When you become a mom for the first time, you hear all sorts of arguments on what is “best” for your child. There’s the obvious formula vs. breast milk argument that even non-parents have probably rolled their eyes about once or twice. You can prepare yourself for the mainstream attacks on issues such as that, but you can’t prepare yourself for the family members that like to stick their noses in your business and pretend that they are trying to help you.
To be honest, I have been very fortunate to have respectful family on both mine and my fiance’s sides. For the most part they keep parenting choices up to us and even ask us before making decisions regarding our daughter.
Our daughter is currently teething. She is a slobbery mess that loves to chew on anything she can get into her mouth. Along with that, however, comes the crankiness and fits due to the pain of trying to emerge teeth through the gums. Poor girl. So she was having a particularly rough time at my sister’s while I was at work. She was fussy and wouldn’t stop crying, even after being offered toys, a bottle, tickles, cuddles, and a walk. I couldn’t think of anything else to tell my sister to do, so I told her, “Ya know what? I’ve got some pear juice at the house for her, and she really liked that last night. Go grab that juice and see if that helps!”
Della turned six months old on July 5th. We can now begin introducing her to baby foods and juices. The bottle even reads “6+ months.”
I immediately got a text from my other sister asking me if we had been giving Della juice.
I said yes.
And she came back with a long message saying how I shouldn’t be giving her juice, that it was bad for her, and that I needed to go get her some orajel.
It instantly pissed me off, not gonna lie! I’m very careful about what I do with my daughter, and most decisions aren’t made until I’ve done my fair share of research on the issue. Let’s be honest… 100% organic pear juice that reads 6+ months on the side of the bottle isn’t going to hurt her. It’s not like we even gave her more than a couple ounces of it.
I felt like I was being bossed around and shamed for a decision that I had already looked into. I know she meant well, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, as a mom you will always face harsh criticism and scrutiny for what you do or don’t do regarding your child.
As adults we should be understanding that parenthood does not come with a manual. There are things you have to learn as you go. We should be more willing to accept that not everyone experienced the same things. Our childhood and background shape how we raise our kids, and no two people have the same past.
Today I was mom-shamed. And it sucked! But it reminded me that sometimes it’s easier to crucify someone for not being like you than it is to welcome all styles of life with open arms.
Next time you don’t agree with the decisions of a child’s mother, remember that she has probably already criticized herself enough for the both of you.