their sub-par parenting skills that had produced their spawn’s annoying behavior. If that was my kid, I would make certain that he would sit nicely and color for four hours and no one would even know he was on the flight.

When my husband and I got married I had no interest in getting pregnant for a while. I loved living in New York City. We had a good life, we just didn’t know it. I worked at an advertising agency and we enjoyed going to the theater, traveling and eating dinner with friends at a moments notice any day of the week. About a year into this newlywed bliss I caught the bug. It came on strong and unexpectedly. I needed a baby, right then, needed one. 

I got pregnant pretty easily and my daughter was born five weeks early and fortunately perfectly healthy. Almost immediately, I realized what a jackass I had been for my pre-baby, parent judging all of my adult life. 

Let’s start with breast feeding. Pre-baby mentality…it’s a breast and a baby, how hard can that be? Well, let’s just say, she didn’t like my boobs (or should I say she tolerated my left boob and completely boycotted my right boob) and I didn’t like giving up broccoli and milk and wine and peanut butter and Mexican food. I didn’t realize that you became a slave to your boobs. I am not blessed with being endowed up top. I’m not a D cup. Or a C cup. Or a B cup. But when I was lactating I discovered size did not matter one bit. I was a milk producing robot, providing enough milk to feed a third world country. All I did was feed the baby and pump what she did not want. When the boobs decided it was time to feed, they could care less if there was a baby attached or not. I couldn’t take it, I spent the one hour in between feedings pumping and sterilizing the equipment instead of sleeping.

I played the pre-baby voices over and over in my head, “Breastfeeding is the best thing for your baby. You should breastfeed your baby until she is a year old. Babies who are breastfed will have higher IQ’s.” I saw other mothers do it so effortlessly, what was my problem? I felt enormous pressure from myself to not quit, but after four months of sincerely trying, I threw in the towel. After I made this decision, I endured silent judgments from other lactating proficient mothers as well as women who had no children about my decision when they would ask me if I was still breastfeeding and I answered “no.” It didn’t surprise me because I was judging myself, but it would have been nice to not be subjected to the “sorry you’re kid is going to do so poorly on the SAT’s” look all the time.

My daughter didn’t sleep until she was two and a half. She laughed in my face when I put her in her little bassinet and she equally hated her crib. The only place she would sleep was in her car seat and not for very long at a stretch. She didn’t care if it was nighttime, she apparently did not need sleep to survive. I used to judge parents who let their kids sleep in their beds. What an unhealthy practice for the kids and for your marriage to have a child between you. Did I mention,… (cont)

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