Crib Sheet: The motherhood-as-misery expose

Feb 9, 2013 Full story: New Statesman

Expecting your first baby? Then allow me to patronize the living daylights out of you! I already have kids, you see, which makes me wise and all-knowing, whereas you don't have a single clue about what awaits you.

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SilverSwanbabies

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

#1 Feb 9, 2013
Some people just never were cut out to be a parent. Don't you recall any of the daily joys of parenting.
Ocean56

AOL

#2 Feb 10, 2013
Many parents recall the joys of parenting, myself included. Some of us also recall the HARDSHIPS of motherhood, which for some mysterious reason are never mentioned, especially by conservatives.

If girls and young women think school or work is hard now, they should know that becoming a mother will be ten times harder. Many mothers and grandmothers don’t tell young girls and women in their family exactly how HARD motherhood truly is, for reasons known only to them. I strongly disagree with the practice of keeping girls in ignorance of this. I believe they NEED to know what being a mother will require of them, so they can make an informed decision about being a mother, even if it means some girls will decide not to be mothers at any point in their lives. That is just fine if some don't want to be mothers. Not all girls or women are suited to be moms, and choosing NOT to be a mother is just as valid as the choice to be one.

Some of the hardships mothers of all ages will face once a baby arrives include -- but are not limited to -- the following:

1. Loss of freedom
2. Loss of sleep
3. Loss of money
4. Loss of education and job/career opportunities
5. Loss of mobility
6. Loss of private time
7. Dealing with colic

There is no escaping the fact that becoming a mother makes a girl’s/woman's life much HARDER and she loses most, if not all, of the benefits and comforts she had before she got pregnant. Too many girls/women are PRESSURED into having children by family members and/or religious community, and purposely aren't told just how very hard motherhood is until AFTER they have had a baby. I think it is high time that changed. If some girls/women decide they don't want the hardships of motherhood, that is fine. The choice for a woman to be childfree is just as valid and respectable as the choice to be a mother.
Ocean56

AOL

#3 Feb 11, 2013
If girls and women think school or work is hard now, they should know that becoming a mother will be ten times harder. Many mothers and grandmothers don’t tell young girls and women in their family exactly how hard motherhood truly is, for reasons known only to them. I strongly disagree with the practice of keeping girls in ignorance of this. I believe they NEED to know what being a mother will require of them, so they can make an informed decision about being a mother, even if it means some girls will decide not to be mothers at any point in their lives. That is just fine if some don't want to be mothers. Not all girls or women are suited to be moms, and choosing NOT to be a mother is just as valid as the choice to be one. Some of the hardships mothers of all ages will face once a baby arrives include -- but are not limited to -- the following:

HARDSHIP #1: LOSS OF FREEDOM - Having a baby really does change everything, including the freedom that girls and women used to have in abundance. Once the baby arrives, that freedom will be gone, for at least the next five or six years and possibly longer. Teen girls and young women who become moms can forget about going out with friends, whether to the movies, to hang out at their favorite restaurant or coffee shop, or anywhere else for that matter. If they do go out, they’ll have to take the baby with them if their parents refuse to babysit. If the baby is sick or very cranky for any number of reasons, girls will end up staying home instead of going out. Girls who are still in middle or high school will find it much harder to do their homework assignments or study for exams when they have to care for a baby as well. It will be a very long time before girls get any of their former freedom back.

HARDSHIP #2: LOSS OF SLEEP - The first thing girls and women have to know about motherhood is that newborn babies do NOT sleep eight hours a night. All mothers, myself included, can honestly say that babies can – and do – wake up during the night as many as two or three times. Each time the baby wakes up, mom has to get up with the baby, feed the baby, change the baby’s diaper (which could be a messy one), and then get the baby back to sleep. When my son was a newborn baby, there were nights where I got NO sleep whatsoever. Luckily for me, I had completed high school and post-high school education long before that, so I didn’t have to get up at 5:00am to go to school after having almost no sleep. Those who are teen moms will not be so lucky.

HARDSHIP #3: LOSS OF MONEY - Whatever money a girl/woman used to spend on herself will have to be spent on the baby, and that cost is far more than most girls could begin to anticipate. These costs include diapers, food, clothing, baby equipment (car seat, crib, stroller, baby carriers, baby and child toys, etc.) and so much more. Anyone who wants to do the math can begin their research by going to their local grocery store and checking out the baby food and diaper sections. Just make sure you have a notebook and calculator, because you will need to multiply those costs for each item several times per week. That’s just for food and diapers, you haven’t even started on the costs for clothing, baby equipment and toys. That will add a staggering amount to your calculations, and the sum will be far higher than you could imagine. If you plan to put the baby in day care for any amount of time during the week, you will have to add up those costs too. Get the picture now? Having a baby costs a HUGE amount of money, which many girls and young women simply do not have, unless they have wealthy parents.
Ocean56

AOL

#4 Feb 11, 2013
HARDSHIP #4: LOSS OF EDUCATION AND JOB/CAREER OPPORTUNITIES – As hard as it is to acknowledge, a working mother of any age cannot have the same kind of freedom, flexibility or mobility as a woman without children has. If a girl cannot complete high school due to the demands of motherhood, she will not be able to go to college or vocational school, as both typically require a high school diploma first. That automatically limits her ability to find good employment, and she may well have to settle for a minimum wage job, which pays far less than what is needed to raise a child comfortably. Girls and women who complete high school may find that many jobs require a college degree or vocational school certificate, and without those, she may still not be able to get a job that pays a decent salary. A high school diploma alone is no guarantee of good employment, but all girls need one if they hope to advance to higher levels of education that their chosen job or career requires.

HARDSHIP #5: LOSS OF MOBILITY – Those who don’t have children have a rather naďve idea that parents can just as easily take a baby with them whenever they go out. They are half right. Yes, parents can take a baby out with them, but it is far from easy. Even going to the grocery store with a baby can be a huge hassle. First they have to get the baby dressed, which can be difficult when the little one is happy being home and doesn’t want to be dressed to go out. After getting baby dressed, which can take much longer than mom expected, mom then has to put baby into the car seat, get baby out of the car seat when she arrives at the store, then carry baby around until she can find a cart with an infant carrier. Most grocery stores have very few of those, as I personally discovered long ago. Some may not have any. Going to a restaurant with a baby can also be very stressful, especially if baby suddenly begins crying or screaming for unknown reasons. Mothers who walk into restaurants with screaming or crying babies will find themselves the object of hostile stares, which usually last until they finally have to leave.
Ocean56

AOL

#5 Feb 11, 2013
HARDSHIP #6: LOSS OF PRIVATE TIME – When a baby arrives, a mom will quickly find that she doesn’t have privacy any more. If she used to read books for hours with few or no interruptions, that will no longer be an option for her. If she is a teen mom who needs quiet time to complete her homework assignments or study for important final exams, that won’t be possible either. A baby will demand her attention many times during the day, so she won’t have private time for doing the things she enjoys or needs to complete.

HARDSHIP #7: DEALING WITH COLIC – For girls/women who are unaware, colic is a long period of crying, screaming and shrieking that can last for many hours a day, and even all night. It can begin when the baby is as young as three weeks old, and it can go on until the baby is five months old. My son had colic for almost two months as an infant. For me, it seemed more like two years. During that time, the crying usually began in the early evening and would last until past midnight. I would walk around the small apartment, carrying him in my arms, for hours trying to comfort him, but nothing I did really worked. He wouldn’t eat, and he most certainly didn’t sleep, and I was a wreck as a result. Being deprived of sleep, with a colicky baby on top of that, can really feel like torture for a mom after a while. I was no exception.

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