It’s taken just over six months but I’ve finally had that comment! You know the one where I say something about my parenting methods and the person gives a sharp intake of breath and says “it’s a slippery slope”. I half expected to receive, “you’re creating a rod for your own back” months ago but no, this one came first. Today’s comment came when having a discussion about my choice of bed-sharing with the Little One. (Gasp!)
Due to my job and the sheer amount of time that I hang out with my parents, I tend to spend a lot of time around the “older generations”. I do genuinely enjoy spending time with people older than me and over the years I have learned so much, especially when it comes to gardening but I am slowly finding out that the way that the hubby and I are choosing to parent the Little One causes many eyebrows to be raised. Don’t get me wrong, I have met plenty of people who are on the same wave length but not as many as I would like.
Ever since I became pregnant people have been queuing up to pass on all sorts of knowledge, advice and tips on parenting. It doesn’t matter how old or young the person is, if they’ve had a child in the last 80 years, there is always some tip to be passed on. I received a fair few comments about how I should live my life pre- baby. According to most it was paramount that I make the most of my lie-ins or have as many nights out as I could muster in 9 months. But when the hubby and I made the decision to step onto the parent and baby train, we certainly did it with our eyes open. We were very aware that life would never be the same again but we were ready and actually couldn’t wait for a bit of change. Yes, I knew I would have less sleep and less freedom but I also knew that the dynamic would change and we would have created someone that we would love spending time with, more than anyone else in the world (…..most of the time….)!
And since having the Little One? Well I’ve had plenty of cringe worthy comments but there are two in particular (apart from the slippery slope comment) that are top of my list.
- I was bridesmaid dress shopping with my sister a month or so ago and the Little One had reached the end of her tether (takes after her mum there, I’m not much of a shopper) so had started wailing away. She wanted out of her pram and she wanted out NOW!!! At that moment a sales assistant walked passed and said “aw is she hungry…or maybe she needs her nappy changing”. It took every ounce of self restraint to just smile instead of sarcastically uttering the words “oh gosh, I’d not thought of that…”
- Another infuriating moment came when the hubby and I were on a day trip at a nearby cathedral. I had taken the Little Ones socks off and had her standing bare foot on a wall. She was happily babbling away when an older lady walked passed and shook her head and in German scalded me for my child’s feet being “kalt….kalt….kalt!” (Cold…) This time I was less restrained and turned round and said in my best German “Nein, Sie ist nicht kalt!” (No she’s isn’t cold!)…unfortunately she was old and clearly out of earshot. Despite 18 years of living in a German speaking country I’m very rusty so I’m actually quite glad she walked off as I’m not sure I would have come out on top if we’d embarked on a debate about my baby’s body temperature!!
Now, it’s not that I don’t love a bit of advice. I’ve definitely needed to chat to girlfriends and other Mum’s about baby stuff over the last 12 months but what I don’t like is some people thinking that they’re giving me advice when in actual fact they are criticising my parenting skills or even if they’re not, they manage to make me doubt myself. Maybe that’s my own weakness there but I did get a nice comment the other day when someone saw me breastfeeding my 6 month + (can you tell I’ve lost count?!) baby – “Earth mother, well done and keep up the good work!” More of that kind of encouragement would be nice!