Thursday, December 02, 2010

On judging mothers. . .

When I became a mother, friends warned, watch out for the judgments! I expected this and I must admit, though not proudly, that I too have judged a mother or two in my lifetime when I see their child running banshee-like down the aisles, or declare my television Mt. Everest and decide to climb it [and okay in full disclosure if you do nothing while your child hikes up my television set- I guess I still do sort of judge you]. But becoming a mom has really helped temper my judgments of other mothers. I used to judge non-nursing mothers, until it became one of the biggest challenges of my life. When he slept six hour stretches as a newborn I simply assumed I knew what I was doing [what I was doing I had no clue but it must have been my amazing instincts] and then God jumped in to remind me: um, no- no you don't. The amount of advice and the related-judgments I get are enough to write a Tolkien size trilogy and I feel like saying. . .

To the lady that saw my son grab the box out of the shopping cart and then as it fell crossed her arms and shook her head and said I could have told you that would happen. If you could have, why didn't you? Yes babies should not handle boxes in supermarket aisles but a heads-up to me would have prevented the fall and cost you nothing. Or maybe self-righteous contempt is warming. It was cold that night.

To the people who say I'm spoiling him and being selfish by not letting him CIO because its what he needs? How about I point you to literature that goes both ways on the issue and not call you cruel for doing CIO?

To the people who recoil in horror that we co-sleep half the night because its giving him a bad habit. He sleeps better, I sleep better, and at this point in the game I'd rather sleep a two hour stretch, feed him while half-asleep since he's already in bed when he demands it, and doze off after. Its easier for me, its comforting for him. Why does this bother anyone but the occupants of the bed he's in?

To those who call me a TV-Nazi because I take great effort to ensure he's not watching TV and a little bit of TV is fun research shows links to ADD and early TV viewing and yes a twenty minute viewing session once in a while will probably not result in lasting harm- the thing with discipline is if you falter once, then twice, its a slippery slope to the bottom. Its not like in lieu of TV I stick him in a room to stare at the ceiling? I'm, you know, interacting with him.

To those who say "do X Y Z to get his skin lighter" please DO NOT put your post colonialism issues on my son? We love his soft silky baby soft skin if its white like milk or dark like the night sky. This issue annoys me more than any other and I pray that unlike me, he will never have to deal with this sort of stupidity when he's old enough to understand.

How you raise/d your children is fine. But I'm doing my best here too and trying to be a mindful mother who thinks through the choices she's making. Its just the thing is I'm human, and so is Waleed- and we're learning along the way, just like you will, or just as you once did. So please, take the judgments, write them down [its therapeutic] and then keep them to yourself. And I will do the same.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear ya sister!

Anonymous said...

Right on!!! Although to be completely honest, I do still judge the parents of tornado children because *sometimes* its important to NOT let your child explore the intricacies of my delicate glass centerpieces--and not because they are irreplaceable, but because when your child gets hurt, you and I both know you'll be looking to blame someone other than your hellish child, and the blame will inevitably be placed on me....oh and also because YOUR CHILD WILL GET HURT, do you not care at all about that small detail?

Besides that small annoyance, generally speaking I think too many parents spend too much time worrying about what other parents are doing/not doing instead of raising their own children. If your child feel secure and confident in their relationship with you, the rest kind of falls into place. A confident child is a happy child--and a happy child is a happy parent. Good luck :)

Anonymous said...
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Aisha said...

Thanks Anon 1 :) And Anon 2, yes thats true- the kids who climb onto things or handle glass artifacts are not just risking your property but they're being hazardous to their own health- but you're right, security and confidence are the most important thing we can give our children- however we choose to do it :)

Jen said...

I cant believe the last one! Really :/

katery said...

you have GOT to be kidding me... people give you suggestions on how to make his skin lighter????? i don't even know what to say about that, i am speechless.
i felt the same way about mom's who chose not to breasfeed... until i tried to do it myself.
and as far as co-sleeping goes, if the baby is sleeping that means you are sleeping and it is imperative that we sleep sometimes! if having him sleep in your bed works for your family the do it! who cares!!!

Aisha said...

