From March 19, 2014, The Woes of Parenting, I wrote down some of my worries about parenting, particularly mothering a baby. I didn't know if all the venting about taking care of kids that mothers do online would ring true for me. Now that I'm approaching the two month mark of being a mommy, I feel like I have some authority on the topic. Well, maybe not an authority. This is the truth as I see it, in my experience. Every person and her situation is different, not to mention every baby is different.
Despite my constant complaining about dealing with cultural differences, my circumstances have been pretty ideal. William is a “good” baby, in the sense that he cries rarely and sleeps well. I also have lots of help from my husband and mother-in-law plus Ping pitches in too! I have pleasantly surprised to find that, thus far, many of my concerns were unfounded. Here's what I've discovered:
1. I'll never sleep again. Myth. I relish sleep. In fact, I have never even pulled an “all nighter.” I was, quite frankly, terrified about how an infant would affect my sleep. I am a disorientated monster when I get six or less hours a night. I have been incredibly fortunate that William has been a great sleeper, especially at night, since birth. I had one really rough night when Ming was out of town and William didn't really sleep, but I was able to take a very long nap the next day when Ming's mom came over. I am averaging eight hours or more of (somewhat broken) sleep every day.
2. I'll never have sex again. Myth. I won't go in to details, but I think “less frequently” is more in line with reality. Obviously “never” is a bit of an overstatement.
3. I'll never stop worrying. Myth. It's official, I'm not much of a worrier. If motherhood hasn't made me one, I think I can say with confidence that it's true. Ming does enough worrying for the both of us.
4. I'll fail to change clothes for days, perhaps weeks, at a time. I won't find time to shower. Myth. Well, it's no better or worse than it was before. China brings out the lazy in me. Wearing a new outfit every day is just a waste—baby or not.
5. I'll constantly be covered in spit up, barf, pee, and/or poop. (Somewhat) Fact. I am quite often showered in spit up and from time to time breast milk. I try to dodge the pee and poop.
6. I won't love my dog anymore. Myth. I still love Fei Fei, but there isn't as much time for her. I actually feel pretty bad for the pup, as she is treated as a complete nuisance by the woman who used to adore her (Ming's mom). Not to mention, when he first came home, the baby made Fei Fei extremely nervous, but she seems to be adjusting now.
7. I'll finally understand love. Myth. I don't think my concept of love has changed. Having a baby has changed how I view some things and has helped me better understand other, but love isn't one of them.
8. I'll feel guilty pretty much constantly. (Somewhat) Fact. While I'm not a big worrier, I am guilty of often feeling guilty. I hate it. I feel bad when anyone takes care of William other than me. I feel even worse leaving to go to work. I don't know why, but I have the overwhelming sense that he is my responsibility and my responsibility alone.
9. My time will never be my own. (Somewhat) Myth. I don't have much time to do some of the things I used to do, like studying Chinese, but I still try to take at least 30 minutes a day to go for a walk or a trip to the store on my own or with Ming or Ping. I have lots of time to watch TV or reading crap online (good activities while feeding a baby). I think eventually I'll have more time for myself when William is on a schedule and sleeps longer at night.