When I am out and about with Caroline, I run into other mom’s and they seem to expect me to act a certain way since I am a “first time mom”. Mom’s inform me that I will “get more relaxed with baby number two”. Then they seem surprised when my baby drops something on the floor and I hand it right back to her without wiping it off with antibacterial wipes. It sometimes gets me wondering… how relaxed will I be with baby #2…because I already feel pretty relaxed about things!
Society seems to project a worried, strict first time mom personality, and I am almost made to feel awkward at times because I haven’t done some of these things…
1. A toy must be washed once it has fallen on the floor
So this is the science background in me, but exposing my baby to germs and bacteria is a good thing. The more she is exposed to, the better her body will know how to handle it. She will build immunity, instead of shocking her system when she is FINALLY, one day exposed to bacteria. Dirt is a very good thing! So when that toy falls, I just pick it up and hand it right back.
2. People must wash their hands before holding your baby
See #1. You don’t need to wash your hands to touch my baby. Unless you are sick…then you can definitely not touch or hold my baby. If you’ve been outside planting and your hands are a mess…totally fine. My baby has probably been sitting in dirt while I watered my plants that day.
3. You must take a diaper bag the size of Mt. Everest with you everywhere you go
This one seems to surprise people and I never realized this was a first time mom stigma. I have a normal sized diaper bag. Honestly, a couple of days ago I looked in it and realized there weren’t even any diapers. OOPS. Usually there are 2 diapers, some wipes, some toys, an outfit change and now that Caroline is eating solids- some snacks. I’m not carrying the world on my back, and I figure if I am out and desperately needed something that I didn’t have, odds are I could find what I needed at a store. We never need to do diaper changes while we are out though… we plan around our daily schedule…so it’s a rare moment that we’d be caught needing to.
4. Your baby should never fall
Sometimes I feel the judgment on this one. When Caroline was learning to sit, if she could fall onto a nice cushy surface (grass, carpet, etc.)… I let her fall over (not every time…but a few times for sure). I wanted her to learn that she needs to support herself. She only did this for a few days before she quickly realized she better learn how to hold herself up. She’s an awesome sitter now. I got some looks for this one though, and at one point another mom put her hands out, but then informed me that “I’d be more relaxed with baby number 2″… I wondered to myself “Had she not noticed that I just let my baby fall over? Can I get more relaxed than that for baby #2? If so, my poor baby #2 is going to be falling on concrete or something”.
5. Your baby should never cry
People seem to expect me to run to my baby if she’s crying. They hand her back to me the second she cries. My response is usually to wait a few minutes if someone else is holding her. I obviously go to my baby and hold her and comfort her, but I might finish what I’m doing first sometimes, and I am perfectly ok with you trying to console my baby…if you want to… don’t feel the need to rush over with her for my sake. Especially my family. I trust you. Have at it! Caroline has learned how to put herself to sleep, she has learned that if she wakes early from a nap she should go back to sleep, and she also knows that I’ll be there for her whenever she needs me…but there’s a balance, and she can also learn that grandparents and aunts and uncles can comfort her too.
6. Your baby should always be cutely dressed with a bow in her hair
I have felt inadequate as a mom sometimes…sitting in the pediatricians waiting room…all the cute little girls in dresses, leggings and bows and cute shoes when they don’t even walk yet. My baby was always dressed in sleepers- no bow. They zip and unzip in one easy motion. This means diaper changes are easy…and diaper changes happen every 2 hours. So I’m looking for easy. Caroline is just barely getting dressed in cute outfits… and she is 6 months old.
7. You can’t handle going out on your own
I was nervous the first time and was glad that I had my husband with me. We went to target when Caroline was 1 week old. We figured it out. I knew that it would only get harder to “deal” with as she got older…so I just started going out. I went out every week in the beginning, and by month 3 I was going out every day to do something. Going out saves my sanity. I can only do so much around the house before I go stir crazy. Caroline agrees…she loves people watching!
8. You can’t handle bathing your baby on your own
Once that first big poop explosion happens…the kind that you just need to bathe your baby…there might not be an option to have help. This happened to me right after my husband was back to work and my parents had gone back home. I had no help. I also didn’t have time to be nervous- I had a poop covered baby. It was not easy, but I just had to do it. Once I had to do this, I figured I’d keep it up. I started bathing her on my own and it got easier and easier. Now, its easier to do on my own than to have my husband help. I just make him take his turn at bathing her too 🙂
9. You should bathe your baby every day
See #1. Germs are good. Dry skin is also not a good thing, and bathing too frequently will cause dry skin. My baby isn’t sweating and running around, and doesn’t have adult hormones causing her to smell… she’s fine to go a few days.
10. You wipe down shopping carts, door handles, high chairs, and everything when you are out
So with all the “first time mom” things that I don’t do…if I really do get more relaxed with baby number 2… well, poor baby #2! Honestly, I feel like I’ll be about the same. Baby number 2 is going to force me to be more relaxed with my baby schedules, though… that I do know. I am hoping we have a few years between the two kids, though. We really want to enjoy Caroline before adding to the family…and I love the difference in age between my sister and I. We were 4 school years apart. We didn’t get in each other’s way, but were close enough in age to enjoy one another. We are very close as a result. Having a few years will help me to implement my schedules easier as well 😉