"Motherfest" is an OMC-exclusive, monthly parenting column.
There are plenty of things no one mentions to you prior to parenthood, like the fact you inevitably have a kid who inherits your least-desired features or how much your life is REALLY going to change once el nino pops out. Another thing no one seems to let leak between stupid games at the baby shower is that all parents endure a fair share of physical abuse -- bruises from their sweet little apples.
Actually, it begins with breastfeeding. How can something that seems as natural and primal as the menstrual cycle itself be such a difficult procedure at first? Don't woman in other countries squat out the baby, latch it on and finish out the workday? For most of us, it takes weeks, even months, to iron out nursing issues, all the while experiencing cracking and bleeding in places that you don't wish upon anyone -- not even the smug mother who mentions she tandem breastfed her newborn and toddler while acing the LSAT.
"I felt like a complete failure ... I was shocked by the pain," says Karen Crete. "It took me weeks to nurse my son without crying."
Once they start slurping from bottles or cups, things don't get much gentler. It's in the toddler's job description to test boundaries, and that means physical boundaries, too. Most of them hit, bite, push or whack with whatever is within their midget arm's reach, including the wine glass you forgot to put away from the night before.
Both of my kids went through a head-butting phase and I got to bear the brunt of it. Consequently, on the days they woke up on the wrong side of the crib they would buck their bocce ball of a head against my cheekbone or eye socket. One time, I ended up looking like the Little Rascals' dog with a shiner the size of a diaphragm.
Other moms admit to having bite marks on their shoulders and arms or routinely getting slapped or kicked. One mom said her 2-year-old poked her in the eye with a toy drum stick and scratched her cornea. "I know it sounds unreasonable, but I was really mad at her for weeks," she says. "Especially when I had to go to work wearing my ugly glasses."
Despite the prevalence of parent abuse, most parenting periodicals completely ignore the issue altogether. At the risk of sounding preachy, if only we breeders could talk more about what's really happening in our families instead of the same old parental platitudes. Maybe then there would be less frustration, and in extreme cases, fewer cases of child abuse. Until then, I'm asking for safety goggles for Christmas.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.