CO-WORKER C: Your fantasy? Not going to happen.
ME: [startled] Huh?
CO-WORKER C: The fantasy that you wrote about on the blog...Yeah, not going to happen. [laughing] Just put it right out of your mind. I had all of these fantasies about when I became a mom. There would be me and this beautiful little girl snuggled up reading books all of the time. Oh it was going to be so wonderful! And I'd buy a doll house and we'd play dolls all of the time....Never happened! [laughing more] I was so disappointed!!
ME: Hmm. So I can only hope that it'll be just a little like my fantasy?
CO-WORKER C: [laughing] It won't be. I actually almost went out and bought MYSELF the doll house because I was so disappointed. [laughs again] It was really so different than I imagined it. Actually motherhood was nothing like I imagined it.
ME: [thinking to myself that all of this sounds just a bit ominous] Guess I better prepare myself.
Co-worker C laughs again and gives me a few final words of encouragement before heading back to her desk.
My co-worker is a great mom and the above conversation - while not exactly encouraging - was certainly intended in the spirit of fun with a kind of "welcome to the club" feel to it. She really was laughing at herself and (knowing what I know about her relationship with her daughter) the fact that her fantasy about the books and the dolls didn't play out in reality doesn't seem to have affected her having a positive experience as a mom.
In response to the "My fantasy..." blog post I wrote a few days ago, Campbell left the following comment:
In my opinion, you'd serve yourself and a baby best if you try hard not to imagine the baby being anything...I would think about my parenting style instead and discuss it with the other parent as to how we'd approach things, all things, so that we had whatever was thrown at us figured out as best we could ahead of time. Have no expectations, no preconceived images, good or bad. The only thing here you can control here is yourself. Do you know how you're going to parent?
Good advice indeed. How am I going to parent?
Gotta run... have a doll house and some books to purchase...
My co-worker, C, sends me this e-mail today in response to the above post:
I loved the post. Thanks for including me as "a guest". While Campbell's advice is good, I think it is a little joyless. We all deserve our little fantasies as long as we don't take them too seriously and set ourselves up for disappointment. Have some sense of the kind of parent you want to be but don't be too set in a "parenting style". Your child's needs will influence that. The fun part is the unexpected and doing things you never imagined yourself doing--singing in public, becoming a sports parent, buying a dog..the list is endless.