Friday, October 4, 2013

Things Not to Say to a New Parent

As many of you probably know, I'm a relatively new parent as my son is 3 months old. Things are generally going quite well. He's happy and healthy which are the most important things. I've read some stories about babies who cry for hours on end, who won't sleep through the night going on a year, or other difficulties that don't seem to be coming up for me. Which is great, on the whole I feel very lucky. On the other hand, having a baby is extremely difficult, and sometimes I complain about things. I'm generally looking for a "wow, that sucks man" or possibly some real advice if I'm searching for solutions to some problem I'm having online somewhere. More often than not, I seem to find answers that just tick me off more than anything. Here are a few of the highlights that just really get under my skin.

1. Just enjoy this time with him

This is the number one response that pisses me off, and I see it everywhere regardless of the question that is being asked. Most recently I found it as an answer to what to do to get your baby to take naps. My son very rarely takes naps during the day, but he needs naps and since he's not getting them he gets crankier and crankier throughout the day. I am enjoying him, but not right now, because he's crying, because he doesn't understand that he's tired and I am having trouble getting him to sleep. I'm asking for help to learn how to get him to take naps, why is this non-answer here? (BTW, we are starting to figure out his cues better, I don't get it right every time, but he usually gets at least 1 good nap a day, things are improving here)

2. When he starts talking he'll just start talking back

This was at about 1 month, I was lamenting that his only form of communication was to cry, regardless of the problem. Whether he's hungry, tired, cold, hot, bored, or has a wet diaper, all he can do is cry. I was wishing that he could tell me what was wrong. I find this answer thoroughly unhelpful. Yes, there will be difficulties later, that doesn't negate difficulties now.

3. Think about how much sleep you'll lose when he's driving

It's no secret that new parents don't get that much sleep. As someone who has insomnia and therefore has spent a lot of his life on insufficient sleep, I thought I'd be pretty much okay. I'm not, it's really hard. The problem is you never get the chance to catch up. It's almost impossible to catch a nap during the day, and he wakes up every night to eat (my wife feeds him and I burp him). We can cope, but it's hard. I'm just looking for a "dude that sucks" and possibly "it will get better soon once he gets a bit older". Fuck you people who think you're being clever who say "just wait until _____, you won't be sleeping at all, hahaha". After we are getting regular sleep again and we are looking back these jokes will probably make me chuckle, right now keep it to yourself.

4. What did you expect?

One of the most difficult things has been lack of time to do...well...anything. It's hard enough to keep up on everyday chores (of which the baby contributes a lot, babies go through a ton of laundry, and washing bottles and pump parts takes more time than you would think) let alone something recreational like a blog (I've been working on my Exodus 7 post for almost 2 weeks). But don't complain about it to the wrong person or all you'll get is "babies are hard, you should have known that, what did you expect?" I expected to have no free time, but this is worse than I thought it would be. But even if I had expected exactly this, it doesn't make it suck any less to be constantly working your ass with no end in sight.

I think people just don't know what to say or they are trying to be funny, but seriously, all you need to say is "dude, sounds rough" or perhaps "yeah, that first part is hard, but it gets better" or "soon you'll be able to read him better and it won't even matter that he can't talk". These answers have made me really want to tell some people to fuck right off.

[Note: Yesterday (when I started writing this) was a really shitty day. Today was actually a pretty damn good day, and it feels a bit weird to post this. Meh, I'm sure I'll be grumpy again in a few days and this post will seem appropriate again]


  1. Dude, that sounds rough. :-)

    I was just on a plane a couple days ago with a crying baby, and I was thinking exactly about how difficult and frustrating that must be, because you don't know why they are crying.

    It'll get better.

    1. haha, thanks man :)

      I am definitely dreading our next flight, it's going to be totally brutal

  2. Grumpy baby...grumpy goes with the territory. I raised five and the thing that helped me get them to relax and sleep best was soft music. They make excellent lullaby tapes for babies but classical works well also.

    1. Music is a good idea. We have tried lullabies with pretty low success. Classical music is a good idea though


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