There's so much to learn when you're a new mom -- how to work the car seat, use the breast pump, function on no sleep. You'll also soon realize that motherhood has its own vocabulary. There are all kinds of new words and phrases that you'll learn and start to use on a daily basis, such as swaddle, rear-facing, and "I'm so tired." And some that you won't -- like elimination communication and "I really feel like having sex."
Don't worry, you'll know them all soon enough.
You'll also learn that other moms will try to size you up and label you by the things you do (bottle-feed ... gasp!) and don't do (make your own baby food ... what is wrong with you?!). Before you became a mom, you probably didin't realize that there's pretty much a name for everything a mom does with her baby and how she decides to raise him.
I'm here to tell you that these words and phrases are a load of crap.* Here are but 10 (and believe me there are many more) we should all agree to get rid of right now.
- Extended Breastfeeding. The word breastfeeding -- and breastfeeding itself -- totally cool. It's the "extended" part that's absurd. Saying that something is "extended" means it's done for longer than the norm or is necessary. If nursing a 3-year-old is all good, why not just call it breastfeeding.
- Attachment Parenting. Some brilliant parenting "expert" likely coined this term when he wrote a book or had some great epiphany about parent-child bonding. I used a sling, breastfed until my daughter was 2 1/2 (note that I did not say "extended" breastfed), slept with my baby -- all that stuff before I even knew there was even an official name for it. Silly me, I just thought it was called "being a mother." But does that mean if you don't breastfeed, babywear (yet another silly term), and have your baby's belly button nub turned into earrings, that you're not attached to your baby? I think we all know the answer to that.
- Potty Training. The word training is pretty twisted when it comes to kids. Training is something you do with pets. You "train" your dog where to poop, how to roll over, and not to gnaw on your shoes. Training is also a word that comes in handy when something is supposed to be physically arduous as in "I'm training for a marathon," or "She's doing her military training." Unless you want to treat your child like an animal ... or a soldier ... you shouldn't really be "training" her to do anything.
- Latch On. Is it me or does this have the same ring to it as oh, I dunno, "nipple clamp"? If you're trying to encourage new moms to breastfeed, maybe The Boob League (or whoever came up with this) could have thought of something that sounded slightly less painful.
- Babywearing. This is the opposite of "Strollerpushing." You've heard of that right? No? Exactly. Moms around the world have been carrying their babies for thousands of years and in all kinds of slings and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that no other culture refers to it as babywearing (the culture, not the anthropologists studying the culture). Is there some reason some American moms feel the need to self-identify as "babywearers"? So you carry your baby in a sling, big whoop. So do kangaroos and you don't see them getting all braggy and self-righteous.
- Free-Range Parenting. Are you raising chickens or children?
- Stay-at-Home Mom, Working Mom, Work-From-Home Mom. Stay-at-Home Dad, Working Dad (ha ha hahahahahaah ha), Work-From-Home Dad. See what I'm saying? Since when was being a mom (no matter what else you do) so trivial that we felt the need to make it something more? Conversely, when did the other things we do (at home, at work) become so insignificant that we had to add "mom" to them?
- Elimination Communication. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Sounds like something a Scientologist would say -- maybe Tom Cruise during his divorce from Katie. (If you'd like to know, here is more info on elimination communication.)
- Baby Bump. This phrase was brought to you by the same people who came up with Brangelina, Bennifer, and RPatz.
- Sleep Training. (See "Potty Training," above.) Also, why in the name of everything that is wonderful and good (like sleep, glorious sleep), would anyone have to be "trained" to sleep? Trust me, babies know how to sleep. If they're not sleeping when you think they should be, there's probably a really good reason. The solution isn't to make 'em drop and give you 20 or stick their nose in their own poop (otherwise known as "crying it out").
More from The Stir: 20 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman
But wait, now that I think about it, training for an extended sleep marathon is something I could totally latch on to -- gonna go for a 3-hour training nap right now. Anyone want to join me?
*Please note, this does not refer to the practices themselves (many are near and dear to my own heart), but merely to the silly terms used to describe them.
What parenting terms drive you crazy?
Image via © iStock.com/mrossbach