Why We’re Writing about Freak Outs and Sleep

After yesterday’s post, I got one or two questions along the lines of, “Why would you admit that you hated Liza?”

So here’s the thing. A lot of what parents deal with isn’t talked about, and when it is, it comes couched as advice or, worse yet, shared-misery gloating. When we were pregnant with Eli, suddenly other parents couldn’t wait to tell us how bad it would be. “You won’t sleep for months!” We heard stories of colicky babies, of kids who wouldn’t sleep, of the trouble moms had with breastfeeding. When we were pregnant with Liza, people would say, “Was Eli an easy baby? Then this one will be horrible!”

There’s a lot of contradictory advice available for parents. Being a new parent is such a stressful event that it can make you want the One True Way to Parent. Surely there’s a methodology that, if followed, will make my baby perfect! And given that capitalism abhors a vacuum, books and products and advice-peddlers have rushed to fill that need.

Other moms contribute to the stressed. Convinced that what worked for their kids will work for yours, and wanting the validation of having others follow their advice, they’re happy to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you’re likely to kill your baby if you don’t do what they say.

I am a believer in information. It’s better to know about things than not to know them. I’m also a believer in sharing experiences over dispensing advice. A lot of our parenting posts flow from these impulses.

Eli and Liza have been, by any measurement you can dream up, easy babies. They ate well, slept well, were happy, and weren’t colicky. Whenever we’re telling stories to friends, we often have to caveat them. “We’re worried about the trip to Arkansas, because Liza sometimes doesn’t like the car seat and will scream for a while. Er, not that it’s anywhere as bad as when your son screamed his way across three states.”

Even with how great they are, we still have Freak Outs. And I think it’s good for parents to know, hey, you’re not alone. It’s understandable to get to the point that you hate your baby and can’t stand to be around them.

If you’re not a parent, you may not care. We certainly didn’t! In our 20s, we had friends who had babies, and that was all they could talk about. It was diapers this and sleep schedules that. For those of you who are in that camp, thanks for bearing with us. There will be more lolpanion cube posts later, I’m sure.

9 thoughts on “Why We’re Writing about Freak Outs and Sleep

  1. When I read about the Freak Out, I had flashbacks. And then I thought, wow. He’s actually admitting this out loud? I am definitely in the hiding-things camp, to the point where I watch what I say with new parents because I don’t want them to think I was a bad person! It’s hard to be honest and upfront, so kudos to you.

    By the way, I was pretty bitter when I read Operating Instructions and realized it wasn’t that How To Perfectly Raise A Baby manual I was looking for!

  2. Yeah… raising kids is not easy. We still have our daily battles and the other health issues that go with it. The first few years were a real struggle for us with numerous hospital trips. And yes… we did our share of hiding as well.

    I remember recently being at the grocery store and hearing a very cranky baby. Oh man… I really wanted to reach out to the parents and give them a hug having been there before. When things like that happen, you just want to make yourself invisible.

  3. I really appreciate these posts; it’s good information for me, and helps me feel a little less scared.

  4. I like your up front information sharing. I think it’s healthy.

    People can’t understand what I mean when I say that I had to put the kid in her room for her own protection, or they laugh it off, perhaps because it’s easier to think of it as a joke.

    But it isn’t. We all reach that snapping point where just *one* more second and we’ll do something we regret.

    I used to wonder how someone could end up shaking their baby to death. Now I understand.

    I still wonder how someone crosses the line I’ve been at and actually snaps, and doesn’t realize how they got there – but I certainly understand how they get so frustrated that they get to that point.

    And Ivy is, by any measure you can dream up, an easy child to rear. Hopefully the upcoming one is too.

    Kudo’s to you guys for sharing.

  5. hell i hate my kids on a regular basis. and it gets so much easier to not want to be around them once they start talking and smarting off. parenting is a love hate relationship. just like you have with any other person that might bug the crap out of you on a regular basis. excise of for being human and having natural human reactions to situations that become beyond out level of tolerance. i am such a remove myself from the situation type person. or a put the situation in a room by itself while i gather myself. if you haven’t tried to raise kids you shouldn’t even comment on why parents feel so frustrated sometimes they don’t know which way is up.

  6. Stephen and Misty, I love hearing ALL about Eli and Liza. Your “up front” manner of sharing is so refreshing. Though I don’t have children, I know that new parents could glean much from what you reveal here.

  7. You wrote what I feel. There are days I just love going to work to get away from my little goober. There are also days I would rather be late than miss one more moment with him.

    You honesty makes me feel like I am doing a good job of being a Dad, that I am not the only one feeling those ways.

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