Insecure about your parenting? We've all been there

@offbeathome runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
Bassey's son the day of the doctor's appointment. Photo via XOJane.

XOJane recently ran a piece called Does Anyone Else Feel Like They Broke Their Kid?, in which the author reflects back to an encounter at a doctor's appointment when her son was two.

To the casual observer, the Parenting SPY is just the guy making a deposit at the bank or the old lady weighing melons in the store or this very woman staring at me in the waiting room. Sitting next to me in her judgmental crocs trying to figure out if I'm a good parent. I haven't quite worked out who Parenting SPIES report to or why. Actually, no, scratch that, they report to my mother.

I decide to sit up straighter in my chair and readjust my ponytail. I look over to make sure that Boogie isn't trying to force a tiny embrace on anyone. He's counting the fish in the tank, "One, two, three, five, eight, double-you, auntie, Elaiwe… " I smile to myself.

"Well, isn't he a charming little man," the Parenting Spy says.

"Yes. He's a good boy," I reply. I think quickly about a way to slide in that I read to him every night (okay, every other night) but she's already moved on to her next line: "And he's dressed like a little teenager!" I'm certain she's not using the words she really means.

You can read the entire piece at the source.

  1. Ugh. The stranger's racist reaction to a little baby like that is just awful. That poor mother and kid.

  2. Ugh, I avoid going out of the house with the baby because just juggling her and all baby-related stuff stresses me out. I'm convinced everyone is watching and silently pitying the woman who was too young to have a baby and now can't get shit together enough not to step on a basket of tomatoes and accidentally steal a package of bacon in a short grocery run (true story). My kid always manages to have a giant scratch somewhere obvious despite constant nail trimming so I'm sure someone is going to call CPS one of these days.

    • Oh, GIRL. I have been there. I had my son at 24 but looked like I was 19 (seriously). On top of that, he was born 2 months early (and I felt like everyone suspected it was because of something I did, which isn't really a logical thought… but at the time it seemed like it made sense in my post-baby hormonal brain) and was born with a genetic platelet condition which means he bruises easily. So I basically lived in fear that every time he had some kind of bruise someone would assume we were hurting him. I also never bought him baby shoes because I didn't see the point, and didn't realize this would open me up to a zillion "Where are those baby's shoes?!" questions whenever we went out when it was below 70 degrees.

      Eventually, to be totally blunt, I stopped giving a fuck. My kid is happy and healthy and that radiates out of him. He also usually has some kind of bruise or scrape that's visible, and I roll with it.

      And if it makes you feel better, once he stole vanilla from the grocery store (organic, no less — it was like $8) because it was on the bottom row of the shelves and he grabbed it when I wasn't looking. I had no clue. It happens! 😉

      • My kids has urticaria pigmentosa which is really nothing but giant freckley looking things that will probably go away before he starts high school – but they're mostly on his face, neck, & back. People have asked me if he's been bruised or BURNED WITH CIGARETTES. It's the worst.

      • Me too! I was a little younger though (18 and 20), and even now at 24, I'm still getting snarky comments. Example: "You're too young to have a kid in Prep. What are you, only 18 or so?"

        My two didn't like to wear shoes when they were small, so I just doubled up on socks when it was cold. The other thing I really hated was: "Why didn't your mummy put your mittens on? You'll scratch your eyes out, yes you wiiiill!" Well, I wanted them to be able to touch and feel things to learn about the world around them. Apparently that's a bad thing. I'm a good parent, but some people only see my age and not my skills.

        Back on topic, that woman was awful! Good grief, how dare she be so rude! I'm so glad that the writer has a happy, healthy, sweet little boy after all of her hard work. She's an awesome mama.

      • I get the opposite, I put shoes on my babies because, well, they're cute and like $2 or $3 each at consignment stores, but everyone always gripes at me for it: "Babies don't need shoes!!" If I have them in anything other than a onesie, in fact, I'm asked why they're so dressed up. I'm just left scratching my head a lot…

  3. Well, I'm in my thirties and have a 15 month old another one on the way shortly and nothingness about my age to have people suspect me and I'm still certain everyone is judging my parenting. That he's now in a stroller instead of a carrier, even though I'm clearly 7 months pregnant, when hes got a cold and his nose is running and I don't notice right away. When hes running around barefoot and people ask why his feet are dirty (judging my parenting because my floors aren't clean enough). I tell myself I don't care. and I try not to. Maybe Im lucky I have enough aspergers that I don't always understand when people are undermining my parenting, I just wonder why they said that odd thing and sometimes when I relay that I am confused later someone explains what they probably meant. :)

  4. My kid is all of 5 days old and I've already had one crying jag out of fear I'm doing it wrong and breaking her. Thanks, postpartum hormones.

    But seriously, we get total information overload as parents. In the hospital I spoke to 3 different lactation consultants and innumerable nurses. Letting my baby suck her fingers is either a great way to teach her to calm herself down, a gateway drug to nipple confusion, or a sign that I'm not letting her feed enough. I think I'm going to chuck out the baby books and just trust my instincts.

  5. I don't like "baby" clothes. Nothing against those who do, but we dress our toddler in mini adult clothes, mostly 'skater' style. There is definitely not such a stigma against skater clothes the way there is against "teenager" clothes though. People make me so mad – I promise you're not the one doing it wrong!

  6. It's really sad how others don't know how to keep their thoughts to themselves, and/or utilize their frontal lobe to filter what they say before they say it. It's been staggering to me, since becoming a parent (and even becoming pregnant in the first place), how people seem to think that parenting or pregnancy in public = fair game to "fire away" with unsolicited commentary.

    Stay strong to your parenting instincts, Mamas!

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