Is everyone a baby expert these days?

I received an email recently from a fellow mom who wanted me to know how much the ‘Tell Another Mom’ mission had helped her through a rough day. Sometimes I wonder if I am reaching enough moms and if the mission is making a difference for anyone. This emailed confirmed to me that the site is  helping other moms, apparently more than I know. It meant a lot to me and wanted to share it with you…

I have become an avid follower of the “Tell Another Mom” blog. As a mother of two young children I can definitely relate. There is a lot of judgment out there. I felt it as a child, as a teen, as a young adult and now, more than ever, as a mother. I have always been a sensitive soul, and I really take other people’s criticisms to heart. I can certainly appreciate advice, but sometimes advice seems more like criticism. Could my sensitivity be inflating this advice into something more? Sure, I’ll give you that.

People often look at situations and feel the need to offer assistance.  If I am at the grocery store and my baby girl starts to cry, random strangers regularly tell me, “oh she’s hungry” or “poor little girl is tired” or my favorite, “maybe she has gas”. I do not claim to be an expert. Sometimes I don’t know why my little one is crying. But after she wakes up, eats a full bottle and burps several times, I am pretty sure she is not hungry, tired or gassy. Perhaps the influx of baby experts congregating at the grocery store are offering nothing more than random verbalization. Is it so wrong to say nothing? I understand that people feel the need to help, but sometimes it’s okay to say nothing at all, or to offer sympathy without tying to diagnose. Nobody knows a baby more than his or her mother.

While I am on the topic of grocery stores, I feel the need to share an experience I found myself in the other day. I was leisurely walking through the store with my baby girl.  I was taking my time strolling up and down the aisles when I ran into an acquaintance. We stopped to chat.  She bent down to speak to my daughter which ultimately resulted in my little girl bawling her eyes out. This time, mystery baby expert #1 was right; she was hungry. I was prepared with a bottle, but I had left her bib in the car. Oh well, better to forget the bib than the bottle right?

As she scarfed down the bottle, I continued to wipe milk from her chin while chatting with the lady we had bumped into. Then, this lady decided to inform me, “When my daughter was a baby, I always had a bib on her, to make sure her clothes didn’t get dirty.” Oh… okay. I smiled. She repeated herself.  Then, she bent down, talking to my daughter, and repeated -for the third time- how she ALWAYS kept a bib on her daughter so she would not get dirty. I stood there. Silenced. Do I try to justify my parenting by telling her how I simply forgot her bib in the car?  Do I lie and tell her that I feel utter joy and a sense of accomplishment every time I scrub stains out of her clothes? No. I stood there, awe-struck, and humbly received my parenting beat-down. Yes, I failed as a mother. Luckily, my daughter’s wails became so incessant that the woman continued on her merry little way. I remained halted in my crouching position trying to comfort my baby while dealing with the scolding I had just received.

I automatically thought of the Tell Another Mom blog. Instead of berating me for not being equipped with a much needed bib, perhaps a little encouragement or understanding would have sufficed. It brings me back to my sensitivity. Perhaps I should have shrugged it off, but the judgment I felt was astonishing. It left me grasping for excuses. Being a mother has left me tired and forgetful. Sometimes I am not fully equipped to deal with the spontaneity of child rearing. But ultimately, despite the “advice” and sometimes disapproval of others, thanks to this site I do feel as though I am doing a good job as a mother.

Comments

Is everyone a baby expert these days? — 10 Comments

  1. To Janet: feel your pain! I finally got so tired of the unsolicited advice that i bought my daughter a onesie that read “My mom doesn’t want your advice.” Rude? Maybe. Justified? Absolutely! You’re doing great! And you’re not alone!

    • Oops… I should have modified the post a little so it read differently. This actually came from a reader named Randi. So to Randi, what an amazing letter. THanks so much for this. Amy, I love the idea of the onesie… I wish I had got my kids one when they were younger.

  2. I so wish I’d had one of those onesies when my kids were babies. Oh, the unsolicited “helpful” advice. I just don’t know what comes over people. Like, why in the *world* would that woman be so obsessed with mentioning the bib thing. Was she waiting for someone to give her a gold star?!

    I love this blog, by the way, and it does help me to know that I’m not the only mother these things happen to.

    • I’m so glad to know that the site helps a few moms out. I hope to reach more moms with the message so please spread the word and if you ever have anything to vent about feel free to send it.

  3. This almost made me cry. Instead of sharing too much, I will just say that I needed to read this. I will echo what this mama wrote. This site has helped me, and I’m sure, many other moms out there to not feel judged.

    • Thanks for your CONTINUOUS support and encouragement… it helps me know that I am reaching others. I know the mom who wrote this is relieved to hear that so many moms could relate to what she has gone through and that she is not the only one.

  4. I love this post and the whole message of this blog. I just found it thanks to Faking Picture Perfect up there ^. It’s so hard to be a parent, and it would make the whole world a better place if we could just support each other.

  5. Yay! I am glad other moms can relate to my post. Thanks again Janet!