Nobody told me…

I knew my life would change forever when I became a mother.  It has totally changed, in amazing ways.  But there are little, funny things that have changed, too.

First, I’ve had to get used to people wanting to talk to me when out in public.  In the past, I could rush through the aisles of the grocery store, grab what I needed, say hi to the few people I happened to know, and get out of there.  Now, everyone wants to talk to me, ask me questions, or even tell me about their kids.  “Look at the baby!” makes me cringe…  I know they’re going to come talk to me, and I just want to duck down an aisle.  Call me antisocial, but I miss NOT having to talk to EVERYONE. 

And is it me, or are people LOUD? If I’m in the grocery store, and the baby’s asleep, not only do I not want to talk to you, I want you to BE QUIET so you don’t wake him! It’s not just out and about, it happens at home, too.  Perhaps I have super-sensitive hearing now, but when the baby’s sleeping, loud comercials on TV or a ringing phone are enough to make me GLARE at my husband.  I’ve actually gotten angry at HIM when other people call him.  He should know better!

Not only that, but my whole attitude toward housework has changed.  When the baby falls asleep in his swing, I RUN to do the laundry.  I used to HATE doing laundry, and now I get all excited if I get to do the laundry.  If somebody comes over to visit, I hand them the baby and happily proceed to empty the dishwasher.  What has happened to me?

But the worst part is… I’m singing.  I NEVER sang before, unless I was alone in the car.  I have one of those voices, the kind that should not be heard singing.  Now, I’m singing any song from my own childhood that I can think of: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and, my personal favorite thanks to the animal noises, “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”  My pre-motherhood self would be flabbergasted.

I feel like my whole perception of the world has changed, and I’ve changed.  But I wouldn’t want it any other way.



Filed under Home, parenting

25 responses to “Nobody told me…

  1. so funny, I actually LOVED all the people wanting to talk to me (maybe I was a little lonely?) and sort of miss have kids young and cute enough to make strangers speak to me.

    The sing-song nursery rhyme voice thing is with you for life I’m afraid. My kids now are five, seven, and sixteen, and I still sing stupid little rhyming songs all freaking day long. My kids just roll their eyes and say “not at school, okay mom?”

  2. Rob

    Just as long as you don’t talk baby talk on the phone or cut your husbands meat- you will be Okay

  3. Welcome to the wonderful world of motherhood! There’s no explaining it; nor any need to. You just do what feels right, for you and baby. Remember when you thought Mema and I were nuts for singing all the time?

    And . . . maybe, just maybe, that’s why I talk to everyone now, especially in the grocery store (as you always mentioned when you were younger), because people started talking to me because YOU were so cute as a baby! You’ll probably get used to it. : )

  4. Thank GOD you wrote this post! I thought I was the only one who ran through the store like my life depended on it so I didn’t have to talk to people! Once, I dove into the liquor section of our Kroger’s because I knew the people I saw coming would never think to look for a breastfeeding new mom there. 😀

    And the noises. Oh! The noises. I cannot tell you how many times I have flipped out over the neighborhood boys daring to run their skateboard up and down the street. Lord help them if I hear them playing basketball during a nap! I’ve gotten a little calmer about it now, but I tell you… the beginning when I was fighting tooth and nail for a nap was rough.

  5. Amy

    Hee hee! It’s true!

    My son is 3 months old and just today we went to the mall to get some household-y things and kept being stopped by strangers to talk about him and/or their children, grandchildren and in one case, great-grandchildren. Leave us alone! We have socks to buy and I have to feed this baby in less than 45 minutes! Outta my way!

    Also, I agree about the housework. I’m giddy when he naps and I can start doing laundry!

  6. Terry aka Goatldi

    Well I wish I could give you a resounding voice of “hope”. But all I can say is my children are 36 and 33. I can remember both their births in detail and can sing my son(36) first performance in kindergarten for Christmas and my daughter (33) first dance recital at age 2. Life is good!

  7. A few months ago I was loading my two children into the car. I watched a man exit a store, get into his parked car and drive off in the span of like 15 seconds. I was amazed. It has been YEARS since I’ve been able to get out of a store that quickly. It’s like a whole other lifetime.

    As for having to talk to EVERYONE, that does abate as the baby gets older. At least, it has for me.

  8. Amber,

    Are you suggesting that the Terrible Twos might actually be a way for the parent to regain personal privacy, by driving away the “Look at the baby!” crowd?

