Grandma's Way

Yesterday at E’s softball game I has a conversation with another Navy wife who has a four year old son and another on the way (and possibly a teenage son? His relationship was clearly familial but he might have been her brother. I didn’t want to ask due to potential age-difference awkwardness). She was…very vocal about her parenting decisions and what she thought of other people’s choices. She was conductor of the no holds barred judgement train and the station was nowhere in sight. This is the first time I’ve encountered such a person in the real world (i.e. not the interwebs) and I was a little stunned.

I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing my nursing cover and a lawn chair to the games so I can feed Baby Evan fairly discretely. Navy bases tend to be heavily male and I am often the only woman in attendance so I just feel more comfortable under my cover. Plus the games are really loud and when the baby gets distracted and whips his head around to see what the cheering is about it’s nice to not have my boob flapping in the wind for all of E’s coworkers to see. Not a single guy has ever made a comment or done anything that made me uncomfortable. But this woman seemed to see my public breastfeeding as an opening to start a formula vs. breast discussion. She plans to do both. She sees no reason why breastfeeding is so much better, her older son had formula and he’s totally fine. She doesn’t have the energy to commit to breastfeeding all the time. Her grandmother had 10 kids and they all had formula. She’s not like me and wouldn’t want to nurse in public.I could practically FEEL the judgments rolling off her and it took everything I had not to start my “breast is best” lecture, especially when she started talking about how expensive it was to have a baby. Breastmilk is free, Judgey McJudgerpants.

But her opinions didn’t end with what seems to be the most controversial of baby topics. She had something to say about everything. Her friend gave her a bunch of boy clothes after she found out she was having a girl, how dare she think her baby was too good for boy clothes? If her baby was spitting up like my baby was (FYI we had just come from the doctor – again – who said he is fine) she would go to the emergency room. Not teaching your children to say “sir” and “ma’am” is akin to child abuse. Potty training should be finished by 3 years old and children who have accidents just have lazy parents. And my absolute favorite: The best cure for Baby Evan’s teething pains? Jack Daniels. What, her grandma did it and she had 10 kids!

Am I just as judgey as she is for thinking giving alcohol to your infant makes you a terrible parent? Maybe. But I would never say it to her face. And I definitely know better than to make blanket parenting statements to mothers I know nothing about. It’s a pretty fair guess to say that raving about the new $15 organic baby massage oil would be welcomed at my breastfeeding support group but met with confused stares elsewhere. You have to know your audience before you talk about a lot of baby topics: cloth diapers, baby-wearing, vaccinations, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, homeschooling…some people feel really strongly about this stuff. I’ve been lucky to find a lot of like-minded women in my friends – both real and internet – and my close family, but even we don’t agree on everything. Although I’m pretty sure my grandma would support my use of teething tablets over a shot of Jack.

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No Responses to “Grandma's Way”

  1. lisa says:

    praaaaaaaaaaaaay-gnant women are smug.

    your baby is totally gonna be the harry to her draco.

  2. erniebufflo says:

    Wow that lady sounds like a jerk. You go on with your badass breastfeeding self. Baby E is adorable and clearly thriving under your care.

  3. erniebufflo says:

    Also? I’ve learned the hard way never to say anything negative about a wedding to most women. Because odds are the minute you say something about the horrible fuchsia dress your friend made you wear? That’s the minute your listener reveals she had a fuchsia wedding.

  4. Audrey says:

    I don’t understand it when people talk about how expensive babies are but they just had to have another one. I mean, if you’re lucky your insurance covers most or all of the actual birth which is the expensive part. Diapers are pricey but you can find store brands that are much cheaper or you could go clothe and save yourself loads of money if not laundry. Breast milk is free baby, and if you choose to use formula well that was your choice wasn’t it? My son has milk/soy allergies and we end up paying $250-350 a month in special formula for him but do you hear me complaining about how much my baby costs? Hellz to the no.

  5. sarrible says:

    No, no. The Jack Daniels is for YOU while he’s teething. Silly woman. And you’d think if her grandma was so smart she could figure out how to stop having them.

  6. AGreenEyeDevil says:

    Good grief what a self-absorbed idiot in LOVE with the sound of her own voice! I hope you can sit FAR FAR AWAY from this loathsome creature at the next game.

  7. lalaland13 says:

    Sigh. You do what you can to get a healthy baby, and just as important, be a healthy mom. The rest doesn’t matter. Women like that will never realize this.

  8. I would have squirted breast milk in her face.

  9. Other Erin says:

    This is why most of my friends are men.

  10. h_a_l says:

    Oh man… this woman sounds like a piece of work. It seems like it’s so much easier to block out little bits of annoying parenting “advice” from other people than a whole actual conversation – especially when it’s basically judging you for doing what YOU feel is best for YOUR baby. I also hate getting parenting advice from the older generation (like this woman’s grandma). You know, the ones who probably smoked and drank martinis while pregnant.

  11. h_a_l says:

    Also, just a disclaimer: I’m not discounting all the advice from grandmothers and women who had babies back in the day- I know they have lots of wisdom for my trial and error parenting ass. But I hate when they give advice that has been proven over the years to be not so good – like giving my infant a bottle of water when it’s hot out or whiskey when teething and shit like that.

  12. When people give me the “doing this is right, doing that is wrong” speech, I nod my head and tune it out. Frankly, I don’t care what other people do with their kids short of abusing them (which I’d report). Why do people see the need to butt in one way or the other?

  13. Brigid Keely says:

    I’m getting a lot of practice recently saying ‘Oh, really?’ and nodding my head and storing up my personal reactions and comments to share with friends later on.

    Because seriously.

    I really really really don’t think it’s possible to “train” a three month old to “hold really still” on a changing table. How the hell did I survive babyhood? I HAVE NO IDEA.

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