Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

You Look Good Holding That Baby…And Other Creepy Things People Say

Last weekend, I did something shocking. Well, there were a few shocking moments:

  1. I had dinner with a baby (amongst others).
  2. Said dinner with baby took place at a somewhat fancy steakhouse. I believe the hostesses were rather shocked as well when we rolled that Fisher-Price monstrosity of plastic into their mahogany and linen world.
  3.  Dinner took place at the ungodly early hour of 6:30, so said baby could get home to sleep.

And finally, most surprising of all…

  1.  After martini #2, I broke my “No Holding Babies While Drinking” rule.

It’s not usually one I need to enforce. I never really have the urge, or I’ve already registered on the parents’ drunk-dar and am kept at bay. But as I get deeper into this Maybe Baby, Maybe Not experiment, I’m realizing that my mind isn’t going to make itself up. The issue must be forced. So I made a grab for that baby – just to see how it felt – and her mom, Elizabeth snapped a photo of us.

It was on Facebook a few minutes later with the comment Isabella does love a Dirty with Aunt Liz.

Our friend Karen responded with Motherhood suits you, Maybe Lady;)

Yeah? I also look pretty svelt in a magician’s cape. Doesn’t mean I’m going to go flouncing around town in one. (Or does it?!) I look pretty regal on a horse as well, but owning one seems like a cost-prohibitive sort of venture. What I’m trying to say is – we can’t just go round snapping up all the things that suit us or make us look good.

Yes, I know how to hold an infant without its head lolling all over the place. I know how to waggle a rattle in their face to shut them up. I know that trick about soaking their teething rag in whiskey (wait, are people still doing that?). But most importantly, I know I can hand them back to Mom once my moment with Baby is over. If I didn’t, and was working on about 4 hours of sleep and my very last nerve, believe me, you’d be getting a less than polished performance from me on the pseudo mommy front.

Even so, I know these people are right – I probably would make a good mom. And I know for sure that Drew would make an awesome dad. But everyone’s forgetting that being competent at something – or even having an aptitude for it – isn’t the same thing as wanting to do it. I used to be pretty sharp little sketch artist as a kid, but the idea of sitting in front of a canvas by myself all day for a living sounded…well, almost as boring as watching hour upon hour of Baby Einstein – Neighborhood Animals (which, incidentally, HAD to have been developed by someone under the influence of a heavy, heavy narcotic).

It seems to enflame people when someone who would be a good parent chooses not to. I get it. They want us to rear some do-gooders to counteract the rash of bad parenting going on out there – otherwise, the world is going to be in a pretty crappy state of affairs soon. But that doesn’t always work (check out the NY Times article Columbine: Parents of a Killer). So maybe I’ll just focus on managing the chaos that I actually have some control over. For now.

Come to think of it, people are also fond of telling me that I’d make a great mother after seeing me with my cats. Does that make them the creep, or me?

21 Responses to You Look Good Holding That Baby…And Other Creepy Things People Say

  • RMB says:

    You Liz. You’re the creep… as we all are that talk to our pets as if they were babies.

  • Jess says:

    THIS. I get this so often, that for a while I had to make myself more anti-baby than I was just so people would leave me the cheesesticks alone. I couldn’t so much as look at a baby without people saying something stupid about how I should make babies immediately because it didn’t run screaming from the room when I glanced its cute little farty pudgy way. It’s a baby. It doesn’t run yet. Anyhoo. Rock on, Maybe Lady. There’s a lot of relating going on here.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I have to do the “more anti-baby than I actually am” thing too! Unfortunately, it tends to backfire because people think it’s hilarious and they wind up shoving their babies in my face more frequently. Well, what can ya do. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      • Becky says:

        Hi! Me again… This happens to me all the time too. In fact, when my husband and I were engaged, his family was convinced we would be prego in the first year of marriage because I didn’t mind playing with his nieces and nephews. Say whaaat?? I don’t touch them anymore. Nope. Not this girl.

        • Maybe Lady
          Maybe Lady says:

          True – go anywhere near them and you’ll get all kinds of “Ooooh, look who’s next!” comments. People know better than to give me those nowadays. :)

  • Nicole says:

    your comment of about people saying you’d be a good mom after seeing you with cats made me laugh out loud! I get the same thing when people see me with our puppy and when I had my cat Minnie. It is SO creepy. Like, being a good pet owner is not maternal instinct. It is that you like animals a lot. Not the same AT all. Sigh.

    And yeah, I love it when people take pictures of you with babies to “Prove” you’d be a good mom. As if knowing how to hold a baby indicates you should run out and get pregnant.

