This blog might be kind of touchy and may hit a dischordant note with a few, I hope I come across as diplomatic as possible.
The other day I was in the grocery store and I called Emma by her nickname, ‘bug.’ This was a nickname for her that I knew would be hers while she was in the womb, I am not sure why, it just made sense to me. An older lady turned to me when she heard me call Emma that and said,
“She’s not bugging you,” and I completely ignored her. I didn’t have the emotional energy to turn to this woman and tell her that bug was my loving nickname for my sweet little girl. When I say bug I think of ladybugs, cute bugs, not cockroaches or locusts. I did not feel the need to make my nickname for my own daughter okay for this completely random stranger. Obviously she’s not bugging me; well she wasn’t at that moment. If any mother tells me that her children never bug her, she’s a liar. We all have our moments, and they all have theirs. And honestly it really hurt that this woman would think that I was calling my one year child a hurtful name.
I am pretty sure that I can say with all confidence that this woman was probably insecure. Correcting strangers on their parenting seems to be an action of insecurity. Which is why I didn’t engage in conversation with her; her insecurities are not my problem. I know that I am parenting my child well; she is a bright and well-adjusted baby. (Now here is where the insecure women jumps in and tells me that’s not my fault and I am just lucky to have a good baby. Sigh.)
I supposed that I am tired of getting pooped on by women that are older than me. Most women my own age seem to be wading through parenting knowing that we are all doing the best we can. The women that correct me are always significantly older than me, say my mother’s generation. I feel that every time I am talking to a woman that could be my mother I am carefully choosing my words to prove that I have the right attitude, that I cherish my child appropriately, that I have the patience of a saint (I don’t), and I understand babies and think they are great. Or that when I am really positive about Emma, there’s some backhanded, ‘just you wait,’ comment coming. Maybe that’s due to selective memory; only remembering the temper tantrums or only remembering the sweet moments of cuddling and giggling.
I guess I am asking why some women can’t respect that younger women aren’t completely stupid. I understand my child and I love her. I spend a lot of time with her, I know her. And I guess that I am saying that it really hurts me when people accuse me of being incompetent or hurtful towards my own child. When you get right down to the marrow of the issue.
I guess what I am just trying to say is that if you have advice to offer to a ‘young’ mom, that you think may be needing it, do just that: offer it. Don’t assume that she doesn’t know what she is doing and come down hard on her head.
I know that parenting is touchy, we all understand the gravity of raising a human life. When we see someone that may be doing something that is damaging to a child we want to say something. Or when our own insecurities pop up when we see a woman that is not having as hard time as we are we want to push her down. It’s just human nature and it’s dirty.
Moms, now grandmothers, maybe you can trust that you raised us and we may not be doing such a bad job after all. Just maybe?
PS: Both my mother-in-law and mother have been doing a pretty good job of ‘offering’ or just trusting me. Thanks ladies.