Posts Tagged ‘ mean mommies ’

“I bet you hope your next baby is a girl!”

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

People have been overly interested in my uterus since Chris and I got engaged a decade ago. The longer we were married without children, the more persistent they became about our reproductive plans. We held our ground and waited until we had been married for seven years before we tried for Mason, and luckily we were able to get pregnant pretty quickly.

Nine months later, we had a healthy boy who instantly became the love of our lives. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I had wished for a healthy baby, but I secretly longed for a boy and was elated when I learned we were having one at our 20-week ultrasound.

Mason will be two in August, and there seems to be a renewed interest in my reproductive future, and not just by the people I know. I’m constantly hearing, When are you having another one? from random people: the guy at the deli while I’m paying for a cup of coffee, the taxi driver taking us into the city on a rainy morning, my friend’s nanny as I admire her new baby, and even the super lazy doorman who never actually opens the door for me (even when I’m loaded down with a stroller and six bags).

It’s a question I constantly ask myself, and couldn’t answer with any certainty until recently.

When I had my breast cancer scare in February, my doctor mentioned that depending on my tests results, she might recommend that I have additional children immediately so that I could begin a more aggressive treatment plan. I panicked and cried to Chris that I wanted another baby but just wasn’t ready yet. Luckily my doctor never had to go there, and I learned that now is not quite the time for us to add to our family.

But being more clear on where I stand with the second baby question doesn’t make it less annoying when someone pries. Yesterday a neighbor put an entirely new (and more obnoxious) spin on it. We were both waiting in the lobby of our building for the elevator and exchanging small talk about our kids. Of course she asked The Question. I shrugged and gave a non-committal, I’m sure I’ll have another one at some point! Her response? “I bet you hope your next baby is a girl!”

Wait, what? Was she kidding?

Apparently not. Despite my shock I managed to smile and say that I loved having a son and would be thrilled to have another. “Really? she asked. “You don’t want a girl? Wow, I’m surprised!”  Um, so was I, but for an entirely different reason.

I flashed back to a conversation I had with AP, the author of the blog I Love You More Than Carrots, last winter at BlissDom. She’s expecting her second boy this month and was startled when a woman at the conference asked her whether she was planning on trying for a third baby in hopes that she’d conceive a girl. I was flabbergasted when she shared that encounter with me, and now I know how she felt.

I just don’t get it. Are these people suggesting that boys are somehow inferior to girls? I’m all for girl power, but c’mon! Why is it just assumed that every woman wants a daughter? And do people actually think that if you have sons instead of daughters your family (or life?) is somehow lacking?

Photo: Baby after a bath via Artpose Adam Borkowski/Shutterstock.com

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I’m Mom Enough Not to Be an Attachment Parent

Friday, May 11th, 2012

I’m home on my couch, in sweats, with my chest covered in bandages and a skin tight sports bra, following my lumpectomy for a precancerous breast mass yesterday. I had planned on leaving my computer off and relaxing with an icepack all day, but after I saw the Today Show this morning, I had to fire it up and blog. The segment with Dr. William Sears, 72, and Jamie Grumet, 26, who was photographed nursing her three-year-old son Aram on the cover of TIME magazine, totally pissed me off.

To be clear, I’m not riled up that Grumet is nursing a preschooler. I agreed with Charlotte when she told Violet on Private Practice two seasons ago that, “What you want to do with your boobs is your business.” (See the latest post on Love & Diapers for more perspective from a breastfeeding mom.) If Grumet, who was breastfed until she was six-years-old, thinks that nursing her older son is the way to go, so be it. I momentarily fantasized about nursing my 20-month-old when I learned that I was still producing breastmilk, but it’s just not my style.

What irritates me is the notion that moms who practice attachment parenting, in which they carry a child in a sling everywhere they go, breastfeed into toddlerhood, share their bed with their child, and attend to their child’s every cry–are somehow better than moms who don’t (as suggested by the headline on the magazine’s cover, “Are You Mom Enough?). And that kids who are parented in this way are somehow superior. Dr. Sears, who pioneered this extreme style of parenting, even goes so far as to suggest that attachment parenting prevents bullying.

“I’ve never yet seen an attachment-parented baby who’s become a school bully,” he said on the Today Show. “If you were on an island, and you had no mother-in-laws, no psychologists, no doctors around, no experts, this is what you would naturally and instinctively do…”

The bully statement is impossible for him to prove. In fact, one of his former patients just might be a bully now. I imagine that he’s seen thousands of patients in his career given his age, and I can’t believe that he’s followed every single one into adulthood.

