As a mom of three I recently was reminded of a few social situations every new mom should be prepared for with the knowledge and understanding that comes with experience and repetition. Here are 5 common awkward new mom moments mothers currently or in the future will relate to.
1. Incorrect baby gender guessing.
Rarely is someone intentionally trying to incorrectly guess the gender of your baby. There is a 1 in 2 chance they will get it right which is better odds than winning the publishers clearinghouse.
Today while at a warehouse store I had a couple tell me how beautiful my baby boy was and asked old he was. Notice the picture for the blog was taken right before we left with a pink hat and a pink and red flowered onsie…
Most people are so busy they haven’t paid any attention that you went out of your way to put that huge pink bow on your baby’s tiny head, or the hat in my case, to help the new baby ambiguity. Not to mention the hot pink and black car seat cover or blanket you have her snuggled in.
People will always be so excited to speak with you (and at your baby in what they consider acceptable baby talk). So excited that they get all mixed up, and can’t relate pink with girl and blue with boy. Just be kind and move it along and realize it’s not you it’s them and even if you say something like I have her and a son and another daughter they will still continue to call the baby girl a boy. These individuals are in every store, church, baseball crowd, pizza carry out line… So of course I just answered the question of “his” age and didn’t even clarify. They were the sweetest couple of about 50 years old and helped me load my groceries on the belt and then happened to park next to me and helped when I was at the car again.
Until age two or three a young baby to toddler’s physical appearance can be tough for people to associate with a gender for some reason. You may even resort to telling them the baby’s name. There is no help just go with the mentality of “bless their heart” and you will get through it.
I’m happy to say at age two and a half or three years of age this misidentification will decrease significantly although it may still occur especially if your son wears the fashionable shag hairdo.
2. Post pregnancy people will ask you when you are due or if you are pregnant.
You have grown a human inside your body. Your organs have moved, your body has added the fat necessary to prepare your body to provide nutrition to that new bouncing baby. Your uterus is on the shrink but girl, it took ten months for your body to morph it will not change back overnight or sometimes ever. All women who have born children deal with the comments and you are now part of a very elite club of women.
Don’t take it personal! That person would most likely not walk up to someone and say “you look fat, when are you going to start working out.” There is this social curiosity that exists when it comes to pregnancy and babies. People feel the need to “ask questions” and “engage in conversation” everywhere. They are just trying to strike up a conversation and aren’t sure how and what’s appropriate.
Complete strangers care about the wellbeing of mothers and when their little bundles will be joining them. Letting them know how old your baby only help initiate the regret, their embarrassment sets in and apologies flow out of their mouth. Realize you are beautiful because you are a miracle bearing woman who birthed a beautiful baby and one day you can get back to feeling sexy in your own skin whatever changes may have occurred.
It doesn’t even matter if your new bundle of joy is secured in the cart, the inquisitor totally misses that thing in the cart is a baby.
Of course as a brand new mom of a one week old you feel like you look like your three to five months pregnant. No one told you it would take “time” for everything to return or move and you are tired like no other. If you are like me, I’m additionally a little irritable for the first three months. Just hang in there and keep your cool. If not for you then for their sake. No one wants to unleash the wrath of the new momma.
3. The baby spitting up in your shoulder in public WILL be brought toyour attention by a stranger.
As a mother of three I accept that I will have spitup, buggers, tears, food and possibly poop on me depending on the day and maybe all at once. I chose this when I chose to be a mother and I know that my days of Banana Republic dry clean only clothes are lost. With baby one the frequency was a surprise, baby 2 it was just inconvenient and now with baby 3 it’s expected and I embrace it. I now just say “yep isn’t it awesome” with a smile and I move it along.
I chose to be a mother. I wanted to be a mother. I waited patiently for that day to come. I knew it would be filled with days of vomit, poop and crying but also days of happiness, smiles, cuddles and the cutest little people ever. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to have a plan in place.
