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Being one of "those" mothers...

post #1 of 115
Thread Starter 
I'm not totally sure why I'm posting this now -- other than just to get it off my chest. I don't post here (or anywhere for that matter) all that often because I'm a terrible "nak-er", but I do spend a lot of time reading and learning. We moved recently and my DD has reacted by needed to nap while latched on --- so I've been spending more time here than usual.

I'd really like to share something that bothers me about many of the posts I see here at MDC (as well as other AP sites). A sizable number of posts seem to take aim at examples of "poor" or "mainstream" mothering seen in stores, restaurants, or other people's homes. Whenever I read a post of this nature, I think of all the times I might have appeared to me one of "those" mothers.

The most recent example was about a month ago when the kids and I had to run to the grocery store. It was *freezing* cold outside, but we really had to go (DH had a late meeting that night and we really needed milk and other essentials). DD was still in the bucket carseat -- something we decided to do because it would be easier to keep her warm during the nasty New England winter. Unless she was sound asleep in the bucket, she always went right into the sling as soon as we got inside. Anyway -- we get to the store and it's freezing (-10 with the wind). I get DS loaded into the cart. He's angry because we were at the store, so he's crying. DD was crying because she was strapped into the bucket and didn't want to be. The only open spot was pretty far away from the store, so I zipped the bunting over DD's head until we get to the store. We get in the store and the large automatic doors are stuck open, so I decided to navigate somewhere away from the draft/wind before I took DD out of the bucket. Both kids are crying the entire time. Of course, as soon as I got to a warm place, I took Zoe out of the bucket and popped her in the sling. Ean got a bagel, calmed down, and we chatted about the bird that was flying around the store. Both kids were happy and the outing was fun (albiet cold!).

So, if you had seen me in the store, you would have seen a mother with an upset toddler and a crying baby in a bucket and totally enclosed in her nanobag bunting. You might have looked at me and thought "please pick that baby up" or " what a terrible 'mainstream' mother". You might have even come here and posted about what a horrible thing you saw at Stop & Shop!!

Then there's the time (also in Stop & Shop -- lol!) that Ean was really needed my full attention. He was sitting in the cart and I had Zoe in the sling. Zoe was tired and fussing in the sling a bit. I was trying to nurse her to sleep in the sling as I was walking around the store. Ean was getting more and more frustrated and angry that I was paying attention to Zoe, so he started kicking the sling. I knew it wasn't the time or place to reason with him, so I decided to try to put Zoe in her bucket (which was in the big part of the cart) and give Ean my full attention. She wasn't thrilled about being in the bucket and was fussing (not crying). I kept offering her a pacifier while I attended to Ean. We were in line already, so there was no point in leaving the store. So, that day, you would have seen a baby in a bucket and a mom who was "pushing" a paci. Again, I could see myself being the subject of a critical post here at MDC.

What you wouldn't have known about me is that I am a responsive, loving mother who left a fancy-schmancy career as a neuroscientist to be a SAHM. We co-sleep, sling, breastfeed on demand, and cloth-diaper. I don't ever spank and do my level best not to raise my voice. I work hard and do my best to meet the needs of my children.

Nearly every time I log on to MDC, I see another post about the horrible things that someone saw happen in the grocery store/mall/library/restaurant. These posts tend to get lots of views and have lots of responses. Sometimes the incidents are truely outrageous and horrifying, but, frequently, they could easily be about someone like me. How do we know that the mom with the crying baby isn't a wonderful AP-- or heck, a wonderful 'mainstream' (don't like that term!) mom who was having a really bad day? Or just a mom who was doing the best she could?

I guess it just upsets me to come someplace like MDC (a wonderful place for both support and education) and feel like I could be the subject of such harsh and blind judgement. I've always thought that compassion and empathy were the 2 corner stones of AP, but, it seems like AP moms are some of the harshest judges.

I'm not trying to start a huge arguement and I really hope I don't get too horribly flamed --- I've just been thinking about this for a really long time and needed to unload.

