Since I became a mother there are several new things I have had to learn/overcome! I bet these are things that nearly all new mothers go through, or maybe I am just surrounded by a lot of super annoying nosey people!
Nobody knows how to be the perfect mom, hell what is the answer to a perfect mom?! Yeah we all know that hitting and hurting the child is a no no, but common sense teaches you that, and then why would you bring a child into this world to hurt it? Yeah I know there are a lot of sick creatures out there but im talking about normal people, intelligent sane human beings (Homo sapiens and not animals!). What I find pretty scary is that here in Egypt most of the women move home to their parents after birth and the mother of the no-longer-pregnant-woman takes care of the newborn most of the time. First, how does the new mother learn anything if someone else is doing her job? Second, how will the child bond with his mother when his grandmother is the one most present in his life? Third, all the horrible mistakes that have been passed down for centuries from mother to daughter and so on will continue in this new family. I don’t believe that a new mother will know everything, but I don’t think ANYONE should tell her what is right and what is wrong. Only YOU know whats best for your child. And honestly, did you have a child to raise it in the proper way according to your beliefs and values, or did you have a child to hand it over to your mother to look after?
Most of you know I stayed for over two months in Norway both before and after the birth. I went there two months before because of flying restrictions in the last month. I also had no doctor I could trust in Egypt and was behind on several blood tests and urine tests. That is the truth and not what all the Egyptian people think, that I went home to stay with my parents so they could cook for me and clean my clothes because I was pregnant and an invalid and needed to be taken care of! Yes I did do my own washing of clothes when I was in Norway and I even made my own breakfast and lunch! I know CRAZY! Now let me again explain why I stayed so long after the birth too! I was waiting for some Egyptians to send over a document to Norway in order to get a passport so I could travel back to Egypt WITH my child! NO I did NOT stay because I needed to be taken care of, and I needed my mother to look after my newborn child. The newborn child stayed with me, I looked after it and my mother went to work. My grandparents came to visit a few times during the weeks, but they just played with him. My dad enjoyed playing with him and walking him around the house in his pram. My mom would play with him when she came home from work… I would make my own breakfast and lunch, sometimes I would go to the shop to get more diapers for the newborn! Yes I brought him with most of the time. I took him to doctors appointments, for his vaccines… I changed his diapers, EVERY single one, I bathed him, I fed him, I burped him, I held him, I put him to bed, and he slept in my room! My mom slept in her room! Remember this is MY child and my mother is a GRANDMOTHER to the newborn… You are probably asking why am I telling you all this… It is because sooo many people have ASSUMED that I stayed in Norway because I’m a lazy-ass that had I child for my mom to take care off! It infuriates me when people ASSUME that im incapable of looking after my OWN child… So just to clarify, I didn’t stay in Norway because I needed someone to clean my sons dirty diapers, or someone to tell me how to look after my child!
You know the saying ‘a mother knows best’, well guess what I’m also a mother now… So I know best! Yeah I did get tips and help from my mom, but things change, what was okey when I was a child is not okey now. The way my parents decided to raise me might not be the same way I want to raise my child… I’m not saying their way was wrong or right, but now is MY CHANCE to raise a child and I would like to do it my way… I’m sorry but I think this is one of the reasons why Egypt is a kinda messed-up country. Nobody does something independently… There is always someone lurking in the back telling you what is right and wrong and the scary thing is nobody questions it! When I went to the doctor here, she told me a bunch of crazy shit about what to eat and not to eat! I questioned all of it, checked on the internet and made my own verdict… They have a thing here in Egypt that you should not eat seafood when you have a cold! EVERYONE believes it, and one generation teaches the next generation that you should not eat seafood when you have a cold! My husband was told it too! Nobody questions it… WHY, WHY can’t I eat seafood when I have a cold?! Hmmmmm who knows… In Norway they used to give babies honey several years ago… Now new mothers are told to NOT give their babies honey as it is natural and contains several things that can be harmful to a baby’s stomach… That is fine, because I know why babies can’t have honey. There are so many things I have been told by Egyptians not to do and to do but whenever I ask why, they say because my mom told me, or my doctor told me! I mean wouldn’t you want to know the reason behind it, maybe you can use this piece of information in another context. Like for example the honey… because you know that the ingredients in honey can cause harm to a babies stomach, you can give your child honey later on when his stomach has fully developed… You get what I mean, without knowing the reason behind a statement you basically become stupid! You don’t know why and you just know that you cant feed babies honey… Would you never feed your child honey then?
Anyways im going off topic! This is my rant about how Egyptians approach motherhood… I know that outside Egypt people are pretty ‘in their own business’! Nobody really interferes with anyone elses business and if they were to mention something they would do it in a nice way. Here in Egypt, it seems nothing is off-limits and everything is everyone elses business… this became very clear to me while I was pregnant, when people decided it was a good idea to mention how extremely fat ive become and that my legs have become huge! THANKS! Now that im back with a baby, oh boy do they have a lot to say!