Jen, Kate, yes sad but true- what can you do? Luckily its not said too often. Yes- I have finally accepted that co-sleeping works for us- at the moment he's in his crib but when I'm dead asleep and he wakes up for the third time- he comes in bed with me. I can't do it any other way! And I'm okay with that!

Anonymous said...

Re # 7 - I bet you this is said by aunties who have too much time on their hands and nothing better to do than pass retarted comments like this. Aaargh - some things never change!

Ash

Anonymous said...

And you stay at home with your son, imagine what you would hear if you left him with strangers in a place called daycare!

--Rasha

Anonymous said...

Another point: I do sometimes give my opinions to my close friends, but it's always in the form of: here's my opinion; what I think. I bet the problem with the above-mentioned list is two-fold: 1) the way these things are said, and 2) they are said by people who you may not even be close to or care for their opinion.

And also, wait until you get to potty training! Everyone has an opinion about that. I regret trying so hard to potty train my daughter at 2, just because everyone said I should. At almost 3, it was so much easier!

--Rasha

E said...

Do you feel like people are judging you? Your post sounds that way. Everyone raises their children differently and I don't think that is cause for judgement. Have you ever watched the movie Babies? If not, you have to see it. It shows babies from 5 different countries and how differently they are raised. Some of those things might seem barbaric to me but to them they are not......Too much judgement in this world if you ask me...not enough respect.

E said...

And as far as making his skin lighter, who in the hell suggested that? That is just a moronic thing to suggest.

Aisha said...

Ash- yes, actually more our grandparents generation- so I try to cut slack- but at the same time its annoying.

Rasha- I dont mind if its a good friend ofcourse, the problem is that it seems the first question people ask after they ask his name (strangers, and acquaintences) is: Does he sleep through the night. If I give the honest answer of NO then that is where the unsolicited advice and related judgments start pouring in.

E- I LOVE the movie Babies and its actually heped me feel a lot less guilty about things I do I always think of that beautiful boy from Mongolia, so precious! I do feel judgments- and I don't take it personally- but its just annoying sometimes.

katery said...

we never had louise in the bed with us, but we did have her in our room for a while. after about six weeks we HAD to move her to her own room because i could NOT sleep with her in the same room! every little peep she made, every breath she took would wake me up! there is no flipping WAY i could have slept with her in our bed. we are all different people, co-sleeping didn't work for me but it clearly works for you and that is great. we all need to do what is right for us and just because something is right for one person that doesn't automatically mean it will be right for someone else.

seriously, my skin is so painfully pale i'm surprised people don't go blind when they look at me, what i would give to get a little color once in a while (other than burned) and here someone is telling you how to make waleed's skin LIGHTER??? ridiculous.

'Murgdan' said...

Yes...everyone has an opinion, that's for sure. Even I (hanging head), had opinions BEFORE I even had a child. Now I just keep my mouth shut. I've had to eat my words on everything else...and now have a child who sleeps in my bed, naps on my chest, etc. etc. etc. *sigh*

Aisha said...

Kate, I sleep fine with him next to me, he doesn't move AT ALL when he's out cold- so it helps matters- I know at some point he needs to spend the whole time in his own bed- and own room- but we'll cross that when we get there- lol, yeah, I think the skin thing is a matter of never being happy with what you have. Its sad really.

Murgdan, yeah- and I wont lie I still have a lot of opinions on things- and I'm sure they'll all get toppled as I venture on into the road of motherhood!

mezba said...

the last part would seriously piss me off... why are people so obsessed with lighter skin?

mystic-soul said...

Been there done there. If you aske my opinion - there is no philosophy to raise kids except love and parental instinct. Half of books, magazines, tool in market are just garbage....

Aisha said...

Mezba- I wish I knew- I wish I knew- self-hatred perhaps?

Mystic- that's what I rely on more and more- my instincts over anything else.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable!!!

Banshee said...

I feel exactly the same way about the judging! And must ashamedly admit I was far too judgmental before becoming a mother myself.

And I am totally shocked people give advice to lighten a baby's skin - wow!

I just found your blog from your comment on mine, and I'm happy to be in your directory :)

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