Thanks for reading!
post #2 of 115
I have often thought the same thing. I'm sure many of the moms here would think I was "one of those moms" if they saw me with my highlighted hair, fake nails, full face of makeup, and designer clothes at my suburban utopia mall, pushing my dd in a stroller while she eats Chick-Fil-A nuggets. Most probably wouldn't guess that I am a homebirthing, extended nursing, co-sleeping, slinging (when she'll have it), cloth diapering, homeopathy-using mama. But you know what? I really don't care. I used to, but now, I have developed the attitude that if people want to brand me a "mainstream" or "unattached" parent because of the way I look, fine with me. It's their loss.

When I see a mom doing something in a store or whatever that causes to me make a kneejerk judgment, I try to remind myself that I don't know what kind of day she has had and that I am only seeing a snapshot of her life.

post #3 of 115

I hear you LOUD and CLEAR!

I totally agree you with you. I am fairly new to the boards, but I have been bothered by the way people judge others' parenting! It is amazing how a lot of these commentaries are judging others based on a tiny glimpse of their lives!

I have never been one for being part of a group, and I'm still not. I don't consider myself AP, because I don't want to put a label on my lifestyle and how I raise my daugther. (maybe you've noticed by I refuse to use the abbreviations everyone uses... my daughter is not a 'dd', she is my daughter!).

Anyway, it seems that for some people, they need to be a part of a group or click. Just because someone follows an 'AP' methodology towards child rearing doesn't mean that they are not judgemental. It seems that people are too quick to judge others based on very little information. Maybe it makes them feel superior to put other people down.

I personally focus on doing the best I can in raising my daughter, and I don't worry about others unless they ask for my help/advice.

post #4 of 115
Hey, I thought I was the only one who didn't do those abbreviations...

I've decided that the "stuff" isn't really what matters, to me anyway. If modifying what you eat or wear or watch helps you parent more mindfully, then by all means, do it, but I don't see those things as the important thing. The important thing is how you treat your children, pure and simple. If you're responding to their needs, treating them with gentleness and respect, and being a thoughtful parent, and you think about issues and make conscious decisions, then I don't think it matters if you decide that McNuggets work for your family, or shirts with Rugrats on them.

YMMV,

Dar
post #5 of 115
I know that I have appeared to be one of "those" mothers very frequently. Not only that, but I never did get a hang of the sling and so my kids were always strollered, held in the snugli, or most often just plain held.

I try not to pass judgement based on little things like crying kids in the store (heaven knows it happens to me often enough), or tantrumming toddlers, or anything like that (I'll try to help if I can - ask if I can hold a baby or watch a bag or something). But ocassionaly something will happen, like a mom will slap her child hard on the back of the head, and then I just get angry. I tend to reserve my judgement for moments like that.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know you're not alone - I certainly look bad enough a lot of the time.
post #6 of 115
Quote:
I try not to pass judgement based on little things like crying kids in the store (heaven knows it happens to me often enough), or tantrumming toddlers, or anything like that (I'll try to help if I can - ask if I can hold a baby or watch a bag or something). But ocassionaly something will happen, like a mom will slap her child hard on the back of the head, and then I just get angry. I tend to reserve my judgement for moments like that.
Yep, me too. As much as I try to take the "I don't know what kind of day she's had" attitude, there are some times that I do make a judgment because IMO *nobody* could have a day bad enough to excuse the behavior (like hitting the child or, as I saw one mother do, scream at the child and call her a retard).
post #7 of 115
Quote:
Originally posted by morgan's_mom
I have often thought the same thing. I'm sure many of the moms here would think I was "one of those moms" if they saw me with my highlighted hair, fake nails, full face of makeup, and designer clothes at my suburban utopia mall, pushing my dd in a stroller while she eats Chick-Fil-A nuggets. Most probably wouldn't guess that I am a homebirthing, extended nursing, co-sleeping, slinging (when she'll have it), cloth diapering, homeopathy-using mama. But you know what? I really don't care. I used to, but now, I have developed the attitude that if people want to brand me a "mainstream" or "unattached" parent because of the way I look, fine with me. It's their loss.