And the island comment? I just don’t buy it. If we lived on an island, I wouldn’t haul Mason around in a sling all day–I’d encourage him to explore our surroundings and learn. I’d make every effort to protect him against dangers, just like we do at home by baby-proofing our apartment, but I’d want him to develop independence and curiosity, not cling to me all day. Part of being a healthy, happy person is being self-reliant, which he can’t learn if I do everything for him. The ultimate goal of parenting, I think, is to foster independence and instill an understanding in your child that you’ll be there for him, no matter what.

I also agree with psychotherapist Robi Ludwig’s take on attachment parenting, which she shared as part of the segment.  “When you give a child the feeling that the whole world revolves around them, it’s not good training for the real world,” she said. “The whole world doesn’t revolve around anybody.”

Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve tried to be less judgmental, and I think I’ve succeeded in some ways.  But there are certain issues that I can’t be neutral on–and this is one of them. Are you pro-attachment parenting, or against it? Share your thoughts here.

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10 Moms to Avoid (Or Just Ignore)

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011


Yes, this blog is about cooking for babies and toddlers. But sometimes you’ve just gotta break the rules and today is my day to go rogue. Roll with me on this one: My next post will be on topic, I promise.

I’ve been a mom for 14 months now and I’m convinced I’ve met every type of mom out there. Most moms I meet are amazing. But a few encounters that I’ve had recently have convinced me that there are certain types of moms who must be avoided, or, at the very least, ignored. These moms are unsupportive, unhelpful, and even toxic to your health and happiness. Here they are, along with ideas on how to deal with them if you must. Watch out: If you haven’t met them already, chances are you will.

1. The critical mom. My neighbor admitted to another mom (in a new mom support group) that she pumped her breast milk instead of nursing so she could tell how much her son was eating. The mom she confided in spent the next 10 minutes berating her  for  “depriving her son of the nutritious fats that baby only gets from nursing.” Really? Really? Solution: Smile and excuse yourself to go to the restroom, grab a glass of water, whatever. And avoid confiding in this mom again.

2. The smug mom. A mom in my building whose 11-month-old daughter walks was shocked to discover my 14-month-old does not. After she grilled me on whether I was worried that my son was behind — as I was balancing a sick baby in one arm and loading vomit-covered clothes into a washing machine with the other — she assured me condescendingly that he was “probably” fine. For the record, he is. Solution: Don’t get defensive, instead try “How exciting that [Anna] is walking. Soon she and [Mason] will be chasing each other around!”

3. The antisocial mom.  I made the mistake of asking an aloof mom at daycare how she planned to celebrate her kid’s upcoming first birthday. She reacted as if I had just asked her for her Facebook password. In blood. Solution: Make a graceful exit from the conversation and do your best to avoid this mom at pick-up and drop-off. You can’t win.

4. The buzz-kill mom. A first-time mom I know joined a mommy-to-be group at 7 weeks pregnant. After my friend introduced herself to the group another mom looked pointedly at her and announced that she miscarried her first baby at nine weeks. It’s awful that the mom in her group lost a pregnancy but telling another pregnant mom a horror story is never OK.  Solution: Be sympathetic but keep in mind that every pregnancy is different; one tragedy does not make another.

5. The perfect mom. She’s at your local playground (twice a day, natch!), with a bag full of homemade organic snacks. Her kid is a better walker, talker, eater — you name it! — than yours and she’s more than happy to share how your kid can be just as perfect — if you give her the chance. Solution: Change the subject. If that doesn’t work, let your kid guide you to another part of the playground.

6. The backstabbing mom. She is the biggest offender of all. She’s your best friend/biggest supporter when you’re around but as soon as you’re out of sight (or earshot) she’s picking your parenting prowess apart. Solution: Run — don’t walk — away. If she’s criticizing another mom it’s only a matter of time until she’s criticizing you, too.

7. The insensitive mom. A friend with a chronic illness confided in another friend that she felt guilty for taking medication during her pregnancy. The other mom replied, “Oh I never could have done that. I couldn’t have lived with myself if something had been wrong with my baby.” Solution: Of course every mom wants to do what’s best for her baby, and part of that is taking care of herself, too. Turn to friends you can trust for support — and tune out the rest.

8. The negative mom. Occasional griping is perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable — but this mom is always complaining about her kid, her marriage, her job, blah, blah, blah. Being around her can actually make you feel more stressed out/depressed/negative, too. Solution: Don’t waste your time on a mom who brings you down. Surround yourself with moms who lift you up instead.

