Stop Me Before I Give You Advice
posted by Amy

My youngest child is turning five in a few months. Middle boy is a scary tall second-grader. My oldest is entering sixth grade. And me? I'm entering the annoying advice-giving, it'll-be-okay-the baby-will-grow-out-of-it stage. (And anyone who is thinking, "ENTERING that stage? Try BORN in that stage..." can just be quiet, although completely correct.)

Catherine Newman sums up that ambivalence I always feel when I try to comfort a sleep-deprived mama friend who wants to know that it all gets easier eventually and that the phrase "sleeping like a baby" IS a sick inside mama joke that means "never sleeping more than twenty minutes at once and then only if at least two-thirds of said baby's body is touching some part of the mama's body."

Maybe that tired mama is secretly thinking, "Uh, yeah, like I'm going to listen to you, person who nursed for ten thousand years and has apparently lost the ability to sleep through the night herself even though her kids now FINALLY sleep in their own beds all night long." More likely, she's vowing never to give advice to new mamas who just need to be listened to and fed and hugged. Oh god. Now I'm giving advice about how to comfort new mamas.