When I see a mom doing something in a store or whatever that causes to me make a kneejerk judgment, I try to remind myself that I don't know what kind of day she has had and that I am only seeing a snapshot of her life.


EXACTLY!
I never understand on this board when women judge other women based on a few minute's snapshot of their life. (and yes that could be interpreted as me judging those posters-- I have no particular poster or instance in mind, btw )
It is best to give the "benefit of the doubt" and think about others judging us, and the possible ways that any mother, even an ap one could end up looking "bad" for a few minutes in public.
post #8 of 115


Right on! I totally agree, and it kills me to see so much judgement passed when we're all doing the best we can.

However....

This is also a place where people can come and vent about those things. In my limited experience, people ardent about mothering to the best of their ability also tend to be pretty passionate. I think that's where alot of the judgement comes from, in folks wanting to cry out in a supportive atmosphere of mostly like-minded women when they see a foul.

I'd *love* to see less judgement on these boards, but I also love them as a place where I can come vent, too...

Well-worded post, Mindful Mom!
post #9 of 115
I've realized in the past few years that there is a fine line between activism and elitism. I believe that the way I parent is activism-- I'm actively doing something that I believe will change the world.

Those threads that are nothing but lists of things that "other" parents do that annoy the poster are elitism, nothing else. They accomplish nothing other than to showcase what perfect, wonderful parents the posters are. I try not to read them and I certainly don't post in them. As a matter of fact, those threads are a big part of why I've never been able to get totally immersed in this community. The judgement and negativity does nothing to help or uplift anyone, which is what activism should be about.
post #10 of 115
Mindful Mom~thank you! we all need to be reminded once in a while that all of us moms are on the same team
post #11 of 115
Excellent points made.
post #12 of 115
Well, I can be very judgemental in my private head. But I try to quell that internal judgemental voice when I'm at the grocery store, because it doesn't take much to see that grocery shopping is pretty stressful for a lot of children.

I've praised other moms for keeping their cool and I've had praise from other moms for keeping mine, in the grocery store. If you were one of the moms I praised or one of the ones who praised me, thanks for your positive modeling.

post #13 of 115
I agree with both the spirit and the letter of your OP, Mindful Mom. There have been several posts of late commenting on the judgemental quality of MDC, and its good to see that so many other people have noticed, and resisted, too. It raises my hackles to see so many posts complaining about what people have seen perfect strangers do in public places. I sometimes think, when will my bad day be broadcast on MDC?
post #14 of 115
Wow, I am glad I read this post. I have come to this site several times, and left feeling like I am a bad mom for things that I may or may not choose to do. I always shop with my youngest in the infant carrier, unless dh is with me. Gwen hates her sling, but she really enjoys being in the carrier, so that is where she sits. I also have been known to bribe my older children with the promise of a treat, to get them listen to me in the grocery store. The absolute worst thing that I do though, is feed my dd formula. I feel embarassed every time I make her a bottle. But why is she on formula? Because as soon as my period came back, she went on a nursing strike for over a month, then I got pregnant again and my milk supply decreased even more, and she was done. I think if I was seen on the street, I would easily me mistaken for a mainstream mom, but I am not. I cloth diaper, cosleep, use GD, BF for as long as my baby would allow it. I am glad to see I am not the only mom on these boards, who is not perfect.
post #15 of 115
Good thread.

