You know that guy in your office who has been there for years, got a great education, has done really well, but refuses to accept new ideas because he “knows it all”? Any time you, the newcomer, suggests changes, he scoffs, pats you on the head, and says, “Oh, honey. You’ll learn.”
That’s how I feel about moms.
I’m not trying to say all moms do this. In fact, I’m quite lucky to have a mom, mother-in-law, and grandma who give advice when asked and consider my family’s needs. Thanks, moms in my life. But I’ve come across quite a few moms who don’t respect the needs and wishes of other moms. That’s not okay.
There are times when moms need to jump in. For example, if a baby is not placed in the carseat correctly–intervene. If the baby is almost falling out of the mom’s arms–sure, intervene. But when it comes to things like different philosophies of raising children, please shut-up.
Let me tell you a story.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that my daughter is small. Our doctor has suggested that we wait to give her solids until her six month check-up to make sure everything is all set. Here’s a conversation I had with a mom:
“How are the solids going?”
“Oh, we haven’t started her on solids yet. Our doctor wants us to–“
“YOU HAVEN’T STARTED HER ON SOLIDS YET?” I looked around expecting the ground to be crumbling, demons driving chariots of Thestrals surrounded by fire to be appearing. Yes, not giving my not even six month old child solids meant the Apocalypse.
“Well, the doctor wants us to wait…”
“No. You can’t wait. Start her on solids today.”
“Well, we appreciate that…but the doctor…”
“Look, I’ve raised four children, have three grandchildren, and have plenty of doctors in my family. I know what’s best. Please start your daughter on solids.”
“Okay, I totally respect that you know what you’re doing and that you have doctors, you know, in your family. It’s just that, we have talked to our actual doctor…”
“She’s OBVIOUSLY HUNGRY.”
I stopped her. She’s not obviously hungry. She’s a chunkers, albeit small. Her legs are the size of strombollis and her chub hangs over her diaper. Her hands have literal dimples in them from the amount of fat she’s got going on. Not only that, but she’s always smiling. She’s always turning over, giggling, trying to crawl. She’s not an unhappy or malnourished child. Honest to God, she’s pretty damn perfect.
“No. We’re listening to our doctor.”
Here’s the clincher. Here’s the real grinding my bones, dragon-Mama turning part of this whole uncomfortable interaction.
“Well, most parents say thank you.”
I have never so badly wanted to smash all of my belongings. You know that part in Coraline (spoiler alert) when the Other Mother starts turning into the spider? Her neck starts to extend upwards, her face becomes more gaunt, and her teeth become fanglike? Her nails grow into long, pointed, knives, fingers following suit. That’s what happened to me.
I glared at her. “I will thank you when you have given advice that is both wanted and correct. I will thank you when you have listened to my perspective, respected it, and gone on your merry way. I will thank you when you are not so blinded by being right that you take what’s actually happening into consideration. I will thank you when I feel you deserve to be thanked.”
That was mean. I get it. I get that she was just trying to help. And I want the help. I want to do what’s best for my kid. But moms, you do not have the authority to ignore someone else’s needs just because you’ve “been there and know best.” I respect you and I respect your knowledge. Being a mom is hard, and raising productive members of society is hard–I clap for all of you. Just because you’ve had the experience and raised great kids doesn’t mean you can force another mom into feeling badly for how she is raising her child. Stop belittling other moms– it’s hard for all of us.
Moms, I love and respect you. Please love and respect other moms.