I consider myself an okay mom. What I lack in attention to detail, I make up for with lots of patience. My two-and-a-half-year-old isn't potty trained yet, but she speaks in complete sentences. We read lots of books together, take walks to the park, chat over dinner, and I'd say overall my daughter appears to be happy enough with my mommy performance thus far.
But there's at least one person in this world who is convinced I've got this motherhood thing all wrong: my dear, amazing but judgmental, 92-year-old grandmother. Here are the top 8 ways I'm "ruining" my child -- and possibly my unborn child as well -- according to granny.
I don't force her to eat everything on her plate. I'm not one of those moms who makes three dinners. You either eat what I've made or you don't eat. You bet gran digs that militant attitude. But here's where we part ways: while she would force us to sit at the table until every morsel of food was consumed, I firmly believe my child knows when enough is enough. I don't push it.
I don't yell at her for being a "bad girl" when she does something naughty. In my grandmother's eyes, this is considered "spoiling" your child. They have to know that they are bad sometimes, she argues. I argue that their behavior can suck and they should know that, but it makes me uneasy to call her "bad."
I don't force her to sit on the potty against her will. Look, I might change my tune if she is five and still screaming bloody murder when I suggest she poop in the potty, but for now I don't drag her onto it. If she expresses any interest at all, I jump. If not, I let it be.
I am thinking of hiring a lactation counselor when I have my second baby this spring. I didn't have an easy time breastfeeding my daughter and I gave up after a few months. I'd like to give it a fair go next time around, but I feel like I need help. Gran, who could breastfeed a hundred children with her eyes closed, firmly believes breastfeeding is not a "business," it's "natural" and "easy" to do. Sigh.
I take my toddler out in the cold. Bundled up, of course. If your grandparents are German, they'll pat me on the back for this. If they're Italian like my gran, however, they'll think pneumonia and Black Death.
I buy my child clothing that isn't always 100% cotton, made in France, or handmade. It isn't that I don't want to drape her in the finest, it's that she grows two inches every four days and I'd also like to put her through college at some point.
A lot of her toys are "educational." She'll be in school soon enough, according to my grandmother. Pass the poor child a damn Barbie, will you?
My husband and I talk to our daughter at dinner instead of ignoring her. I should add that my daughter has no trouble speaking up and contributing at larger family functions because she feels at ease doing this around our dinner table at home. But my gran thinks this just gives children a sense of entitlement that they haven't yet earned.
I try to respect that my grandmother has her own reasons for thinking and feeling the way she does, and sometimes I wonder if she has a point. Maybe not about the exported knit sweaters -- but it would be nice if my daughter could ditch her diapers sooner rather than later.
Does your grandmother or mother ever make you feel like you're making big mom mistakes? What do they think you do wrong?
Image Via Lisa Fogarty