Saturday, 21 December 2013

I Used to Say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” But Then I Became a Mom by Naomi Elana Zener

I am now a mother of two, thus I’ve been a new mom and can now be considered an old pro.
Certainly, when I had my first child, I looked for expert advice from my kid’s pediatrician, reading information on everything from parenting to childhood illnesses in a few books or on credible websites, such as “The Wonder Weeks” or I’ve raised my kids to date relying on a combination of gut instinct, listening to and observing my children to assess their needs and good old fashioned research as described above. Research like we did as kids: buying or going to the library to borrow books, looking things up in encyclopedias and only asking if we really couldn’t find the answer ourselves.
Growing up in a fairly Luddite environment, if I asked my parents or teachers a question, I was told to find the answer myself. I was not spoon-fed the material. Only if I hit a dead end brick wall was I then lent a helping hand to find the right answer. During my time in the mommyhood trenches, I’ve wandered into an online mom forum or two to see what they were all about. I can even admit that I have posted a question or two in an online mom forum, where I’ve sought the opinion of other moms, but only after careful research and due diligence were done first on my part, and even then the question mostly pertained to non-baby related questions, such as recommendations for a nanny referral on a short-notice basis or reviews on a doctor or daycare, all of which were taken with a giant bag of salt.
As they say, opinions are like a certain body part, everyone has one. Thus, through that lens I filtered the information contained in each opinion using my own intelligent and rational mind, logic and common sense.
Today, thanks to the advent of modern technology, at the click of one’s fingertips, whether your pleasure may be Google or Bing or some other search engine, all of the information can be easily accessed without leaving the comfort of one’s own home. However, during both tours of duty fighting the good fight, I came to realize that thanks to the digitization of our lives, sadly people have become lazy, especially many moms, who rather than doing their computer finger tapping to look something up online from a trustworthy source of information, they waste the energy asking a multitude of questions, often the same ones, in online mom forums. Worse still, is that many forums have search tools contained within enabling one to look to see if the question they are thinking of asking has been asked before. Do you know how many times I’ve seen the same question asked several times over within a few or even same day period when the answers have already been provided? This cannot be attributed to ineptitude or lack of smarts, but rather laziness. And, I am not alone in my opinion.
Before everybody throws their arms up in rage and begins to type a vitriolic comment in response to my post, please note that I know very well that moms are a subset of octopus who have to grow multiple arms to multi-task at a million tasks taking care of oneself and kid(s) while maintaining home and career all in the same twenty-four hour period that existed B.C. (before children). Motherhood, especially when on maternity leave, can be an overwhelming and isolating experience regardless of whether you are having your first or nineteenth child. However, in the amount of time used to post the question and going back to review every shade of grey answer provided, had the mom in question taken half of that time to Google the answer to her question, their time and energy would have been better served. Given how accessible and readily available information has become and provided in digestible easy-to-read formats, one could find this material, read and understand it and even read a few more articles and discuss them with a trusted friend or two during a baby’s nap.  Polling a plethora of strangers and raising one’s child by committee is not the same as relying on the maxim that it takes a village to raise a child, especially if that village is full of idiots.
I am not a sanctimonious or preachy person by nature. I really don’t care what others do in their life so long as it’s legal and doesn’t negatively affect mine. However, when I read the grating questions that defy logic and reason, prompting me to question whether one should have a license to prove their fitness to become a mother (or a father if the offender is a man), it affects me because these are the same people raising kids who will co-exist with mine, leading one to worry that we will have a generation of lazy kids who won’t think for themselves on our hands because they followed the example lead by their parents.
In the spirit of all things satirical and jest, I’ve composed a composite of my top five favourite, often duplicated, online mom questions of all time and provided the answers that many wish to provide, but tact prevents them from doing so. For the sake of clarity, the answers provided are not to be followed, nor are they parenting advice. Well, tact be out the window and away we go.
Question 5:
My toddler fell today. He cut his forehead wide open and it gushed a ton of blood, and he now has a goose egg sized bump where his left temporal lobe used to be. I didn’t take him to the ER because he seemed sleepy, and I didn’t want to waste an opportunity for him to nap, so I let him drift off in the car. The munchkin was so good that he didn’t even wake when being moved from car to crib.  What a peaceful sleeper. The bleeding stopped, but should the doctor see him in the morning?
Answer: Poor baby! Didn’t anyone ever tell you never to wake a sleeping baby? Definitely let him sleep it off, but don’t try to give him Tylenol or Advil in his sleep because then he may NEVER wake up. Take advantage of his long slumber for some much deserved “me” time – get a mani-pedi, read a book or focus on losing the pesky baby weight that never came off. You never get to do that when he’s up! It’s so great that the bleeding stopped on it’s own, but you may want to consult a plastic surgeon so that your sweet sleeping angel doesn’t have a nasty scar.

