It must be really annoying to hear “that’s a first time mom thing.” As a third time mother, I can certainly relate to thinking it. When I walk past the aisles of pacifier wipes or see other mothers scramble to keep their child from looking at their phone screens for fear of damaging her baby’s development, I have thought “first timer.” But maybe they’re not. Maybe they’ve done their research and this is one of the things they feel are important for even their fifth child. Whatever the reason, it’s never fair belittle a parent’s concerns.
As a first time parent, we are so vulnerable. At every turn, there is new advice, new profound ideas to make your child smarter or happier or more well balanced. We feel like everything we do might be wrong. I remember hating breastfeeding the first time around. It hurt every single time and I cried. But my mother in law insisted that it was the only healthy way, and asked me “what do you think they used to do in the olden days?” Well, they died Brenda. Lots of babies died. My concern that I wasn’t taking care of myself was suppressed, and I cowered to the expectations of this “more seasoned” parent. But that’s not how it should be. Our concerns as parents are always justified. If you’re afraid that your baby might get sick from your friend’s hands, then you have every right to tell your friend to keep her hands out of his mouth! You should never feel apologetic or foolish for doing what comes naturally: protecting your offspring every way you know how.
From the perspective of a third time mother with two teenagers, I can attest to the enormity of consequences with teenage decisions versus baby decisions. I care less about organic cotton onesies and more about making sure my 14 year old doesn’t do drugs and ruin his life. But my current fears do not trivialize the very real fears of the mother next to me. That her baby could get sick, or that she failed to give him every opportunity to develop properly and fully. As mothers, we need to follow the trend of building each other up, support one another, and understand that even though we are not taking the same path, we are aiming for the same destination. They say it takes a village, and that’s true. Even if that village needs to lather sanitizer over their entire upper body before touching the baby. 🙂