Author Topic: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(  (Read 10641 times)

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Ceallach

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Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« on: October 01, 2012, 06:55:36 AM »
This could go under "What an interesting assumption" but I didn't have my cool about me to say that at the time.  I was quite upset by this whole thing and not sure if I handled it well by addressing it head on, or not. Also not sure if I should pretend it never happened, or address it again.

My mother, who is a very nurturing person, and lives thousands of miles away from me, called to chat and ask how I am etc. That bit was nice.   I mentioned that I'm a little tired from moving house, but apart from that good, pregnancy going well etc.  After awhile the conversation started to take an odd turn.  First, mum suggested that perhaps I should consider only working 4 days a week.  I said that I had actually just told my boss that I would start working from home 1 day per week soon on busy weeks (not unusual,  I get a lot of my planning and strategy work done at home so it's good use of time, and with how tired I've been lately it just makes sense). So that was all fine.  However, next mum said I really should think about halving my working hours now. I made the obvious comment that this would mean halving my income, and she said (in a semi joking tone) "Oh well, if the money's more important than your baby". I was a bit annoyed and said that obviously that's not the case, but it's simply unnecessary - most of my weekends I spend at home already, and I honestly have more time than I know what to do with.  Why give less time to a job I LOVE just to sit around the house by myself?    Anyway, at this point the conversation was remaining civil. And I didn't think she was going to push it further.  She asked about my plans for next year and I reminded her that I'm lucky enough to have a boss who is hugely flexible and is happy to accommodate whatever I need, be it time off, flexible hours, or whatever works for me at the time.  I don't have to decide now.  (This is a huge advantage of working for a privately owned company - my boss can make those decisions!)  I commented that if the baby is a peaceful, sleepy kind then I can take him into work some of the time in his early months and finished with "so we'll just see how things go and decide what we need to do". Just trying to close off the topic.

She then interjected with: "And then you'll just shove the baby into daycare and forget about it" .   I can't even begin to describe the amount of venom in her voice when she said this, and the emphasis on "shove" and "forget".    Honestly, it was as if she was suggesting I was going to feed my baby poison, throw it out the window and disappear off to my money grubbing lifestyle.  I decided she'd crossed a line, and said "That's not a very nice thing to say and I won't talk to you anymore if you're going to talk to me like that." and then I started crying.   :( She immediately started backtracking, said she didn't mean it, and we ended up continuing our conversation on unrelated topics  partly because I didn't want her to feel bad.  She's always been a judgmental person, partly because of her own sheltered life, but  I've never known her to be so pushy before. All of my siblings are very different and live their lives differently, so she's used to having her preconceptions challenged.  I just don't know what's triggered this, and if I should expect more to come!   Does anybody have any suggestions on handling this kind of meddling?  She also has offered to come to stay next year but now I'm seriously questioning whether I'll want her around. She's wonderful with babies and helping out with housework etc, but based on this conversation I'm concerned that she'd just be judging me the whole time regardless of what decisions DH and I make. 
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


kckgirl

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 07:10:06 AM »
I think you handled yourself just fine when she made the "shove and forget" statement. If you want her to come and visit, set the ground rules in advance.
Maryland

yokozbornak

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 07:45:06 AM »
People will always judge you on your parenting choices, and many feel it's their job to correct you.  it's a very frustrating part of being a parent. I didn't breastfeed and received what I felt was a lot of judgments.  I am sure if i had breastfed, I would have received many comments on that end, too.  Many people feel like their is a "right"way to parent and any deviation is wrong instead of remembering that all of us were raised differently and most of us turned out okay.

That being said, you handled your mom well.  I do think you should take a harder line with her.  I had to do that with my own parents - some things were not up for discussion and the decisions that DH and I made were final.  I remember once when my dad insisted that my one-year-old daughter do something I consideed unsafe.  When he made actions that appeared he was going against my wishea, I started packing up our stuff and let him know I wouldn't tolerate it. 

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 07:51:17 AM »
I had a very similar conversation with my mom when I told her I was pregnant. "I hope you aren't intending to hook the baby up to your teat and feed it like an animal!" I had a similar outburst to yours and she learned to be more careful.

I'm afraid this is part of life as a parent. You will get judgement from your parents, your inlaws ,and the world at large, no matter what you do. And it will really happen no matter what you do. There are no decisions you can make that won't be judged by anyone, so you might as well just do what you feel is best.

JenJay

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 08:05:55 AM »
You handled her beautifully!

Honestly, yeah you can probably expect more of the same from her. People who enjoy making your parenting their business are... persistent ::). The good news is you've already shown her that you have no problem shutting her down. I'm a big fan of the old "That topic is not up for discussion and if you mention it again this conversation is over." followed by "Okay, that's enough. Goodbye." if necessary.

For what it's worth I think your work schedule sounds wonderful! You get to keep a job you love and arrange your schedule to have the baby with you much more than most working parents get. There are pros and cons to both sides of the SAH/WOH thing and it sounds like you'll have the best of both!

Pippen

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 08:13:51 AM »
Mothers who don't judge are so rare they are sending unicorns out to look for them these days. (pilfered from Hilary Mantel)

She can't judge you on something that hasn't happened and is probably just looking for an way of saying she wants to be there for you but it came out the wrong way. Sadly there is not a lot of comeback to her comment without opening up a whole lot of conversations you are not ready to have.

You have every right to be hacked off but unless she pushes the issue it would be best to just let it drop.