    In close, people ARE creepy.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Yes! It’s like, “Nah, I don’t think I’d be a good mom. Wait, you have photographic evidence that I would be? Well, why didn’t you say so!”

  • Scott says:

    Yeah, not sure what that compliment is supposed to mean, looking good holding a baby. Are these people saying that’s a reason to have a baby, as some sort of accessory? I tend to think the bags under the eyes, vomit on the sweatshirt, and frazzled look that go with parenting tend to reduce the overall attractiveness of the parenting ensemble.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Haha, no kidding! I’m pretty sure the ONLY reason I look good holding a baby is because I wasn’t up all night tending to it!

  • Megan says:

    I’m not at all on the fence about having kids. Since I was about 15, I’ve know that I don’t want them and I’ve never come up with a reason to change my mind. But I’ve definitely gotten the whole “oh, you’d make a great mother” thing, especially when holding kids (generally against my will). And then people say that to me, I tend to realize that they are in that group that is so desperate to have more friends with kids that they’ll say anything. In all honesty, I would be a terrible mom. Sure, I’m educated, make good money, and can read all the parenting manuals, so I would almost certainly not feed the kid jalapenos the day I bring it home from the hospital, but that doesn’t actually make one a good parent. I don’t have the desire to parent, and that makes all the difference. My cats want 20 minutes of attention from me a day, and even that tends to annoy me after the first 10 minutes. Anyone who knows me knows this, and yet they persist in pretending I’d be a good mother. Thank goodness they’re not in charge of my reproduction choices.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Agreed – you can have a list a mile-long of reasons that you’d make a good Mom, but they’re all trumped if you don’t actually WANT to be one. And that, unfortunately, seems to be something that some (not all) people who DO want to be Moms can’t understand. I do think things are changing though, and it’s going to be more acceptable to the mainstream crowd in the future.

      • Scott says:

        Good point. Someone who doesn’t WANT to be a parent would proabably not make a good parent.

  • Alessandra says:

    I’m just starting to read your blog and I’m loving it, plus I’ve been through some of the stuff that you describe AND I love my pup and consider him “my child”… Hey, he’ll never ask for money and talk back… bark back maybe but… I digress. Anyway, loving your blog and your writing style. Keep up the good work Maybe Lady, you’re cool!

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Well, be careful – he may not ask for money directly, but these fur babies can be pricey with a few trips to the vet! But you’re right, still nowhere near the cost of raising a kid. Thanks so much for following along, and the lovely compliments!

  • Dowager Lady says:

    Oh, I think we’ve all heard the “you look good holding that” thing, before. I think it’s mostly because we so deeply connect womanhood and motherhood, it makes people subconsciously happy to see a woman with a baby (I say this because I rarely hear people say these things to men holding babies).

    Definitely have to agree with the other comments here: We may look like we’re doing okay with the baby, but it’s only for a short time. Most people can handle holding a baby and not injuring it for an hour or two. But if that baby stows away in your purse or something, and you had to take care of it for an indefinite amount of time, things would not be so smooth.

    Also, I am WAY better with animals than children. I’ve hand-reared newborn kittens before, and that came naturally to me (though it’s a miserable experience), but I have no idea how to take care of a baby. I have never even changed a diaper.

    Additionally, this site is great. It’s nice to see a balanced view on this subject. And it’s fantastic to see a woman recognize that she DOES have a choice in the matter. It’s not just a biological destiny.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Perhaps some people are just animal people, not people-people. The idea of rearing newborn kittens sounds positively delightful to me! Rearing the other newborns…well, let’s just say it holds significantly less appeal at the current moment. Glad you’re liking the blog and thanks for weighing in!

      • Dowager Lady says:

        Oh, I was so proud of being able to keep the kitties alive and everything, but it is emotionally and physically difficult. But I knew I could do it. And if I could, I’d do it again. I know I couldn’t with a baby. It’s weird.

        Were you scared to hold the baby? I always am. They seem entirely too breakable, it’s like holding a faberge egg that’s rigged with explosives.

  • I was asked to hold my cousin’s newborn once, and when I hesitated, my cousin recoiled as if I’d belted her one. Made me feel positively alien to not have wanted to coo the nuzzle the baby. Sorry, I have next to no experience with infants and I can’t just turn it on at will for YOUR benefit. Jeesh…

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      You’d think the protective instincts would kick in and moms wouldn’t want inexperienced people holding their babies. They’re not ACTUALLY made of rubber!

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