When Mothers Know Best, It’s The Worst

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mother-baby

When you’re pregnant or a new mom, people like to bestow all kinds of useless advice on you. Pearls of wisdom like “enjoy every moment” or “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Please. I don’t know much, but I have one piece of advice that I think might actually help some new mommies out there. This is what I sorely wish someone had said to me when that little one arrived: You Don’t Want to Be That Mother Who Knows Best.

I see you over there, Control Freak New Mommy. You’re just like I was, reading and Googling and list-making. You’re figuring that with all this knowledge you’ll know pretty much what the hell to do with your baby, but take it from this mentally exhausted, overwhelmed mom of five: you’re setting things up all wrong.  Whether you have one or five babies, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE EXPERT.  Here’s why:

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane back to when I had my first baby. There we were, yours truly and my dear husband and our precious baby boy. The hubs was home from work for two weeks as we got settled, but I was generally the one caring for the baby. I spent more time with him and knew better what to do, you know what I mean? Plus I’d read all those nifty books!

So I would change him, and burp him, and feed him, and decide what he needed to do and when, and make all the little plans for his little life.  If my husband picked the baby up, I’d usually give him some “helpful” pointers about how he was holding him wrong or burping him wrong and oh, now he’s crying…better give him back to me.

Now let’s fast forward, shall we, to last Saturday morning, chez moi.

Mommy wakes up (very early).  She puts out breakfast because only she knows what the kids eat that day. Mommy tells the chitlins what to wear, because only she knows what they are doing that day (soccer), even though they have been playing soccer for two months.  And only she knows where each kids soccer clothes are (including shin guards, cleats, uniforms).

Time to head out? Mommy crouches down tying all the shoe laces while Daddy catches up on the iPad because Daddy doesn’t get the kids ready because he doesn’t know all the ins and outs.  Mommy hands Daddy the bag with the change of clothes, lunch and the water bottles.  The kids are firing questions at Mommy and she’s fielding them like a catcher during bating practice.  “Can I do this?”  “Why did he get that?” It’s only 9 a.m. and you’re so drained from the excess of planning, details and decision-making that you’re ready to head back to bed.

The afternoon?  Mommy’s spends her “downtime hour” answering emails from schools and coaches and teachers and PTA groups, all starting with the refrain “Just a friendly reminder!”  Picking a library hour for each of her kids. Deciding which insipid birthday party we are going to have to go to and trying to find a creative way to lie her way out of at least some of them.  Oh, summer is around the corner — better start researching camps!  Meanwhile, the kids are parked in front of the TV, which leaves Mommy guilt-ridden …and what’s Daddy doing? Downloading music onto his iPod!

Oh wait, it’s time for dinner.  Time to order the Saturday night pizza.  This is “Daddy’s job.” And even though we’ve ordered exactly the same pizza from the same restaurant every single Saturday night for around 6 years – that’s about 336 times – Daddy still waits for Mommy to TELL HIM to order the pizza and TELL HIM what type of pizza to order because she has trained him NOT TO MAKE ANY DECISION WHATSOEVER REGARDING THE KIDS.

So, who would you rather be? The 1-800 Call Center or the pinch hitter brought in to do the only task that is actually fulfilling as a parent: having fun with the kids?

I thought so. But if you aren’t careful, you’re going to turn out just like me.  And if this happens to you, you might bitch and moan, sister, like almost all of us mommies, but fact of the matter is that it’s pretty much your fault.

You told the hubs the second that baby came to let YOU be the one.  You told him NOT to make the decisions, nor to sweat the details but rather to be instructed and guided by your wisdom at every turn.  Now he’s been well trained, for years, in WAITING IN THE WINGS TO BE ASKED TO APPEAR.  Go Mom!

So STOP. Nip this baby in the bud. Stains, mismatched outfits, missed naps, unfinished bottles, leaking loose diapers, letting the baby watch TV on his lap while he downs a beer during the game …BRING IT ON.

Get the hell away from that baby and let Daddy do his messy, sloppy, imperfect, thing. He’s setting you up to be happier with every mis-hap.  You might actually get a shot at enjoying something once in a while and having one moment’s peace.  And when you get home, zip your mouth shut and don’t say one single critical word when you see spit up on the carpet!!

I’m trying to change my ways, but I have to be honest, it’s too late for me. So I’m trying to save you.

You’ll thank me later.

Comments

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  1. 4

    Jess says

    Best. Advice. Ever! I’m a new mom to a 4 month old and have been trying very hard to not instruct my husband on all things baby. We have alternating work schedules; when he works I’m home and when I work he’s home, so he gets plenty of baby time anyway, but I’m going to make a mental note to back the f@&^ off….thanks!

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  2. 7

    Hailey says

    Hahaha I live this!!! It’s is so true!!!!! Unfortunately I’m right down that road with you. I wish I would have not done/did everything myself and had/have to have everything done my way. Great advice :)

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  3. 8

    Sha Woo says

    This is so true!! I watched a friend do this with her baby and I learned real quick that a loose diaper is not that big of a deal. I let my husband makes his mistakes and we were all better for it.

