I've been feeling really unsupported by my extended family lately. My mom and sister have probably been my two biggest critics. Normally, we get along, but ever since I began exclusively cloth diapering my little one at about two months of age.... I feel like their questions and critiques are non stop. Actually, they seem to take turns, although I'm sure it's not conscious. At least, I hope not. However, that's part of the frustration for me... that its unconscious. I wish their interactions with me were more encouraging than discouraging.
As stated above, some of the first critiquing and questioning came upon my decision to exclusively cloth diaper my LO. My sister began expressing her concerns that the crotch portion of the diaper was too big and would it prevent my LOs legs from developing properly and possibly become bow-legged. As I learned about which cloth diapers were most effective in preventing leaks, my extended family all contributed to making fun of how big the diapers are (which all cloth diapers seem a little bigger than disposables. we now use prefolds with wool pants).
I also have chosen to exclusively breastfeed my LO for the first 12 months. Again, questions from my sister about whether or not that's okay and on and on. My little one is growing well and gaining well, so there is no reason for concern. I occasionally allow my LO to munch on foods, like steamed broccoli or raw carrots to soothe teething gums. I am practicing Elimination Communication with my LO and one morning I spotted something unusual in the stool. Upon looking more closely, I discovered it was a tiny piece of broccoli! I wasn't alarmed because I knew some of it would likely make it's way through LOs system, but what I found interesting is that it was still evidently broccoli, which led me to believe my LOs digestive system is not ready for solids (even though I was already not planning to feed solids for a year). I shared this with my sister and it seems to have quieted her concerns about my choice to EBF.
As for my mom, she seems to question less but make pokes and digs and critique. For example, my LO bumped her head on a puzzle and cried and my brother was recounting the story to our mom. My mom then looked at my little one and said, "aww... were they not watching you." I was right there, but LO simply lost balance and toppled, like any child mastering their balance. What made this comment so upsetting was that earlier in the evening, I had already expressed my frustration to my mother about how unsupported I felt she was and that I did not need her to give me parenting advice because I'm hard enough on myself ... I didn't need it from anyone else. I am comfortable asking for advice and though I take pride in my parenting, my pride does not cloud my ability to ask for help or advice when I need it. Earlier in the day, my mother had also tried to tell me that I really shouldn't put my child in the middle of a disagreement with my sister. My mother was not present for the disagreement with my sister and therefore didn't know that my child had not actually been put in the middle of anything. What was actually behind the comment, was that I shouldn't remove my child from social situations with my sister because the two of us are not getting along. I disagree though, because sometimes my sister is incredibly inconsiderate and sometimes down right hateful, and often turns the blame to anyone except herself. If I confront her about it, she becomes defensive, unapologetic, and unwilling to take responsibility to anything hurtful or inconsiderate that she did or said. Even if she isn't confronted, she's on the defense and avoids interacting with whomever she had a spat with. Normally, I just try to stay on her good side, but there are some things I'm unwilling to be quiet about. When those times come, I don't socialize (mainly because she just ignores me anyway) with her and my mother thinks I should still let her spend time with my child. I could not disagree more though. I feel like, first of all, it's my decision who my child interacts with. Secondly, if I'm not getting along with someone, I don't think it's seems necessary to socialize with someone who is hostile. inconsiderate and unwilling to say, "I'm sorry for being so inconsiderate." I think it's a huge privilege to share a relationship with a child and if someone isn't able to be kind to their mother or father, I see little reason for why they should have the luxury of being in relationship with the child. Does anyone else share this view?
I hope that is somewhat clear. I feel so alone in my decisions and really just want to be encouraged. I have communicated feeling stressed and alone to my mom, but she just does not seem to get it at all! I don't know how to be more clear. Mostly, I feel like I just can't talk to her anymore, which makes me sad because I love my mom and want to be able to receive support and love from her. Lately, I just feel like she's absent and I miss her. I also feel like I'm at a brick wall with my sister too, just not knowing what else to do in relationship with her with things are tension-filled between us.
Has anyone else experienced frustrations like this? I feel so alone.