Someone just passed judgement on me and made me angry - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For background, I don't know the person well. He was a friend of a guy I knew in high school. He found me on facebook. The past couple weeks he's randomly said hello and such. So, there is no friendship really developed there.

However, today, he asked me how my day was. I told him I was decluttering the past couple days. I told him we're selling our crib and it was never used because we co sleep. He asks co sleep? I explain, family bed, we all sleep together in the same bed. Now, he has no children, is not married, and is 36 years old, but he has a sister who has children and he lives in Beaverton, Oregon, what I see as a progressive area of the US. So I say I am surprised he has never heard of co sleeping or other non mainstream parenting styles especially since he has told me he wants children and I can't imagine wanting children and having never given thought to how you would raise them. He says, he thinks sleeping with your kids will mess them up and he doesn't approve. I was shocked and insulted and I said to him, so you think I'm messing up my kids because I sleep with them at night? And he says, I won't tell you how to raise your kids, I just thinks it's wrong. So I say, well, if that's how you feel, then we can't be friends. I'm so angry. Am I even being rational? I feel like he knows nothing about parenting and how dare he judge me and essentially call me a bad parent (I haven't even seen him since I was 18 years old). :

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#2 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 10:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
And he says, I won't tell you how to raise your kids, I just thinks it's wrong. So I say, well, if that's how you feel, then we can't be friends. I'm so angry. Am I even being rational?

I think you are overreacting a bit. Do all of your friends need to support cosleeping? Does it matter that he thinks you are wrong? When he has kids, he may very well end up with different ideas about proper parenting.

I don't share much about our sleeping arrangements unless I know someone pretty darn well.
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#3 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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I feel like he knows nothing about parenting and how dare he judge me and essentially call me a bad parent (I haven't even seen him since I was 18 years old). :
You have not seen him since you were 18, why do you care what he thinks? If you believe without a doubt that bed sharing does not cause harm, who cares what some guy from your past believes.


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#4 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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That would make me furious to, if only because one of my super pet-peeves is people who are very opinionated about things which they know little about. However, I'd say because he was never a real friend anyway that you forget about it. It's no big deal. You got in touch with a guy you used to know but then realized he was a jerk so whatever. You don't need to have a big argument with him, you don't need to convince him that he's wrong. Some people are just like this. I say, un-friend him or whatever and just totally let it go. You know that your arrangement is happy and works for your family so who cares what some random dude that doesn't even have children thinks!

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#5 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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TBH, I never gave a thought to many things related to child rearing until I suddenly had one on the way. I was 35. Lots of people give parenting lots of thought ahead of time, and others cram for it like a final exam in the few months before parenthood.

I think you are over reacting a bit too. It shouldn't matter what this virtual stranger thinks, esp since he isn't a parent. But on the other hand, this could be viewed as an opportunity to enlighten him a bit. He may choose to ignore whatever you say, but it shouldn't be an adversarial thing. If I were in the situation it would have to be an agree to disagree thing. I would also have said I take offense and feel insulted and asked if that was his intent. He probably would have felt like a bit of an idiot if you had said so. Honestly, I don't think that someone who is not a parent would have an influence on me like that. He's not a parent, so what does he know?

**I don't intend that to hurt any of the wonderful mama's and papa's to be that are here, but everyone knows that what you think you know before parenthood is subject to much change after parenthood.**

And FTR, sure there are lots of progressive people here in the PNW, but you can still find plenty of less progressive people around. Unfortunately not everyone out here is completely enlightened yet.
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#6 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I know my emotional reaction to what he said was stronger than it ought to have been.

What bothered me the most was how he seemed to be putting me down personally, because I cannot separate the fact that I'm a mom from the rest of myself. When he insulted the way I parent, I took that as a personal attack on my morals/values as a person.

His opinion of parenting really doesn't matter to me. I think I was just shocked by his statement, and offended.

I'm sure I'll get over it and of course his, or anyone else's opinion, would never deter me from raising my daughters in a way I feel is best for us.

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#7 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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I'd be po'd for sure! And knowing me I would totally put stuff out there for him to read, LIKE THE BENEFITS OF COSLEEPING/BEDSHARING! Perhaps his opinion needs some scientific research to shed some light! Ok, sorry that's just me, I would dwell on it for awhile, give him some crap about how wrong he is, and move on!

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#8 of 61 Old 01-06-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I think it can be hard to remember that to the mainstream world...we're weird

Not that it matters, but maybe that helps with perspective. And IMO, flying off the handle only helps cement that belief...not encourage a progression towards potentially altering their viewpoint.

And, FWIW, I'd be defensive too 'off the cuff'

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#9 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oy! I just had to put him on ignore. I logged back on messenger to see if a friend was on, and there was an offline message from him.