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  4. 9

    Marie30 says

    True story! Also a mom of five, they were wearing me out so I started to hand over the ropes more and more with each baby. Dh is great now! Perfect advice every mom to be should read!

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  5. 13

    Wendy says

    Oh my, you just described my life! I have four and unfortunately I have done this! I changed diapers, got up through the night, dressed kids, helped with homework, signed papers, etc. and although I love my kids and doing for them but I wish I would have let go a little.

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    • 14

      Melissa Lawrence says

      Letting it go is the hardest thing! Thing is, when you allow everything to not be perfect, including yourself, it’s just so so much easier and less stressful!! xo Melissa

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  6. 17

    Rebeccah says

    My husband said it best when he told his brother who was fretting about having a baby. “Dude. Just keep it alive (fed) and clean. The rest will be okay.” True, really, when you break it down.

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  7. 18

    Beth says

    Couldn’t agree more! My husband had NO experience with children of any age so while I was there to offer advice, I let him do his thing. He has turned into the most amazing father and I think it is because I left him alone. More women need to let it go, we have so much on our plates, why net let the one person we chose to “get us into this mess” help out?

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  8. 19

    Brandy Maricle says

    Here here! I was a single mom with my daughter, so it was just me (and my mother and grandmother who always found it in my best interests to tell me everything I was doing was wrong). When my husband and I had my son, it was game on. He helped make it, he can help take care of it. And the way I saw it, I already had 9 months worth of work up on him.

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  9. 20

    Lin says

    I’m so glad I learned this before I got to the hospital. The nurse set me up with a pump, and I told hubby he better listen about how to wash the attachments because that was going to be part of his job. In addition, I decided we weren’t leaving the hospital until he changed at least one of the baby’s diapers.

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    • 22

      Alicia says

      Ooh! I just bought a pump! Thanks for the idea! I will be having a c section and will have to let everything get messy for a bit. Might as well make DH useful; he has certainly stepped up for baby #2 I’ll tell you that!

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  10. 24

    Onecrazymomto5 says

    Amen! But where were you 20 years ago when I had my first and almost 11 years ago when I had my fifth? Not only did/do I take care of the kids, but I also treat my husband like 1 of them. He has never had to take the kids to anything, do any housework (literally he has run the vacuum 1 time – honest to goodness), heck he doesn’t even have to take the car for its scheduled oil change! Where does that leave me, tired, overworked, my 20 year old still lives at home and I cook his meals and wash his laundry, unappreciated, and an enabler. Yep, I can admit my own faults. BUT I’m in control, trust me its not all it’s cracked up to be! All you new mothers, listen – make the men do just as much as you, everyday, or you will end up like me!

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    • 25

      Melissa Lawrence says

      We are sisters in the same boat — I am trying, trying, to lift myself out of this mess because I can’t hold it together anymore — wishing you the best of luck starting to “duck out” of some of these responsibilities!! Melissa

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    • 26

      Launa says

      Great Article – and so agree.
      I went back to school and then work after the kids had mostly been raised. I wasn’t even sure how I would find time to since I was so busy with the kids and all the “community stuff” that also entailed. I did and controlled it all – schedules, clothes, daily life etc.
      I had to really work hard to let the husband and kids [4] pick up the slack of what I wasn’t able to keep up with. I had to learn to shut my mouth when the towels weren’t folded right, the floor wasn’t cleaned “right”, the clothes weren’t done right, dinner wasn’t cooked right – the right actually just meant “my way” – this was really difficult for the first while – actually about as stressful as doing it myself would have been. In the long run -it is so much better. Household became more of a democracy and less of a dictatorship. Life is better.
      And some of those things not done “right/my way” were actually done better since each person looked at it with a new perspective.
      Please all those young moms out there – let it go and just enjoy having the family. There is no one right way. And they really do grow up fast – Wishing now I had just spent more fun time vs getting things done time.

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  11. 27

    Christina says

    Thank goodness I didn’t fall into this trap! I started leaving baby alone with daddy by the time he was 2 weeks old and never even worried about it. Why would I? He’s the daddy, and this was a first for both of us. There’s nothing that makes me inherently better at parenting than him. He’s an amazing father. He researched strollers and carseats. He put baby on lists for daycare. He can coordinate baby’s outfits like nobody’s business. Baby lights up when he sees daddy and they love spending time together. I get the occasional night out (I can even skip out on bedtime routine and not worry about a thing) and a weekly sleep-in. We take turns on bath nights and swimming lessons. He’s more patient than I am and better at a lot of things baby-wise. This transition to parenthood hasn’t been as hard on our marriage as I thought it would be and I fully believe taking as equal roles as possible has been the key.

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  12. 29

    Heather @ Kraus House Mom says

    I am so thankful that my husband was a stay at home dad for the first 5 years with 3 kids (all within a year of each other). I usually get the clothes ready, but I don’t have to worry about anything else. He was better at it than I am.

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  13. 30

    Jessica Cobb (@DomesticPirate) says

    Thankfully I’ve ditched hubby on enough Mom’s Nights and getaway weekends that he’s got a handle on stuff. Took a while to get him comfortable with it though!

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