    Farmers Daughter,

    I think too many people look at marriage as an arrangement “between me and her/him”. I think there is a *reason* for the witnesses – that you form a family, that is, a unit that makes up the community. The baby, the new life, is a significant factor in the growth, the vitality, the life, of a community. Just as you find yourself channeling your own parenting for your child, others are emotionally transported to a simpler time, with a lot of attention focused within the home and the peace of ignoring the rest of the world. No one is picking on you in the grocery store aisle. This is a community response, an affirmation, of growth and hope and, just a bit, the joy of new life.

    Yes, you are truly projecting your own fears and protectiveness onto your baby. Yes, you are paying attention because the noises might frighten or distress your baby – instead of waiting to see if the baby cares or not, thus learning to sort out the world’s signals into actual information. A bit of balance helps – try projecting what your husband needs of warmth and appreciation, too, as well as extended family and neighbors. Empathy goes a very long ways in building the home and community, if not too focused.

    And . . . What a cute baby! Blessed be!

  9. Amy,

    It occurs to me – why worry about where you will be for breastfeeding? I know last year New York passed a law (should *not* have been needed!) to specifically permit breastfeeding on subways. Why should an out-of-the-road quiet bench in a mall be different? Besides, if someone won’t quit chatting and it is getting to be time, breastfeeding might be one way to end the conversation. Just quietly start – and ignore anyone standing around, even if they try to talk to you. “Excuse me. I am busy at the moment.”

    Actually, “Excuse me. I am busy at the moment,” might be really, really good practice for setting boundaries as the little one grows toward, um, choices about dating. If you cannot tell a stranger or neighbor “no,” how will your kids know you mean it?

  10. Ohhhh you are so very right! Motherhood will rock your world in ways you could never ever have imagined! Great post…you made me smile with recognition.

    Just your Thursday reminder that the link party is up for kinderGARDENS if you have anything you want to share…I’m also having ‘Sunflower House’ book giveaway.

    Happy Gardening and Mothering! Kim

  11. Allie

    I’ve been lurking for a while but feel compelled to post a comment after the last two posts. First, I wholeheartedly agreed about breastfeeding,

    Second, I felt the exact same way about taking my daughter out after she was born. We took her shopping when she was a few days old and I hated it that people even looked at her, let alone talk to either one of us. For me, I look back and realize that it was a little bit of postpartum depression that made me so touchy. Brad K. Had a very nice way of putting it. I would have been much more cynical and said that people are nosy and see babies (and pregnant women) as entities that are ok intrude upon. But I think we start to get over that more and more as our kids age.

    Cheers and congratulations!!

  12. Brad’s comment made me laugh. I have another girlfriend who is “tough as nails”; when she had her first baby, she watched March of the Penguins and just bawled. You’re right, babies bring changes to the people who love them; in my friend’s case and maybe yours too, it seems that a baby is bringing out this softer side.

    Oh, and I’m with you. I’d totally glare at anyone whose voice, phone, or jumping on my bed (like my 3 year old) would wake the baby. ARGH!!!!

  13. Funny how that works! Just be glad you don’t live in an Urban area where people are to lazy to get out the car and ring a doorbell, instead they sit on the street honking their horn for 10-20 minutes. Used to love that when my girls were little and sleeping.

  14. LH

    Your little boy is a sweetheart, but please use his given name when speaking about him in your blog or in Tweets. I know you and your husband chose his name after much thought and using it makes him an individual human being to the rest of the world. Referring to him as “baby” makes him generic. I’m sure that’s not your intention.

    • Interesting point of view. However, I know many people who never use their children’s names on the internet, and I don’t think it makes them generic. Perhaps I’ll call him pumpkin or one of the other nicknames I’ve given him.

      • LH

        I certainly would never use his last name but we already know his name is Joshua and referring to him by that name instantly brings him to mind, I know exactly who you are referring to and what he looks like. Also, as a teacher and parent I know that sometimes nicknames stick when we don’t really want them to and the poor kid is stuck with something he/she hates. You’ve given him life and by using his name you’re giving him a start on his identity.

        • I’m sorry, what’s your name? 😉

        • @ LH,

          I am sorry – but, if you hadn’t noticed, online life is not similar to social etiquette – or what social etiquette used to entail, a la Emily Post. In real life (IRL), the Attorney General doesn’t file suit to get your neighbors or your landlord to record and submit every conversation they ever had while you were present.

