I Ask: What Weren’t You Told About Parenting?

Like nobody told me that I didn’t have weekends off.

Most mornings I would step on Cheerios.

And EVERY SINGLE DAY I would say some variation of: GREAT POOPY!

So out of this plethora of joy, confusion and downright lies, I am creating and co-facilitating a moms group with Commonwealth Parenting starting this fall.

And I named it: Nobody Told Me!

Because DUH! That’s life as a mom.

Oh and when I was asked to co-facilitate? Did I say YIPPEE? Nope. I thought she was joking. Seriously. The DMs went something like this:

Commonwealth Parenting: Brilliant! LOVED the post. Can you come lead my parent support group?

My interpretation of the DM: Brilliant. Fun to laugh at you. Can you lead a parent support group HAHAHA Yeah right.

My ACTUAL DM: are u serious? &thx for the encouragement. I dont do “help u” posts often so I was worried it flopped. but it felt good write it so I was ok

I’m very business-like. I think it was my worry about the post flopping that reeled her in.

But instead MY BLOG GOT ME A JOB!

So if you live in or around Richmond and you are a mom, sign up HERE. The first group is on Wednesday, September 29th from 6:30-8:30 p.m..

It’s free!

It’s awesome!

It may or may not include me wearing a red velour jumpsuit!

And if you are out-of-town, I’m creating a podcast recap after each class, which will be available to attendees and non-attendees alike. (only on the topics. NOT on who attended or what they said. mostly because I don’t want anyone to sound smarter than me. but a little bit because I want to create a safe space in the group. don’t worry. i will describe the awesomeness of my red velour if I wear it. or perhaps use that as my album cover.)

You can subscribe to the podcast. Or just listen to my first podcast (and sadly my twenty-seventh take. Also, I start out speaking really slow to make up for my Yankee-ness. I get over it quickly so bear with me. on a positive note, you get to hear how to pronounce my last name. And I end with a bad joke. Actually don’t listen and just subscribe to the wonderful podcasts of the FUTURE.)
[powerpress]
(Oh, the feed keeps showing up as Late Enough instead of Nobody Told Me so if you aren’t going to do it in iTunes, it may be to confusing unless you change the title in your reader. And I would be up all night if I waited for iTunes to stop thinking Punk Rock Barney is my first podcast. Dude, I’m NEW AT THIS.)

Be there or be square. (I promise not to say that at the group. Or like ever again.)

So I ask EVERYONE whether you are attending or shut off my podcast fifteen seconds into it: What weren’t you told about parenthood?

Answer that I didn’t pick because she’s attending my class, but because I felt it in my gut. Amy B writes: I’m definitely signing up for your class, it’ll be great to see you again! Nobody told me that my visions wouldn’t be reality in child-rearing. I had all of these grand ideas and plans yet hardly any of them have worked out (i.e. natural birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, potty-training, weaning from pacifiers, etc., etc., etc.). I also wish someone had told me that it’s OK that they didn’t work out, it would have really helped with the mommy-guilt.

Answer that gave me the chills. And not because I’m sick. elisabeth writes: No one told me so I would understand how much or many times your older teenagers would break your heart. No one told me how much I would miss those sweet little boys, and I do. People did tell me they would grow up so fast, and they were right. The blink of an eye and they are ready to go.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

43 thoughts to “I Ask: What Weren’t You Told About Parenting?”

  1. I’m sure there will be lots when I get there…but I will miss seeing you in the red velour suit…funny when I picture you you are often wearing it =)

    1. HA! I needed a lot of help not taking myself too seriously in med school.

      Since the podcasts are bound to be famous, I’l sure that they’ll still be around when you start the baby-making 😉

    1. Yes! While we encourage mamas to come by themselves, I would NEVER want someone to not attend because of childcare issues.

      Can you email me your kids ages and your comfort level with a sitter? I’m contemplating some ideas around childcare stuff if we have an extra room available at the Innsbrook facility. ([email protected])

  2. What WAS I told about parenting?

    Honestly. There is no manual. No one warns you about the downside. It’s all, oh, what a pretty baby.

    Newsflash: they grow up to be obnoxious teens.

    1. Yes, THE BABY IS SO SWEET does not help on two hours of sleep.

      PS. Thanks for the news flash – just in case they weren’t overwhelming now… And luckily my co-facilitator has some teens to share on… or complain about.

  3. It gets better when they turn 25 and start asking for less money. You know you’re a parent when you go to pick up some poop to discover it’s not from the dog.

    1. Thanks!

      I loved this. I can still go there when I’ve decided that Scott’s not DOING ENOUGH or UNDERSTAND ENOUGH. But it usually lasts two hours instead of two months. Or until I get my way. Or do it myself. Depending on how much of a baby I’M BEING.

  4. Congrats!
    I would say that no one ever reminded me to take time for myself. That babies do just fine when they’re not held 24/7. I was afraid to leave the room.

    1. Excellent comment! But I wonder where the line is between not enough and too much. At what point can you ignore them crying in the middle of the night and at what point do you have to get up?

      1. True, there is a line. I guess I was gearing the comment more toward the moms that do nothing for themselves. I remember when my first was born, and I was hesitant to pick up a book, grab the telephone, look on my computer. “How can I do this? I have a baby?” Totally delusional, but sometimes people need the simple reminder that the baby has needs, but really doesn’t need to get in the way of everything. I’m so impressed by friend with new babies who are up and about, showered, dressed, made up, out of the house, and then I realize that’s it’s totally possible if you just decide to keep somewhat to your old routine.