Question 4:
Where do I buy/find [insert ANY good or service]?
Answer: Don’t you just wish that a searchable database existed, whether in print or online, where you could find that answer? Better yet, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way that whatever we wanted could just appear when we thought of it? As for where to actually buy something, I’ve been told that there are these mythical places that stock such items, and it’s called a “store.” The “store” may have what you are looking for. Regarding the service, I think that there are people who perform them. They may even drive trucks with their company name and phone number on them or advertise on bus benches and maybe even online. Good luck on your search and if you do find your precious item or service please share it with the rest of us so we can create a directory and share it with the world. I can’t believe that one doesn’t already exist!

Question 3:
My baby is twelve months old and two days. At what age can I feed my baby [insert ANY type of food]?
Answer: Babies need to eat food? Just kidding, I don’t eat only milk so I know that they have to eat food. I thought that they only drank milk forever and ever. It’s really too bad that doctors don’t tell us moms what and when babies can eat different types of food. I would really hate it if I accidentally gave my baby botulism by feeding it honey before it was a year old. Is your baby a year yet? You said it was twelve months and two days old, but is that the same thing? I wonder how other moms figured out what to feed their babies. I guess I am just not a super smart genius mom. I think it is great that you are asking other moms because there must be at least one of those super smart genius moms in this forum who has the answer. What if my kid is lactose intolerant? Shit, then I’m screwed.

Question 2:
My baby won’t sleep! She keeps waking up and I never get to sleep because she never does. How do I get my baby to sleep?
Answer: OMG, I have the same issue. Not only could I not sleep because my baby wouldn’t sleep, but the baby kept crying and waking up the dog that would bark non-stop. I spoke to my doctor, the one who never told me what to feed my baby, and he told me to take two Valium at night right before bed. It worked for a while to help me fall asleep, but it didn’t prevent me from waking to the baby-dog duet. Then a light bulb went off in my head and figured that if Valium worked for me, why wouldn’t it work for my dog and kid for that matter? A careful and responsible mom, I tested my theory out first on my dog, giving him a Valium at night when I went to bed and he fell and stayed fast asleep until noon the next day. Since he woke up, I figured that as a human, the drug should also work on my baby if it worked on a canine. I’ve never been great at math, but doing some rough calculations, figuring that I am five feet tall and my baby is a little over 27 inches long, the baby could take 1 pill. I used the same theory for my dog and it worked. I left weight out of the equation because I am still losing baby weight. Last night, the three of  us our cocktail and we all fell asleep and I woke up refreshed this morning. The only issue is that now it is 3:00p.m. and the baby is still asleep and breathing (of course I checked, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t), but she won’t wake up. But, do you think  I should try to wake her or call the doctor?

Question 1:
My baby is CRYING! What do I do???
Answer: Have you tried asking your baby what is wrong and why she is crying? Obviously, you checked the baby’s diaper, fed her, put her down to sleep, rocked her, cuddled her, put her in the baby swing, taken her for a walk and done everything you can to settle her, including ensuring that she is not sick. That little whiner has some nerve to still cry! Maybe she’s had a super hard day being your baby and needs a glass of wine. Not a whole glass that would be irresponsible if not negligent parenting, but maybe a few ounces? It’s really tough being the baby of a mama who is constantly trying to parent by asking other moms on the Internet how to settle the baby down. Hell, I’d cry too. Have you tried calling your pediatrician for a referral to a psychiatrist to help get to the root of the crying issue? Just know that thing with psychiatrists is that their first question is always “what was your relationship with your mother like?” Are you prepared for the answer? It might make you cry. Maybe ask for a joint referral.

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.
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