This is how it went down:
I said (1/6/2009 4:01:22 PM): I sold the crib my mom INSISTED on buying right after Abigail was born, even though she knows we co sleep.
he wrote (1/6/2009 4:02:44 PM): co sleep?
I wrote (1/6/2009 4:02:53 PM): we all sleep in the same bed I sleep with my arms wrapped around my babies ever since they were born
he wrote (1/6/2009 4:04:29 PM): hmmm....um ok :/
I wrote (1/6/2009 4:06:20 PM): Have you never heard of co sleeping? or attachment parenting?
he wrote (1/6/2009 4:09:16 PM): I don't agree with that sort of sleeping arrangment. I think it really messes up the kids
I wrote (1/6/2009 4:09:41 PM): wow, so you're telling me I'm messing up my kids?
he wrote (1/6/2009 4:10:02 PM): its not a discussion we should have. You can raise your kids however you wish. I would just never do that
I wrote (1/6/2009 4:11:04 PM): That is really offensive and I'm insulted because I cannot separate my parenting choices from who I am.

At this point I logged off to go chase a toddler.....

when I log back on I see this offline message from him....


he wrote (1/6/2009 4:11:29 PM): I'll go ahead and delete you. Clearly you have some issues that are pretty intense. I make one comment, and you run off. Might indicate why you have issues with your husbands and others. Adios

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#10 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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What's the point in being offended? I would have used the opportunity to educate him about all the benefits of co-sleeping.

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#11 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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Good bye, good riddance. I am on your side.

Quite frankly, I dont want to hear from anyone who doesnt have kids. Other parents I can deal with, not know it alls without any ties to anyone else, ya know?!!
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#12 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wasn't really given an opportunity to educate him. He asked what it was, when I explained briefly, he said we shouldn't discuss it, then I had to chase a toddler and when I get back he has said he deleted me and then made an even more baffling and offensive comment = because apparently logging off to tend to my children means I have intense issues.

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#13 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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It sounds to me like he was caught off guard. He doesn't have kids of his own, and he's never heard of co-sleeping before. He just went with the 'default' idea that "babies belong in their own cribs" without giving it much thought. His sister's kids probably sleep in their own beds, or if they don't, he's not aware of it.

From reading the discussion you posted, it sounds like both of you got defensive and over-reacted. I would have responded to such a discussion with a bunch of online links about cosleeping, or if I was too busy, a promise to send him some links ASAP.

It might be too late to save this particular "virtual friendship", but you can still learn from the interaction and change how you react if something similar happens in the future. But if he hasn't deleted you yet, you might want to email him and apologize for over reacting and include some links about co-sleeping- not to change his mind or make him co-sleep with any future kids he might have, but just so he can be more open and understand that this IS a valid way to raise babies even if it's beyond his comfort level.

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#14 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
Do all of your friends need to support cosleeping? Does it matter that he thinks you are wrong?
No, not all my friends have the same views of parenting as I do. And that's fine with me.

What bothered me was his all encompassing statement that he thinks what I do is wrong and that what I am doing is messing up my kids. That is rude and disrespectful.

and in the long run, no, it doesn't matter if he thinks I am wrong.

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#15 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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why do you care what he thinks?

ohh, your girls are beautiful.
I guess I really don't care what he thinks, but I don't like being told I'm messing up my kids.

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#16 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lizzylou View Post
What's the point in being offended?
From a logical standpoint, there is no point.
My reaction was emotional.

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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I
...but you can still learn from the interaction and change how you react if something similar happens in the future.
In my head, I would like to think I could react less emotionally. But all my life I've been a very emotional person. I don't think that's good or bad, it's just the way I am. I think a large part of why I took it personally is because prior to this, he'd seem non-judgmental in general and I didn't expect that kind of a comment from him.

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#17 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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I guess I really don't care what he thinks, but I don't like being told I'm messing up my kids.
he has never met your children, how would he know if they are or are not messed up? If this was a real life friend who saw you on a daily basis there would be a reason to feel slighted.

This young man is reacting to information that he has learned from mainstream media, mainstream parents and other sources. He made an uninformed statement and in my book he has little if no credibility on the subject so why waste precious energy.

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#18 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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he has never met your children, how would he know if they are or are not messed up? If this was a real life friend who saw you on a daily basis there would be a reason to feel slighted.

This young man is reacting to information that he has learned from mainstream media, mainstream parents and other sources. He made an uninformed statement and in my book he has little if no credibility on the subject so why waste precious energy.
I know, you're right, no reason to waste precious energy.

