I’m a control freak and I know it. Many of my women friends are; we simply can’t help it. We’re so used to being in charge of everything, we forget that other people can sit in the driver’s seat if we let them. I realized much later than I’d care to admit, that if I allowed my husband to be completely in charge of our kids, the world didn’t end. And when I managed to restrain myself from micro-managing the details, he did (and still does) an amazing job! I caught myself often grumbling about why I was always the one packing for the kids when we went out of town, and why it was my job to be in charge of knowing when the kids' needed new shoes or coats. But before my feminist feathers got too ruffled, I really thought about it one day, and realized that I had set it up that way myself. So often I see new moms worry when they’re not completely in charge of their babies every detail. As new moms, we may feel compelled to give instructions about how to hold the bottle or change a diaper or put the baby down for a nap. But it’s important to remember that we have to back off and really, truly let dads develop their own parenting style. Moms go through the trial and error of learning to breastfeed, burp, soothe and get our babies to sleep. If you have a partner who really wants to be an active participant in caring for your baby/ies, by all means, don't stand in his way. Not only will you be more relaxed and have more time for yourself, you might just fall in love all over again watching him take charge and give you a much deserved break!
Crazy things happen when you become a mommy. You may experience an excruciatingly painful, unconditional love that brings you to your knees. There will likely be a roller-coaster of hormones, many sleepless nights and tears, breastfeeding challenges, potential postpartum depression; you name it, it’s all happening. And while you may be one of the rare few who (honestly) finds it all very natural and easy, the vast majority of us are scratching our heads thinking, Oh, crap, now what? And we figure it out, one way or another, in a process of trial and error. Usually at about the six week mark, new parents start feeling more confident and in control. The baby starts sleeping longer stretches, you get a few smiles; it all starts to feel somehow more manageable. These are things we can all anticipate on some level, right? But did you know that if you have a baby who sleeps through the night early on (I’ve heard as early as 5 or 6 weeks), that you absolutely must NOT talk about it with other new moms? Trust me on this, just don’t. The rest of the sleep-deprived mommies will hate you. It will make them feel like failures, and they won’t have a sense of humor about it. Believe me, I’ve been on both sides. If your baby sleeps through the night a freakishly early age, be smug in private and lie to the other moms.
If you’re having a boy, will he be circumcised? Have you thought about it? The U.S is the only industrialized nation that routinely circumcises boys, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated in their 1999 policy update that there’s no medical necessity for it, Holland basically denounces male circumcision in their 2010 statement, yet American boys are still routinely being circumcised in hospitals. Why? Female circumcision is considered “barbaric” and commonly referred to as genital mutilation, so why are our boys still being cut? I understand religious reasons (I’m half Jewish, and a briss with a mohel is far more humane than hospital circumcisions), but many Americans don’t even question it. You need to tell the attending pediatrician in the hospital if you don’t want your son circumcised! When I was pregnant with my son, I deferred to my husband, who instinctively thought that our boy would feel strange if his penis were different than his dad’s, and that it would be a locker room issue. I asked him to do the research and be in charge of the decision, because ultimately, I don’t have a penis and don’t understand the pros and cons and politics of foreskin. Ultimately, we chose NOT to have our son circumcised because we couldn’t find any medical reasons for it, and well, most of our friends did the same, which took away the locker room argument! What are you going to do?