The saying ‘a mother knows best’, does NOT work here! Because here ‘everyone knows best, and you don’t know shit!’ In the stress of being a new mother and learning about your baby, the different cries, when he is hungry, when he is happy, there is a lot of stress! AND with the amount of sleep, or rather LACK of sleep, everything is amplified! When your baby cant get to sleep and is frustrated and you are trying to help him sleep, and then he gets more frustrated and starts kicking and crying and you have to contain your cool with only 4 hours of sleep and then your phone rings and the baby wakes up, and then he starts crying again, and then he is hungry and you wanted him to sleep so you could take that shower you havent had in 5 days! YEAH its a lot to handle! So this is a plea to all you idiots out there that think its A-OKEY to interfere in my mothering skills- SHUT UP!
So far I have managed to change his diaper all alone every single time, several times a day for more than 3 months! I don’t need you to tell me to go change his diaper when you find it suitable… I have managed without you so far, I think I shall manage today too, unless you want to change his diaper, NOPE didn’t think so! No I will not change his diaper in a restaurant where they do not have a changing table… You think I should use the restaurant table maybe? Please don’t tell me how or when to change my childs diaper!
So far I have managed to dress him appropriately according to the weather for over 3 months! Not ONCE has he been sick, he has never been too hot or too cold… I have checked his body temperature more than 20 times a day and I have made sure he has been comfortable… I dressed him for the cold weather in Norway for 2 months and he survived… I don’t need you to come and tell me Egypt is cold and that I need to dress my child. It was 5 degrees when I left Norway and now its 20 degrees in Egypt… Oh please… I am not going to overdress my child like I see loads of Egyptians do…. A child should wear the same amount of clothes as you, maybe an extra jacket… Your child should NOT be wearing 3 layers under a snowsuit and a large thick blanket… Your child should NOT be red in the face and have wet hair and be overheating… If my child does not have socks, that is because it is hot and putting socks on him could cause him to be too hot, NOT because I don’t have socks… Please do not suggest I put a blanket on him, his socks are OFF because its hot, putting a blanket on doesn’t change this!? I had one person tell me my child was cold and to put socks on him, it was 30 degrees outside. I told him my baby is fine and it’s too hot for socks… 5 minutes later he says ‘please put socks on your child, he will freeze!’ I told him he is actually a little bit hot… 2 minutes later I see him taking a blanket and putting it over MY FREAKING CHILD! This is a guy who im not close to and does not have a child himself… Please DO NOT tell me how to dress MY child…
So far I have managed to keep my baby’s head bump and bruise free. I have not dropped him, nor have I thrown him down the stairs… I have not hit his head against a wall nor have I banged him into a table! DO NOT tell me to watch my babies head when I’m sat at a table… I have never hit his head on a table previously and I don’t need you guarding me, telling me to watch his head every time I move a millimeter…. I can do this on my own, trust me! He is more than 3 months old and so far he has not been hurt! You havent been there to tell me to watch his head before and nothing happened, so NO I don’t need you acting like mother Theresa at this restaurant telling me to look after my OWN child! Please DO NOT tell me how to look after my own child!
So far I have managed to put my baby to sleep every single night since he was born! I have woken up every single time he has been hungry or thrown up during the night and I wake up EVERY morning with him at 6 am when he wakes up. Dont come here and tell me that I should just continue sleeping in the mornings!… I have a child that needs diaper changing, milk, attention and love…. Where does me sleeping until I feel like waking up come into the equation… Do you not understand that right now, as a mother you no longer have time to think about your needs and from now on it’s the baby’s needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… No I can’t just put the baby to sleep at 1 am so that he will sleep later during the day.. Can you imagine a 3 months old baby going to bed at 1 am? I mean hello!? Seriously.. I know its hard to believe but honestly right now my life doesn’t revolve around me sleeping late in the morning… The most important thing is MY SON! I will not put him to bed at a grotesque hour so I can sleep longer in the mornings… What an irresponsible thing to say! He has a specific bedtime and that is 7, I don’t care if you think that is early… Please DO NOT tell me that I should put my baby to sleep later so I can sleep longer!
There are so many crazy suggestions and crazy opinions that have been thrown in my face by Egyptians, and NO im not taking this baby help as a helpful tip from you to me! They are 90% ridiculous and would completely go against my own common sense as a mother. Many of the people giving me their opinions aren’t even mothers!! Some of the examples of things I have been told is not to kiss my baby’s face, as he has sensitive skin. He should not sleep so much during the day, try to keep him awake the maximum so he sleeps through the night… I can laugh about the tips people share with me but they actually make me want to cry… These people are probably going to do this with their children and teach their children that this is what is right and wrong… Can you imagine a child never being kissed in the face?! Can you imagine a child staying awake the whole day?
I am Yousef’s mother and I believe that a mother knows best, and NOBODY in this world will love my child as much as I do… So I obviously know whats best for him, and will always do whats best for him… The last 3 months I have put my own needs to the side and am solely living to make sure my baby is full, happy and not tired. So when you come and tell me what to do with my child, you are insulting me as a mother.
I would like to see you not sleep a full night for over 3 months, not have time to take showers more than every 3/4 days, change over 7 diapers a day, feed over 7 times a day, feed several times in the middle of the night, rarely eat your dinner hot (babies always need attention when you are going to eat!), rock your baby to sleep even if it takes 2 hours of frustrating cries… Please DO NOT question me as a mother!
Here are a few pictures of my little angel!