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#19 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:19 AM
 
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Ok- you sound like you are past this already but I would like to echo Ruthla and say that this could be a good learning opportunity for future interactions. As soon as he said "messes up the kids" I would have changed the topic or found an excuse to leave if I was becoming defensive. Something I have been learning- try not to take anything personally and believe the best of people's intentions. Not that I always accomplish this but people mostly don't mean to offend or cause problems with their words. Think of all the times you "put your foot in your mouth"- no harm intended but felt badly about how it came across. I think your friend was stating an opinion without thinking too much about it. Then when you reacted defensively felt like he had to become defensive also. Just my 2 cents.
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#20 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:26 AM
 
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I explain, family bed, we all sleep together in the same bed. Now, he has no children, is not married, and is 36 years old, but he has a sister who has children and he lives in Beaverton, Oregon, what I see as a progressive area of the US. So I say I am surprised he has never heard of co sleeping or other non mainstream parenting styles especially since he has told me he wants children and I can't imagine wanting children and having never given thought to how you would raise them. He says, he thinks sleeping with your kids will mess them up and he doesn't approve.
That sucks he made such a hurtful statement. It's hard when people without kids pass judgment on those who have BTDT. I had not heard of co-sleeping before I had children, but probably would not have made such a narrow statement.

FWIW, I don't consider Beaverton progressive. Portland is, but once you step outside of the city limits it's not nearly as crunchy.
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#21 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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Well clearly you didn't fly off the handle so...delete away deary!

LOL

No harm done, how frustrating! And he's not much of a friend if he's deleting YOU that fast...I mean how big of a deal is it for OL friends to not agree on things like parenting?

I've got facebook friends that I don't see eye to eye with...which is why we are JUST facebook friends LOLOL

Live and learn, his loss...right?

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#22 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you... he sent me a few messages on facebook, I apologized for overreacting. He said I don't know everything about parenting, that I have a lot to learn, I agreed, and explained I logged out quickly not just because I wanted to avoid saying something unhelpful, but because I needed to go, and he said, good luck and adios. sigh.
I know it doesn't really matter, but I guess I just expect people to be kind, fair, compassionate, willing to talk, but he was none of these. And I think that outside of the word 'wow', nothing I ever said was an over reaction, my question was more of an attempt to understand. His comments seemed to only want to cause hurt and to criticize and put me down.

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#23 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and 3 times he sent me a facebook message, he concluded with good luck, you'll need it.

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#24 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 06:42 AM
 
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This was through facebook chat, or on the wall etc? If it was in "public", I would start joining all sorts of holistic type groups that talk about having a family bed. That way it's all over your facebook, and there are nice links that anyone who cares to can look at.

If it was through their chat, well, honestly I'd do the same thing.

FB is so so so WEIRD. I was friended today by a guy who lived down the hall from me freshman year...the only thing we knew about each other is that we borrowed his car to go to the Spaghetti Factory one night, and one of my friends absolutely adored him. I never saw him after we left that dorm! But now if I friend him, he'll see the stuff I put out there for my GOOD friends. Too strange.

I got back in touch with an old old friend that had gotten kind of strange the last couple years we knew each other...I always sort of was in luv with him and I think he was with me, but the timing was always off. I had a very long "bad boy" phase and he was a very nice guy, and he gave up on me and started being jerky. Then he disappeared, my latest bad boy finally pushed me over the edge of that phase, I met a Nice Boy and married him. And this guy just can't deal with the fact that he had written me off JUST before that happened...so we had a 2 minute "chat" the other night, and, no lie, this is what he asked me first off..."so your life seems pretty good now...what did you do to dig yourself out of the hole you were in the last time I saw you in real life?"

I wasn't in a hole, I was dating a doofus and talking about it. I wasn't in a hole, I was broke and struggling in my own business. He considered all of that to be "negative" and he'd been in therapy for years and years and decided that my saying it wasn't bad was "denial" blah blah blah.

So I friend him, hoping the years have changed us, but he started off by judging me completely, and putting me on the defensive.



This guy you used to know...you barely know him but by friending him you've opened your life to him. You've talked about, in a way, *who you sleep with*, which isn't something another person might do. It's totally fine and traditional and NORMAL, but to him it's probably salacious and all that...

I think we should all have two facebooks...one for the casual types and one for the true friends.


I'm sorry for the novel, it was obviously "up" for me too!
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#25 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 07:46 AM
 
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I think we should all have two facebooks...one for the casual types and one for the true friends.
Hear Hear!

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#26 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Okay, some of you may not agree, but I think it DOES matter what this guy thinks. He represents part of mainstream American parenting culture (even if he's not a parent yet). The unfortunate truth is that MOST people completely wing it when it comes to parenting. They give no thought whatsoever to their choices and they make the rules up as they go along. Parenting is the most important job any of us will ever have, and most people don't give a second thought to their goals or professional development. Instead of exploring options, weighing pros and cons, and deciding what is the best choice for their family, they allow the media to scare them and they let their pediatricians and Babies R Us dictate their parenting choices. Americans like to rely on products to raise their kids, and this is especially true at night. The crib has been so deeply ingrained in our culture as the "normal" way for babies to sleep, that most people don't even FATHOM that it's completely unnatural.