        1. I always marvel at the first time moms who are so good about taking time for themselves. I was so afraid. I didn’t even want to leave my first with my HUSBAND and he’s a PEDIATRICIAN! I was nuts. And getting a life outside of my children was the best thing I could’ve done.

      2. I think that line is elusive. I often think we expect too much of your children in some areas (like toddlers sitting still for “circle time”) but don’t expect enough of our children in other areas (being too afraid of our kids getting hurt).

        And of course some parents aren’t interested in parenting. The whole child-as-accessory. (Which as LZ said, isn’t how she meant it so I wont go into the other side since she did such a good job with it below!)

  5. Great post. Totally had fun reading it. With regards to your question about what I wasn’t told about parenting, it’s constantly stepping on toys scattered around the house, and that you could faint with too much poop scattered on the carpet.:-)

  6. I’m not a parent just an aunt but no one told me how AWESOME kids are!
    Kids use to make me uncomfortable and I did not want them of my own but now I know how hilarious and cute they can be which helps get past how annoying they can be! hehe 🙂

  7. No-one told me that you must DILIGENTLY clean a baby’s neck every day, or the develop that lovely substance that we came to call neck cheese. Mmm…

  8. all I can say is that nobody told me and i had NO idea how much P-O-O-P is involved in stay-at-home-parenthood of small children. yeesh. some days, between diaper changes and potty activities (we have never once dealt with constipation, much to my dismay) and oh yes, the dog too, it’s half my job description …and totally not my favorite part. Not to mention that, ironically, when i need a moment on the throne there are always sudden, catastrophic, tear-inducing disasters in the next room… you can’t win.
    I’m taking this one up with the Big Guy one day – couldn’t they come into the world with a desire for potty training? or at least, with a built-in-knowlege that poop is totally gross? That’s not too much to ask, is it? othwerwise, they’re beautifully adorable and I love my daily grind with the small people – just not that one little repetitive, neverending, part : )

  9. YAY! I am all happy for you, and love to hear about jobs come from blogging ot twitter to some kind of fulfillment outside of the home.

    It gives me hope.

    You will rock at this.I know it.

    My tip: What no one told me?

    This: “marriage? what marriage? that first baby year, there is no marriage. it’s all survival.”

    Wish I would’ve known that, and I would’ve lightened up on my husband. I was in Over my Head, people. A colicy baby that never slept and always screamed.

    Oh, yeah, good times.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

      I totally agree that at various times in parenting we have to be in survival mode (whether a colicky baby or a rebellious teenager) and just remember to be vaguely kind to each other and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Good for me to remember.

    1. I wish you could, too! We’d have way too much fun in a group together!

      PS. You can subscribe to the podcast. (it’s a little confusing. you go to the second group and click on itunes and it should show up in your podcast section of itunes) And I’d love any comments or feedback or questions ANY TIME!

  10. I’m definitely signing up for your class, it’ll be great to see you again!

    Nobody told me that my visions wouldn’t be reality in child-rearing. I had all of these grand ideas and plans yet hardly any of them have worked out (i.e. natural birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, potty-training, weaning from pacifiers, etc., etc., etc.). I also wish someone had told me that it’s OK that they didn’t work out, it would have really helped with the mommy-guilt.

  11. Fabulous! I will try to attend when I can!

    There are many things I was not told but many things I was told and either didn’t believe or had no way of understanding.

    A few that jump out at me (still):
    – breastfeeding is not always a wonderful experience for everyone
    – you will understand where mothers come from but you will continue to judge others and they will judge you
    – when you want to be a SAHM, but can’t, you sometimes hate your fabulous sitter for no reason
    – babies get colds a lot and you don’t have to go to the doctor every time
    – while you love your baby – you hate the fact they are a newborn
    – the decision if and when to have the 2nd is WAY harder than the decision to have the 1st

    Ok, I’ll save some for your group…

    1. Oh I can’t wait to meet you!

      I loved that you write about judging others AND them judging you. Although I feel more tolerant than I was before I became a mom, just the other day I saw a little girl on the playground and immediately thought: BATH. And looked at the mom.

  12. Here’s what no one told me:
    No amount of pushing or prodding or reading the right stories will get a child on the potty sooner. They do it in their own time. (And sadly, constipation in a young one is horrid and can lead to accidental poop spurts too. TMI. sorry. That’s probably why no one told me.)
    Every baby is different. Those things that were magic cure alls for #1 just don’t work the same for #2. Or anyone else’s baby. And finding the magic tricks is trial and error. Except silly voices. Every kid likes those. And fart sounds. (back to scatology!)
    Its okay to not listen to anyone else. Your instincts are there for a reason.
    Its okay to be sad sometimes. Motherhood isn’t all perfume and roses. Maybe Ead de poop and torn up flowers. Which is funny half the time.

    Congrats Alex! Sounds like a great gig!

    1. I’m pretty sure there is no TMI with poop on this blog 😉

      And I can’t agree more with each child is different. I felt so lost when my second slept well and didn’t feed well. I had NO experience with that. ARGH!

      And I love that you wrote it’s okay to be sad. I needed to be reminded of that.

  13. No one told me so I would understand how much or many times your older teenagers would break your heart. No one told me how much I would miss those sweet little boys, and I do. People did tell me they would grow up so fast, and they were right. The blink of an eye and they are ready to go.

    1. This gave me the chills. A reminder to cherish today. But also remembering all the ways I hurt my parents in my late teenage years. Throw in some fear around my own heart breaking in 10-12 years and I’m glad my co-facilitator can field the teenage questions form the parenting perspective!

      Thank you for sharing.

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