July 3, 2013 in Features

Sis’s words ease new mom’s anxiety

Washington Post
 

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On sweating every little choice you make with a baby: I have a 6-month-old who is fun but challenging.

I desperately tried to get right with my totally reasonable decision to wean her at 3 months. My sister told me in the midst of one of my many early anxiety attacks: “All the things that are ‘best’ for baby are TINY fractions of a percentage point better than the ‘second best’ things. Family decisions are not made well on ‘the best for her.’ Instead they are made as a series of complex risk/benefit analyses that take into account the impact on everyone.”

Essentially, she granted me permission to be a family-centered parent, rather than a baby-centered parent – and that really works for me.

I’ve felt much calmer ever since. It was her modern, lovely way of telling me not to sweat the small stuff. – Calmer Than I Used to Be

On the down side of being a bombshell: Sure, getting doted on at restaurants or discounts at bars or let into clubs is great, but there’s a flip-side: the guy in his car who sees me and follows me into the restaurant I go into, or the guy from the bar that followed me into the bathroom.

The fact that I’m intelligent and have a perverse sense of humor doesn’t help in the least. I’ve had to learn to not be myself around men. I can’t touch them, or make dirty jokes, or laugh too much, or wear anything too sexy, or do anything that can appear as flirting.

And this is why, when I’m around my friends, or my husband’s friends, I let loose.

But all I want is to have normal relationships with men. And my friends are a safe place for that. My girlfriends know I’m not after their guys, the guys know I’m happily married, and my husband gleefully points out when men check me out or pats me on the back when I handle another ambush by some drunk single guy at a wedding with grace. – A.


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