Continued from Monday.
Anonymous: For Blindsided (the unhappy new mother from Monday): I know exactly how you feel. When I was pregnant I really looked forward to snuggling our babies (we had twins); once those babies were available for snuggling, yeah, that was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it, but it was just. so. much. work. And when you're down in the weeds like that, it's really hard to see that you won't be on the feeding/changing/laundry/naptime/tummy time/feeding/changing treadmill for the rest of your life.
Our kids are 3 now and it is so different and so much better it's unreal. I always thought I would love wee little infants and would be at a loss with active preschoolers; it actually turned out to be the opposite, which was a huge surprise and a delight. Hang in there. It gets so so much better.
Carolyn: Useful, thank you. There can also be variations from child-to-child: You can love snuggling babies, for example, but have a baby who squirms away from snuggles. Then you not only have to do the child care grunt work, but also recalibrate your expectations and seek a different kind of reward. This is why the nudges and corrections from well-meaning bystanders — friends, family, strangers — can be unbearable. Being the parent your kid needs can have a surprisingly steep learning curve, and the experiences of others too often don't apply.