I have found that wearing a cardigan and traveling with an extra shirt is helpful for a quick change and dressing in layers is easy. I have two of my favorite cardigans because one will always be washing while I wear the other.
So thank you stranger for staying the obvious, that yes, I have a babyand that baby is spitting up and yes that baby missed the tiny Burpcloth or lack thereof (it is the third, I’m lucky if I have one onhand) so just flash them a kind smile and a “thank you” to them and keep it moving. No need to waste time talking about the obvious for I am amother and so many don’t have those blessed days.
4. Anywhere you go and anyone you see or speak to will have the urge to offer unsolicited advice.
Take it all with a grain of salt and remember the less you encourage the person to continue talking by asking them questions the faster it will be over.
Every kid is different. Every baby is different. Have a trusted group of mommas that you can ask your question and get advice from people who know you and the situation.
Be specific if you are asking for advice to minimize irrelevant information. Always consult with your pediatrician if you are unsure, they are baby professionals and have seen the spectrum of severe to more minor things they will tell you not to worry about.
Be cautious of leading questions. You know what I’m talking about. The stranger asks, “is your baby sleeping through the night?” Or “does your baby always cry like that?” The curious person will then vomit advice regardless of the answer or share a personal story to connect.
We are all experts on something and mothers on everything mother so the “with my baby…” Will happen. I like to always answer positively and withthe mentality once again of “bless their heart” because they just want to feel like their experience can “help” another. You may be surprised when it actually does. So stay open minded and keep that beautiful smile on your face. Undoubtedly we all are guilty of this on some level.
5. Your child will break down and cry in a public place and someone will point it out.
Actually you just might break down crying too. Having a baby is an emotional roller coaster. You aren’t alone although you may feel like it. Not every comment is meant to come out as rude. Rude comments may actually leave someone’s mouth but my laugh it off response is “yep, we were all babies once too. It’s a hard life being x years old”. More often than not people are not being intentionally rude.
There will be others there to help and lift you up. I have the outlook that we are all just trying to do our best. My best might look different than your best and vice versa. We should try to be patient with one another.
I remember having my second baby and having to go to a fabric store with my then 2 1/2 year old little girl and eight week old boy.
Waiting to get fabric cut seemed like an eternity with a screaming baby in my cart and an active two and a half year old beside me. (Don’t let this fool you I am amateur at sewing) I was on the verge of tears. I felt like everyone was looking at me and I told myself that they were thinking, “she just can’t handle that baby and toddler” and “why would she be in a fabric store with a newborn anyway?”. I told myself what I thought they were thinking.
First of all refrain from that internal conversation. I had no idea what they were thinking and thinking about it was stressing me even more. As I was on the verge of crying and water already starting to enter my eyes, A lady came to my aid and offered to console my screaming newborn. My immediate response was “Are you sick?” While already unbuckling him from the seat to hand him over. She wasn’t and the handoff occurred. The other 6 ladies (all sweet as can be) somegrandmas some with children who were out of the house chimed in how lucky this lady was to hold the baby and they had wanted to help too.
They weren’t criticizing me at all. They understood and probably were just too scared to say anything. Now I also knew that if the stranger took off with my baby the other 6 women would chase her down and take care of it.
We don’t have to do this alone. I could have said, “no thank, you I’m fine” but I wasn’t fine. I needed help and those ladies could see it. God knew I needed an angel and he sent me one. It felt so good to have an extra pair of hands.
The lady wouldn’t stop thanking me when she returned the baby. She said she had wanted to hold a little baby for the last five years. Her kids were in high school and she didn’t know anyone with a baby. She told me it made her year and that she was so happy to help.
Regardless of what comments are made, or not made and the looks you might get, you are an amazing rocking mom. You are not alone and you can do this. The time of your child’s littleness passes so quickly there isn’t enough time to get hung up on everybody else. Do you. Be there and present for your baby and children. They won’t remember the mixed up gender comments or the looks of people who are staring while they are screaming for whatever reason. They will remember their loving sweet kind mother.