I generally like to keep things positive here at emhawkerblog. Tales of my children, the renovation, odes to chocolate, and the occasional song rewrite.
But I’m running on empty at the moment. Short on sleep, short of temper, and short on tales of positivity. I need to get a few things off my chest so I can put them behind me, and get back to the good stuff.
AAAARGH. Parenting. Everyone does it differently. There are as many styles of parenting as there are parents and children in the world.
And as many opinions. As many suggestions and offerings of unsolicited advice.
For the most part, I don’t mind. In fact, sometimes it’s useful.
And sometimes, it’s not meant as advice. Not everyone is judging you. Sometimes, we take innocent comments the wrong way.
But. Sometimes. Just. AAAARGH.
Here are the top five ridiculous things people have said to me about my children and parenting.
#5. You should read Baby Love.
You may be confused. This seems perfectly reasonable. Why would someone’s suggestion that I read a well-known and well-respected parenting book make this list?
Why indeed. When my daughter turned one, we went to see her (former) maternal and child health nurse. The appointment was horrible from go to whoa. I won’t go into details, except to say that I felt horribly guilty and second-guessed most aspects of our approach to parenting throughout the entire half-hour.
I was fighting back the tears when, at the end of the appointment, the nurse asked if I had any questions. I perked up. She actually wanted to help! She was going to provide actual advice relevant to my actual situation instead of judging me!
I had arrived with a list so I pulled it out and asked the first question, which was about dropping the final breastfeed. She answered with the above line. “You should read Baby Love.” She then asked if I had any more questions.
I folded my sheet of questions, picked up my daughter, and left. And promptly burst into tears.
(I would like to point out that we have had four maternal and child health nurses, and three of them were and/or are brilliant. This is not an attack on the profession, it’s just a frustrated vent at this one nurse who made me feel guilty and judged each of the three times we saw her.)
#4. You dress your redhead in green? How clichéd.
Um, yes. Yes I do. My son has green clothing in his wardrobe. And blue. And white, yellow, grey and black. And even – shock horror! – red and orange.
And I can tell you quite assuredly and with not a hint of bias (ahem) that he looks adorable in them all.
#3. There’s no need to change a nappy as soon as they do a poo. Kids are so spoilt these days.
This oh-so-helpful observation was made by a stranger at a train station. If the worst thing I do as a parent is to ‘spoil’ my child by changing his pooey nappy too quickly, then I think I’m doing okay.
#2. Perhaps formula would be better for him than your breast milk.
I could rant about this one for a whole blog post. But instead, I’ll just say that no matter how much chocolate I eat, this will NEVER be true.
#1. It’s a boy? Get that pink blanket off the pram before he turns gay!
Thank you, bigoted homophobe at the park. What a helpful and enlightened thing to say.
You’re just forgetting a few things:
- If I remove the blanket, the sun will shine directly into my son’s eyes.
- My son doesn’t know what colour his blanket is.
- He may or may not care what colour his blanket is when he does know what colour it is.
- He may in fact like the colour pink.
- People do not choose their sexual orientation; they do not become or ‘turn’ gay based on arbitrary things such as the colour of the baby blanket draped over their pram to shield their eyes from the sun.
- And finally, and perhaps most importantly, IT WON’T BOTHER ME – AT ALL – IF MY SON IS GAY.
Phew! Tension lifting. Heart rate decreasing. Breathing returning to normal.
Sorry. That was toxic. But necessary. Stay tuned for a return to regular scheduled (positive) emhawkerblog programming next week!
Your turn to vent! What’s the most ridiculous thing someone has said to you about your child(ren) or parenting?