9. The judgmental mom. Her way is the only way. Period. Hot button topics that she loves to debate include breastfeeding, sleep habits, and developmental milestones. Solution: Unless you’re up for a debate, it’s easier to just smile and nod while you’re around her — and get away as quickly as possible.

10. The worst-case-scenario mom. What if her three-month-old doesn’t get into the right kindergarten? What if her kid tries finger foods and chokes? What if the stranger in the park is actually a kidnapper? Solution: If she’s a good friend, try to help her put it all into perspective — all moms worry, after all. Otherwise minimize the amount of time you spend around her. A constant worrier only adds to your stress.

Is it just us New York City moms, or have you met toxic moms, too? Share your story — and how you handled the situation!



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Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Friend or Foe? Either Way, Why Are We Attacking Each Other?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

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First, let me thank everyone who read this week’s Tuesday Timesaver. Thank you, thank you! I’m really honored that you took a few moments to check out the post. I hope it was helpful to you and if not, well, maybe another post will be more useful. It’s thrilling to have this opportunity to share the special experiences I’ve had cooking for my son with all of you. It truly makes my day when a reader tells me that I’ve helped her/him by offering a fresh idea or a delicious-sounding recipe. And when a mom actually makes the recipe and reports back on what her kids thought? Bliss! And, hey, if your kid doesn’t like a recipe, let me know. Your feedback might inspire a variation that other kids will like too. As for this morning’s post, I have to admit, some of the reactions to it really surprised me. When I decided to write about making a big batch of macaroni and cheese ahead and freezing the leftovers to save time on busy weeknights, I never imagined it would spark a debate. Or that debating the merits (or lack of merits) of mac ‘n’ cheese would lead to moms attacking other moms. Then I logged onto Facebook.

Here’s a snapshot of what some of you had to say. At last count, more than 200 of you say you “Like” the post (thank you, so happy you enjoyed it). Some moms had great ideas for jazzing up mac ‘n’ cheese. “We love mac and cheese at our house!,” said Casey. “I always add diced broccoli, carrots, or peas for veggies and sometimes tuna or chicken cubes to it too.” Other moms were excited to have a new dinner idea. “Will try it today!” Sandhya exclaimed earlier today; tonight she posted on Facebook that the recipe “came out perfect…My LO who was on a Sabbatical from eating finished her dinner plate clean.” Amanda also made the recipe tonight: “It was awesome!!!!!” she said. “My son went wild over it!!!!!” You made my night, Amanda and Sandhya! I’m delighted your kids enjoyed their mac ‘n’ cheese. Then there were the moms who weren’t quite so, um, enthusiastic. “I would never ever make that gross thing for my kid,” said one. Fair enough, you don’t have to. Another mom was opposed to feeding her kids frozen food, even if it’s homemade then frozen (this one perplexed me but to each is own).  Then there were the arguments ranging from food allergies to organic foods to vaccines between some of the moms who weighed in. Oy.

Of the 65 comments I’ve read so far, both positive and negative, only one bothered me–not because I felt that it was a personal attack but because it sounded to me like another way for a mom to judge other moms: “What a good idea if you’re too lazy or busy to cook a fresh hot meal!” Really? Moms who take cooking shortcuts from time to time are lazy? What about all the time they spent making the food in the first place? What about the fact that they’re invested in what their kids are eating? Even if dinner comes from a box or a jar, who are we to call another mom lazy? We judge other parents, especially moms, on so many issues–breastfeeeding, working outside the home, sending their kids to daycare, letting their kids cry it out a night and now we’re going to judge how they cook for their own kids? Really? In my opinion, if a mom is taking the time to make a meal that she feels is nutritious and that her kids will enjoy then she should be applauded. Hopefully she’ll even get to sit down and enjoy that meal with her kids.

So here’s a new idea for us all. What if we step back for a minute and give other moms a break? What if we invite another mom and her family over and enjoy a healthful meal together? What if we strike up a conversation with that mom on the playground who breastfeeds or bottle feeds or does the opposite of the ideal we’ve set for ourselves? What if we just stop criticizing each other and instead embrace the sisterhood that comes with bringing a new life into the world? The next time I’m at the playground or the baby gym or the local coffee shop where all the moms hang out on Sunday morning, I’m going to hold my judgements and be a better friend to the moms around me.  What about you?

Image from PhotoBucket.com

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