This week a pregnant mom with a child in tow, lamented on a parent group on Facebook that instead of an encouraging word, hug or smile, women tend to tell her how busy she’ll be, how it’s going to be so difficult, how her son will suffer because he won’t get her undivided attention and how expensive two kids are, etc.
This got me thinking about why we tend to put the fear of God into parents-to-be, especially when they decide to have more than one. While we’re probably warning this mom-to-be of the hardships she’ll be facing – are we really doing her a service by telling her how tough life will be when number two arrives. Or are we doing this to make ourselves feel better instead? Because we have, after all, been there, done that, worn the vomited up milk on our pyjamas and sported the ugly bed hair at 3am while pacing up and down the passage with a hysterical, inconsolable new born.
I tend to think it’s the latter reason. We’ve had number two and now we want to spread the word about how difficult it can be. Perhaps we do want to give an encouraging word to the mom in question but at the same time we’re really just trying to ensure that we’re not alone in our struggles. Perhaps we’re waiting for the response of: “Oh I know, I couldn’t get both of them to sleep until 4am,” or perhaps we’re looking for a tip that we haven’t heard of before.
So we’re not really trying to ‘scare’ we’re just trying to ‘share’, but in so doing we’re really just scaring. It’s probably because we weren’t told about how difficult it is to actually be a parent. Because if we were told the truth about how hard it is to be a parent most of us would probably never reproduce. EVER.
Either way, we should (me included) refrain from telling moms how hard it is and instead offer some words of encouragement like: “Having more than one means your children will never be alone,” or “We wondered how we would get by financially and for some reason it all worked out in the end and we managed.” There are, after all, enough concerns running through a new mom-to-be without other moms adding a whole long list of other worries to it.
What was encouraging though was that after this mom-to-be made the statement on the Facebook group a whole bunch of us showered her with words of encouragements. I share my favourites here:
- Live your life on your terms and always ensure that you, your partner and children are happy and healthy. You can do anything.
- It’s double the mess. Double the washing. Double the budget, double on everything. BUT, the best thing ever is to have both your babies lay in your arms sleeping, see them grow up together, and once the nappies and formula is done, it’s done.
- We mums are super heroes after all so just ignore all the negativity.
- They are a blessing and I wouldn’t want things any differently. My boys totally love each other and the older one entertains the baby
- Yes it is difficult, yes it is pressurised and it is expensive. But your children will be good friends, they will look out for each other, they will be each other’s support.
- You’ll be busy alright, but there’ll be moments that will make it all worthwhile. Like today my 3 year old kissed and hugged my 1 year old and said he loved him. Those are the best!
So the next time you see a mom-to-be why not try some words of encouragement rather. Resist the urge to share all your horror stories. Don’t scare by sharing! Because more likely than not, she’s recently been given all the horror stories by a family member, friend or the last stranger that she bumped into. Words of encouragement matter more for new and second time parents!