I am the first of my friends to replicate myself. Being in this coveted and feces covered position has gifted me with the high task of bestowing advice and my own carefully gathered nuggets of wisdom to said people. The most commonly posed question is; what is being a Mom like? My response is that ultimately parenting is a mix of three feelings; uncertainty, guilt and a sense of inadequacy.
You have never done this before, so you are filled with questions. How often should a baby eat? Which way does the diaper go on? I’m covered in derivatives of breastmilk- obviously the other way. Am I reading to him enough? When do I start reading to him? Why isn’t my baby looking at the book? Everyone talks about this being SO HARD, is it because I’m supposed to learn Sanskrit and teach it to my infant?
When you can’t answer the questions, you are filled with guilt. This is your little person, who has half of your genes, for whom you are the entire world. They depend entirely on you and you can’t even figure out how many books to read them a day. All you know is thirteen isn’t the answer because the one day you read over a dozen books, your baby screamed for two hours after being so thoroughly overstimulated. Also all the other Moms are learning sign language not Sanskrit. Duh. How is Sanskrit supposed to help the baby communicate earlier and develop their brain so they can get into a good university and be successful at life? Your baby is failing already because of your lack of knowledge. Also the library book you took out on Sanskrit and didn’t read is two months overdue.
A Sense of Inadequacy
All of that guilt snowballs together to create a roaring sense of inadequacy which grabs hold and shakes you awake at night, leading you to conclude that you are most definitely not up to this task. You’re not sure who is up to the feeding, changing, playing, Sanskrit Sign Language teaching task but it’s certainly not you.
The Take Home Message
So parenting is soldiering on, in that face of those three basic emotions. You hug and kiss your baby knowing full well that someone else could do a far better job. Luckily they don’t let babies pick who they go home with after their born, so your small person is stuck with you.