That's why it MATTERS what this guy thinks. His knee-jerk reaction and baseless opinion is so typical of that fly-by-night parenting attitude. We on this forum make parenting choices that are different from mainstream American culture because we believe those choices are better for our kids' physical and emotional well-being. We THOUGHT about things and made an intentional choice to do it the way we do it. We are (ideally) open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, we evaluate our choices and modify them as our kids grow and as their needs change. For a lot of parents, that evaluation and modification stops at "He's outgrown the crib so we better buy him a new race car toddler bed when they go on sale next week". I'm sorry to sound so cynical, but I've worked with kids my entire adult life as a teacher and camp director, and I see it all the time. Kids have gadgets instead of guidance.

I'm going on a tangent, but my point is this: We should NOT be quiet shy about our choices. They are OUR choices, and we have no more right to force them on others than others have to force a crib on us. However, the only way to fight against the media/medical/commercial parenting culture is to be a shining example of a better way. If Jane is pregnant and meets lots of "normal", happy co-sleeping families, she may consider co-sleeping (or breastfeeding, or not circumcising, etc.). If Jane is pregnant and meets only rash, defensive co-sleeping parents she will likely run to the store to buy the fanciest crib they have because she sure as hell doesn't want to end up like THAT. Provide food for thought in a friendly way, instead of hiding or getting defensive.

Educate. Just like you would breastfeed anywhere and everywhere, shout it from the rooftops that your kids sleep in your bed and that it doesn't mess any of you up. Point out that co-sleeping is THE NORM for humans historically, and even today in most parts of the world. Point out that famous historical figures almost surely co-slept since cribs are a relatively new invention. Point out that a dog breeder wouldn't THINK of separating newborn puppies from their mother for more than a few minutes, and yet they place their newborn human (who is far more helpless than a puppy) in a cage by themselves for up to 12 hours out of 24.

If we ever hope to see our choices recognized as within the realm of normal, healthy parenting practices by the mainstream, then we need to lead the way with our example. I'm vegan and I've found that homemade chocolate chip cookies are my most powerful evangelical tool. :-) Our healthy, secure, smiling kids are our strongest advertisements for co-sleeping.

So, to the OP, no, it doesn't matter what this guy thinks of your parenting practices on an individual level. You shouldn't waste any energy worrying about it. But it DOES matter what he thinks in a global way, and you should spend your energy pleasantly educating him about it.

Sorry for the tangent. We had a lot of guests over the holidays and I got very used to diplomatically explaining our lack of a crib, so I'm all fired up about the issue now!!
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#27 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This was through facebook chat, or on the wall etc?
If it was through their chat, well, honestly I'd do the same thing.
The messages he sent me after deleting me from the friend list were through facebook private messages, so not for anyone else but me to see.


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Spaghetti Factory
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This guy you used to know...you barely know him but by friending him you've opened your life to him. You've talked about, in a way, *who you sleep with*, which isn't something another person might do. It's totally fine and traditional and NORMAL, but to him it's probably salacious and all that...
And this is another character trait of mine. Being too open. As a friend of mine says, I wear my heart on my sleeve and am too honest.

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#28 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So,no, it doesn't matter what this guy thinks of your parenting practices on an individual level. You shouldn't waste any energy worrying about it. But it DOES matter what he thinks in a global way, and you should spend your energy pleasantly educating him about it.

Sorry for the tangent. We had a lot of guests over the holidays and I got very used to diplomatically explaining our lack of a crib, so I'm all fired up about the issue now!!
You're right. Educating is the best way. But at this point in time, any further contact I make with him may be seen as stalking.

However, if you (or anyone else) have some really awesome links about co sleeping I can add those links to my facebook page. My personal knowledge about co sleeping came when I borrowed a book from my midwife's library when I was pregnant with Abigail. The book was called 'The Family Bed' and prior to that I always thought that putting babies in cribs seemed odd, but it was all I had seen. When I read that book, I kept nodding my head and was pleased to see someone else felt like I did.

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#29 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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Honestly, I do think you overreacted, but on the other hand his last sentence about having trouble with husbands or whatever was off the chart rude.

I didn't have a kid till I was in my mid 30s, and I SWORE I would never co-sleep. Swore up and down. My dd had other plans. People sometimes think one thing before they're faced with a situation where it becomes relevant, and then learn they're wrong.
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#30 of 61 Old 01-07-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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Haven't read the whole thing but...

Honestly DH and I discussed basic parenting issues and how we would like to raise our children, but until we actually were pregnant and then HAD a baby, all the nitty gritty details didn't come up.
And even then I didn't think bf'ing beyond a year, co-sleeping, GD, AP etc. was relevant. I wouldn't be too hard on him and I certainly wouldn't overreact and end a friendship over it.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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