          In real life, random people across the continents, and across the years, don’t search out what you said, and what was said about you, let alone what pictures feature you, across the internet – for “checking out” dates, work applications, “dirt” on your teacher, or mere titillating smut.

          The Anabaptists, including in American the Amish and Anabaptist Mennonites, believe that only a prepared, informed adult can join the church, at a time in their life when they are prepared to make an informed commitment. If Farmers Daughter wishes to allow that same consideration – considering the cyberbullying and internet related suicides reported – to her child, that is a wholly healthy approach.

          Just consider how many web sites miss the DCMA requirements about getting anyone under 13 suitably screened and informed, to protect their identity.

          Just as one for-instance, notice how this stream of comments has washed away from a mother’s unwanted exposure to social interference, into a discussion on concealing names.

          Too many people today live so much of their lives on line, on the phone, or *shudder* texting, that their social contacts and sense of community in the “Hi, neighbor!” sense, or even “Honey, where are the kids tonight?” sense, approaches the pathological.

          On the street, getting an introduction to every person encountered is not assumed. Despite the appearance similarities that comments on a blog post have to a personal letter, it is the author’s choice – always – on the amount of detail to bring to a discussion. Personal questions and assumptions are just that, and polite discourse doesn’t compel full disclosure.

          Use of nicknames has been found to be a valuable defense mechanism online. Certain school systems in the recent news bring home the fact that between hackers and the US government there is no presumption of privacy, or scope of exposure, online.

          Some people even use their initials, rather than a full name and address.

          Brad K.
          Ponca City, OK

  15. Geez, I just thought I was writing a quirky little post about how my life has changed in unexpected ways. And look at the conversations going on here! I guess I’ll take some credit for stimulating you folks to make interesting comments. 🙂

  16. Caretaker for Astrid (now 3.5 months old) three times/week for 3 hours each time, I had my first “experience” last Wednesday. I took her outside to watch my husband mow the lawn and workers build a new fence for my neighbor.

    A sensitive child, she started to scream, so I took her back inside. The screaming didn’t stop, though. Talk about feelings of impotence and frustration. I put her in the swing, turned it on, and when she finally fell asleep (not nearly soon enough for me) I would have KILLED anyone who dropped a pin within a mile radius. NOW her thing is refusing breastmilk in a bottle. She’d rather go hungry until mom returns and then yell at her. I’m ordering a sippy cup so I won’t insult her intelligence by trying to pass off a bottle as mom’s breast. [Some say that works in these situations].

    I’ve read (on the internet, so it must be true) that after 3 months babies start to put “cause and effect” together, so next time this happens, I’ll be a little less “passionate” and a lot less frustrated. It’ll be the swing for her and me leaving the room after saying, “ENOUGH!”

    Daughter and hub went to a movie last night and same thing happened to mother-in-law. She was exhausted by the time the kids came back.

  17. Personally we were as noisy as possible around ours. Sleeping… go get the vaccuum. Mow grass… right outside the bedroom window…. They quickly learned to sleep through it all.

    Best thing we ever did… all the horror stories of parents that have autistic children that can’t stand noise or changes…. ours do just fine and always have.

  18. Old novice – my eldest started using a sippy cup full time at 4mths… she make take it easily. My youngest was nearly 2 but had difficulties with using it. At 8.5 we still don’t use an open face cup for sensory reasons… but everywhere we go there’s straws so… it’s not an issue for us.

  19. LH

    I’ll not be reading this blog any longer. I’ll take my outdated ideas elsewhere. Rest easy, Brad K.

    • LH,

      Please accept my apology. I am sorry that my comment would affect your choice of what to read, who to support, or where to find community.

      Brad K.

      • LH

        Accepted. But in reading your last post I’m not sure I understand your point. Farmer’s Daughter has introduced her son Joshua to all of us with pictures and his name so this is not a matter of trying to preserve his anonymity. She has already shown us that he is a unique individual complete with name and some occasional fussing issues. Generally speaking, blogs are a way for someone to share their personal thoughts, ideas, philosophies. I do not disclose my name and do not blog because I do not want certain people to be able to find me online. I could tell you that LH stands for Lucretia Hobblemayer. Yep, that sounds good. Lucretia signing off here.

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