Whether you’re a first-time mom or a mother ten times over, there are certain words you dread hearing in that first year following the arrival of your newest little one. For the sake of our general well-being, I suggest the following phrases be eliminated from all postpartum discussions:
Pre-baby body. Let’s see, are you talking about the body I had 2 weeks ago, or the one 9 months before that? No woman feels quite like herself in the weeks and, yes, even months following giving birth. The reality is that she’s learning to accept that she will never feel like her pre-baby self again. There are so many changes a woman goes through when she gives birth that encouraging her in any way to return to her “pre-baby” self is not only insulting, it’s illogical. Well-meaning folks can replace this common phrase with “new mommy body” instead, as in: “How are you settling into your new mommy body?” or preferably, “Are you making sure to take care of your new mommy body?”
When are you returning to work? I birthed work, pal, and I haven’t stopped since. Seriously, why is it always presumed that women are going to pop a kid out and get back to the office? I lost track of the amount of times I’ve been asked, “Oh, you’re at home with him?” with an odd look. The follow-up is even better: “So you’re going to go back once he starts school, right?” Hon, if I survive the next few years with my sanity intact I’m taking a Netflix sabbatical during kindergarten. The truly curious should try: “Are you going back to your old job?” Because whether or not you’re still working, that job is now your old one. The new one is in the crib and needs a diaper change, pronto.
What do you DO all day? Just, no.
Baby Mozart. Here’s the short story of why parents are easily sold on the “Mozart makes my kid smart” nonsense: A university professor had her students listen to Mozart before taking a test. Later, they took another test without listening to Mozart beforehand. They scored higher on the test they took after listening to Mozart. Conclusion: Mozart makes you smarter. Reality: Mozart makes you happier and more relaxed, as does most music, therefore you are more likely to perform better on any evaluated activity. Nervous parents still get rooked every time, as if enrolling your kid in Baby Mozart is the new way to keep up with the Joneses.
When are you guys going to get out? Asked of new parent couples the world-over, the answer is: We prefer to stay in, thank you very much. At some point, yes, we’ll probably get a sitter and go on a “date” and hopefully not fall asleep halfway through the movie. But, for right now we’re quite happy sitting on our couch and channel surfing in the 1.5 hours we have between when the toddler goes to bed and when we pass out against our will. Reminding us of all the fun we aren’t having doesn’t help. Suggesting Redbox or Netflix titles does.