There’s that look again. The same “Oh my God what is wrong with you?” look that I’ve received enough times for me to know what they are thinking. I just told her that I don’t like babies. All while holding my eight-week-old and my four-year-old is running around. People look at me like I have three heads or just told them that I don’t like Tom Hanks or something/someone else everyone else in the world loves.
Yes, I do not like babies.
The look usually is accompanied by a series of questions. “How did you have two of them then?” or “How can you not love babies?” It never takes me long to retort my standard answer, “They are a lot of work.” But, in reality that’s an understatement. In the confines of my own home, with my like-minded husband, we complain to each other almost daily about how much work it is. You could say we were scarred by our first experience as parents. Our older son had one of the worst cases of colic that has probably ever existed. He cried and cried for about six months straight before he even started to calm down. It was awful.
Then, we were crazy enough to do it again four years later. Our current baby is actually what most people would call a “good baby.” He doesn’t cry that much, and if he does it’s because he is wet, hungry, or needs a good burp. But, he’s still a baby. I had forgotten how much work they are. The endless days that turns into endless nights that turn into days again, all without sleep. The not fun parts: constantly washing bottles, trying to get tiny diapers onto a wiggly body, the 7:00 p.m. crying jags, having to constantly carry him around, and the awful smell of newborn baby poop.
This is just my own baby I’m talking about. Forget about other people’s babies. When a friend or family member has a baby I, of course, will go visit or look at their pictures. But, deep down, I’m really not that interested. I’m happy for them to have a new member of their family but I really don’t want to hold them or sit and ooh and awe over them for hours on end.
This is a feeling that goes back as far as I can remember. I was never that little girl that carried around her baby doll or wanted the role of the mommy when playing with friends at school. When my little brother was born when I was eight years old, I really wanted nothing to do with him until he started crawling around and could play with me without being broken.
I know I sound like a monster. I swear I am not. I can appreciate how darn cute they can be. The chubby cheeks that only get chubbier with each passing month. The way they look at you and you just know they are studying your face and associating it with the voice they’ve been hearing for months while in your womb. The quiet little noises they make while they sleep soundly in your arms. I enjoy all of those things. But, I am very realistic in my life and in my parenting. Having a baby is a lot of work! Anyone that says differently is not telling the truth.
I love my children and being a mom is my most beloved role. As a woman that struggled with infertility and lost two babies in that process, I am very grateful for my two healthy boys. But, my oldest is now a four year old and I have to say I love this age. He can tell me what he wants, for the most part is quite independent, and I can walk around my house hands free to do what I want or need to get done. Now with a newborn in tow, my time is limited, as well as my sanity.
My mother-in-law and mom keep telling me to “Cherish this time, it goes by so fast,” and I appreciate their insight, but I’m not going to look back on all of this and wish I was here again. Not the 3:00 a.m. feedings when I’m watching yet another infomercial on no sleep while my husband snores upstairs. Nor carrying the car seat out to the car, alongside the diaper bag, packed with everything except the kitchen sink. No, I’m not going to miss it.
I really look forward to celebrating my son’s first year of life. From there on out is my favorite time. The first year is tough. No matter how good your baby is. I can’t wait for the days of attending karate lessons, events at their schools, and being able to take both of my children out to a restaurant without a crying infant. Until then, I suppose I can try and enjoy the smell of his little head as I rock him to sleep. I can try.
OK, I do enjoy some of it.