The straight poop, so to say....
Perhaps the reason that so few people give good advice to new mothers is this: Real advice might scare the shit out of the most fearless of would-be mothers, steering them away from parenthood entirely.
In doing so, real advice would contribute to the end of the species. So the ass-vice givers are really just doing their part to perpetuate the human race by offering advice on only the more useless and banal aspects of parenthood, avoiding the nitty-gritty, more useful tidbits.
Steaming pile of ass-vice:
Maybe I am too good at blocking out what I don’t want to hear. I don’t recall getting a lot of ass-vice. I do recall reading Dr. Sears book on attachment parenting, choking back tears of despair and inadequacy on several occasions because I didn’t follow all of the parameters of what was deemed good attachment parenting. My daughter an I didn’t have an instant bond. Breastfeeding didn’t work out. I felt like I absolutely faked my way through the first month or two. Then I had to go back to work. Then I decided it was all too much, and I gave her away to a nice Lutheran couple. Just kidding about that last part.
There were a lot of things written in that book about mothers who were so in sync with their babies they always knew exactly what was wrong with them when they cried. I was not that mother, and reading about mothers like that made me feel like a total failure.
In fact, to this day, I avoid self-proclaimed "mother superiors" like the plague. I just don't have the time or energy to pretend to believe that kind of song and dance. If you can't commiserate, or make me laugh at both our inadequacies, you are of no use to me.
BUT: Thirty two months after having my daughter Maggie, I really can figure out a lot of what’s going on with her. I don’t always get it right. But oftentimes, I do. We just had to get to know each other. And I know my child like no one else could. You can't read it in a book. It just takes time.
Also, the people that say “sleep when the baby sleeps” have no idea the unannounced foot traffic we get at our house. My head hitting the pillow during the day is a damn near guarantee that at least three people will stop by unannounced. It’s like we live in a community drop-in center for the love of Pete.
Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. Don’t judge other mothers. Try not to allow yourself to feel judged by other mothers. Just figure out what works for you, and be content with what you can accomplish, while maintaining some semblance of self, and sanity.
And if you feel like you are as crazy as a shit-house rat, it’s not your fault. You just have a touch of the PPD, and you need to get your heine to a professional who will help get you back to feeling like yourself again.
In addition, the first few months are HARD, and it does get so much easier. I promise.