So, since, I am now, like officially responsible for the well being of another human being, I have been forced to look back on some of my pre-child thoughts and actions and reconsider my past opinions, here are are some of the more prominent things that I would like to take back.
YOUR DOG IS NOT A CHILD
Oh man, I'm going to be in the dog house with some people on this one. I get it, I've got three dogs and I'm about a pet away from having an Animal Hoarders episode of my own. And I love my dogs, I really really do. And there was a point that I thought that my dogs were my children and I loved them as much as any mother ever loved any child.
I get it, sometimes your dog will pee in the house and you have to clean it up, or sometimes you've gotta rush the dog to the vet and it's really stressful, or maybe your dog wakes you up in the middle of the night and you seem like you are making a huge sacrifice.
It's not, in any way, at all, ever, the same as having a child. A human child is 100% lifetime commitment that requires more money and insanity than you will ever have the time to tally up. You cannot leave a child in the backyard all night if you want to go to dinner, you cannot just fill a child's bowl up with dry food and leave it out for them to eat at their leisure. Even if you have had to pick up an unfair amount of puppy oopsies, it is nothing like waking up at 3 in the morning to your screaming child because they have managed to crap all the way up to their neck and the only possible solution is to bathe the child and decontaminate the entire nursery, and by the time you are finished it will be PLAY TIME in the kid's mind and before you know it you've pulled an all-nighter.
And I can promise you, this is just scratching the surface. Anytime I hear anyone call their dog a baby I cringe and have to keep myself from saying "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were permanently, physically scared and disfigured bringing that Pomeranian into the world."
BREASTFEEDING IS A BITCH
I knew that the second I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed my child. Because, I'm like, a dog lover, I had seen more than my fair share of puppy shows, where some golden retriever gives birth to like, 14 puppies and they immediately meander their sleepy little faces up to the mama dog and drink to their hearts' content. It's natural and beautiful, and totally instinctual- if a dog can do it, I can too, yes? I secretly judged all women who gave their children formula as selfish and ignorant.
The truth is, it's SUPER HARD and absolutely nothing feels natural about the whole process. You and your newborn child are both total idiots when it comes to this, and you will likely spend two weeks screaming at each other trying to get it right. Not only that, it HURTS. Plus, you know that post birth margarita you've been thinking about for 9 months? Forget about it. Anyone who has the audacity to say 'pump and dump' has no clue how hard it is to actually produce that milk, and for the love of Jesus, you DO NOT THROW THAT STUFF AWAY.
On top of all of this, everyone has a GD opinion on breastfeeding. From the people who think it's downright disgusting to the proud liberated women who whip a boobie out in the middle of REI to feed their three year old, it's a total hot button issue. I didn't feel like talking about it with anyone because it made me so uncomfortable knowing that the person was going to lean one way or another and either way, I was probably doing it wrong.
That said, the baby got his first tooth at 7 months and I happily celebrated by running to the store and picking up a tub of Enfamil and a 6-pack of beer.
NATURAL CHILDBIRTH IS FOR THE BIRDS
I was, absolutely, positively convinced that I was going to hypnotize myself into having a beautiful, natural childbirth. Women have been giving birth this way for thousands of years right? What's the big deal?
Thank god for modern medicine. I spent 6 hours of terrible unmedicated labor and I really couldn't figure out if I was alive or dead anymore. When I finally got the epidural right before my c-section it was the greatest relief of my entire life.
Really, what the hell was I thinking? There really is no reason to put yourself through that type of pain if you don't have to. And you don't 'owe it to your child' to give them a natural birth. The kid is not going to give a crap, trust me. You will spend the rest of your life laboring over that thing, so really, why start it off so painfully if you don't have to?
I think what really bothers me is the amount of guilt that is laid upon mothers who don't manage to go natural. I get that women are in a constant game of trying to prove that they are better than one another, but I don't think that a good mother is defined by whether or not she took pain meds to aid her in becoming one. Yes people in the middle ages did it naturally, but the infant/mother mortality rate was significantly higher than it is now. We live in a modern world. Embrace it.
TODDLERS ARE NOT EVIL CREATURES
But they are really good at acting like it in public. Before I had a kid of my own, I kinda hated children. Every time I saw them in public they seemed like dirty, demanding little demons set out to destroy the lives of their parents.
My kid is generally a pretty decent little guy. He's smiley and loving and causes me minimal grief. You would never believe that if you saw him at the grocery store. He manages to lose half his clothing before I get inside and has this lovely little trick of 'pulling my shirt down' whenever I try to put him in the basket. Also, the florescent lighting in a grocery store has the amazing ability to illuminate every speck of dirt on his body. I'll look down at him and he looks like he's been playing in the mud all day. I swear I bathe my kid. Talk about hell in a basket! I'm 89% convinced that they pump something into the air at the store to make kids act up.
So when you see a screaming, dirty, half dressed child in a grocery store, just remember that he might actually be an OK kid once you get him home.
Let's see what I have to say about teenagers in 14 years.