BC12

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 08:30:23 AM »
I had a very similar conversation with my mom when I told her I was pregnant. "I hope you aren't intending to hook the baby up to your teat and feed it like an animal!" I had a similar outburst to yours and she learned to be more careful.

I'm afraid this is part of life as a parent. You will get judgement from your parents, your inlaws ,and the world at large, no matter what you do. And it will really happen no matter what you do. There are no decisions you can make that won't be judged by anyone, so you might as well just do what you feel is best.

Yeah, all of this. Almost every grandmother I know has something to say about how their grandchildren are raised. It can be really sweet and helpful at times, but there comes a point where it's just not welcome. And that did sound like a particularly nasty comment. I don't blame you for being upset by it.

I think you handled it well. Stick to your boundaries and be vocal about them, and hopefully she'll learn to be more conscientious. I wouldn't make any decisions yet about her visit next year. Maybe by then you two will have sorted out how to better deal with each other. You've got some time to think about that.

Also, congrats!

wyliefool

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 08:34:45 AM »
Quote
She immediately started backtracking, said she didn't mean it, and we ended up continuing our conversation on unrelated topics  partly because I didn't want her to feel bad. 

HOnestly? I think this was a mistake. what you said was perfect but I think you should have just hung up. Who cares if she feels bad? She SHOULD feel bad for how she spoke to you!  >:(

As for having her stay, I'd postpone that decision too. See if she behaves. If any more of these outbursts occur, I'd just say 'thanks but no thanks.'

SPuck

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 08:35:59 AM »
I agree with wyliefool. You don't have to make someone else comfortable or feel better after they have done some to make you uncomfortable.

scansons

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 08:36:30 AM »
I agree with the others.  Parenting has been great for me.  It finally helped me decide which pitches I wanted to swing at, and which ones could just sail over the plate.  So when my father tried to convince me DH was too big and would hurt our unborn child, I squashed it like a grape.  When the little old lady at church announced she didn't like Cordelia for our possible daughter, I told her the other options were Kaylee, Zoe, and River, and then excused myself. 

I think it's that people want to be reassured that the choices they made for their kids are the right choices.  If you make the same choices, well then theirs must have been right, no matter how their kids have lept the rails since then. 


I think you did great with your Mom.  Its a close enough relationship that boundaries early are very helpful.  But you don't have to swing at every pitch.  Sometimes it's fine to just let it roll right past you.  I mean what are they going to do??  Stop you from breastfeeding/bottle feeding?  Name your child what they want?  Lay on the floor and kick and scream until you feed the baby what they think the baby should be fed?  (actually, I'm thinking that last one may be a bad example, but we'll go with it.)  So have a good laugh, and let it pass.

As for inviting your Mom out.  You know, do what your're comfortable with.  Have a baby/bringing it home/ being sleep deprived for several months/ it's hard, and uncomfortable.  Maybe Mom could come out after baby is a little older and you're feeling a little more comfortable and confident.  But you don't have to make that choice yet, so don't sweat it yet. 

learningtofly

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 08:46:41 AM »
I think you handled her really well.  From now on if she brings it up again you can tell her,"Mom we already had this conversation.  I'm lucky that boss is very flexible.  I'll make the right decision for my family when the time comes."  DD has always been in daycare.  She has thrived.  MIL's first comment-Grandma would come look after you if you weren't so far away." Um, you're 25 minutes away.  But no thanks, we have this covered.

Now we're being criticized because a younger kid in the family can write their name.  Turns out DD can too.  We're always being criticized for something. Some will roll of and some you'll take a stand.

AmethystAnne

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 08:53:14 AM »
Why can't I find that jaw-dropping smiley when I want it?

You did great replying to your mother.

If she is prone to these kinds of comments, why not have a list of things to say in reply to her. Keep it somewhere that you can get to it quickly when she calls.

The one that came to mind was this:  mother says something!truly!wild!and!hurtful!. You pause for a breath, and say "The weather has been so <whatever> that DH and I have been wanting to do <pleasurable activity>."

My next thought was not so nice - go with sarcasm. "Oh Mom, you found me out. Would you believe me if I told you that Baby was going to sleep-away camp until the age of 5? The camp even has a labor and delivery building. Imagine that!"

VltGrantham

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 09:20:10 AM »
I would second, third, fourth, what everyone else has said.  Use your pregnancy as time to get used to the idea that you will never be able to make everyone happy with your parenting choices and frankly, the less information you share with people, the less you will have to defend.

I recommend saying something like "we're still pursuing our options and haven't made a decision yet" then bean-dipping on to other safer subjects.

I know it's rude, but I've finally gotten to the point of when someone gives me a bunch of parenting advice I'll say something like "DD already has two loving parents and is doing fine.  Thanks for your concern, but we're doing this our way."

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2012, 09:41:46 AM »
Ceallach, I think you handled it well, too.  In a way it's a good thing she said that kind of stuff now, because she will probably continue making those comments when the baby is here, and you can prepare yourself. 

Zilla

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Re: Judging me for hypothetical parenting choices :-(
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 09:48:11 AM »
I think you handled it very well and I am glad she tried to backtrack instead of taking a firm stance.  It bodes well if you can keep that stiff spine.  And whatever you do decide on what to do, you can tell her, "Well mom that's what works for us and I don't appreciate you insinuating otherwise." Rinse, lather and repeat.  Don't defend your choices or list the reasons why or what you did to ensure what's best for yourself and your child.


I did have 2 questions, did she raise you as a stay at home Mom?  And is this her first grandchild?