I am a mix of mainstream (in some respects) and AP (in many respects), but I get funny looks from both sides! :

At least my Goo still loves me at the end of the day!
post #16 of 115
I'm one of "those" mothers too....I wear makeup, my baby has plastic toys, and we *gasp* vax....but I also co-sleep, sling, breastfeed, cloth diaper, cloth mama, and spend 24 hours a day with my baby playing with him... Am I a bad mother? Nope...and neither are you. We all pick the form of parenting that works best for us and our babies.
post #17 of 115
Thank you for bringing this up. I feel compelled to defend what ever mom is being bashed because i think perhaps they are talking to me. I see scenes in a store and have nothing but sympathy or the poor mom and baby. Ava would cry if the cart went too slow. seriously, I would have to run through the store grabbing stuff and dodging people without going beloow the minimum speed requirement. it is just easier in Soiuth dakota if you can leave your child in the bucket with thier cumbersome snowsuit on., It is no picnic gettingin and out of those. She was hungry. I wasn't yet adept at feeding while walking. I was going to quick grab some toilet paper for our store, a snack for me and the girls and the run to our store (across the street from the store I was shopping at) where I could sit in a comfportable chair and nurse while my older children ate. IT WAS A GOOD PLAN.So I am running through the store like a lunatic (because we can't go slow : ) my older children are crying because they are hungry and having a hard time keeping up because we are running and then out of nowhere this somewhat familiar looking woman comes up to see the new baby. I am sure I knew her from somewhere but couldn't place her face (ILs know everyone in town and the people they don't know dh does). So she chats about the baby, makes an attempt to sooth her and then makes some comment about her being hungry. I may have rolled my eyes and said "yeah, but it is hard to feed her while standing here" In the meantime the only reason she was screaming was because this lady had cornered us to judge us and state the obvious. So in a few short minutes we were sitting in the bike shop eating pretzles and drinking milk and I was feeding my hungry baby. BUT THEN a few days later my friend mentions that she had talked to this lady and she said somehting to her about me l;atting my baby scream and not feeding her. God bless mary who said "That must not have been Sandra, she can nurse her baby while walking and shopping and tending to her other children all without breaking a sweat or being the least bit self conscience. She would never just refuse her baby. She must have had a good reason" But dang, that woman, was judging me and talking about me behind my back. I was so mad. She had no idea what kind of mother I was and she was a huge part of the problem that day. It turned out, she hunted me down from across the store. She heard a newborn crying and had to come see what the deal was :

And there are lots of other not so shining moments in my life :LOL especially at grocery stores. In the end I try to do what is best for my family. And if that isn't Ap enough for the AP elite then so be it.
post #18 of 115
OK, I agree about not judging, but OTOH, writing about something you saw someone do in the store isn't exactly passing judgement, either.

Of course everyone has a bad day, or several of them. And of course you can never be certain what kind of mother a person is by one brief glimpse into that woman's life. However, writing about it here isn't the same as calling a mom out in public for her "poor" parenting, or painting a scarlet "M" on her plastic baby bucket.

When I see posts here about something someone saw at the mall, etc, I just take it for what it is. A situation that rubbed the poster the wrong way. If I see someone whose baby is crying in the plastic seat, it bothers me. I probably don't assume that the mom never picks up the baby, unless I hear the same baby crying the whole time I'm there. Even then I am aware that there could most certainly be a good reason for the mother's actions. I'm aware it could be me on any given day. It still bothers me.

So perhaps we are passing judgement on the MDCers a little quickly as well. Perhaps they are commenting on the situation and their reaction as much as on that particular person. If they didn't actually tell that mom she was a lousy mom, and just whined about it here, then no real harm was done, IMO.
post #19 of 115
Quote:
Originally posted by mothersong
If they didn't actually tell that mom she was a lousy mom, and just whined about it here, then no real harm was done, IMO.
I kind of agree with this, since IMO if you vent online it is much better than getting in a mom's face when she's having a bad day. If it has a cathartic effect, go for it, but I think that we should attempt to make it more of a self-examination thing sometimes - why does this bug me? why do I feel so bad about it? do I really think she is a bad person, or am I just having a bad day and crying is rubbing me the wrong way? I think a lot of times it is all in the wording (often, how we word things is a subconscious expression of how we are analyzing the situation) - "I couldn't believe she did that!" is worlds different from "I felt so bad when I heard that" even if they address the exact same situation.
post #20 of 115
Well said Mindful Mom. I am sure there are times we all look like one of those moms. We all can't be perfect!
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