Posts Tagged ‘comments’

My Pregnancy: Week 12

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Cat’s out of the bag! We are officially having a baby. We are at about 1 person hoping we have a boy, 3 who don’t care, and 47 others who insist, hope, and even pray that we have a girl. I nod, smile, and say I’d really be excited either way. It’s the truth. There is the possibility that when we find out in a couple of months I will feel some disappointment. Right now I can see great joy in having another little guy or a little gal. No matter what our family make-up, it’s the love that makes us complete.

Of course there was the woman who said we “need to have a girl so that [our] family is complete.” There are the two family members who refer to my fetus as a “she” as smoothly as if it were true. These, predictably, come with the comments about knowing how babies happen and now we’ll really go crazy.

Only one single person of the fiftyish who have made a comment actually asked what I wanted and just listened to my response. There were a few who asked and when I said I’d really enjoy a girl or a third boy, they would follow up with “well I really hope you have a girl.” It definitely felt like they just dismissed my feelings and almost felt like fake interest, asking me only so they could then espouse their thoughts on the matter. I feel a little like a point of interest mostly for the sake of other people’s opinions. I feel a little lost, unheard, and annoyed.

Not to mention the smidge of rage I feel at some of the borderline sexist comments of two boys and a girl being just perfect. Do we still live in the time of an heir, a spare, and the lone girl as a political pawn to be married off for advantage? But maybe that’s not what they mean at all. Maybe they just go with what we have and believe in the value of reproductive anatomical variety. I try to just assume the best but often wonder if that is feminist of me. These could be opportunities to confront silent sexism, you see. The sociologist (and woman!) in me regularly considers investigating further.

I have many wise sisters-in-law. I refer to them often. The eldest, with three boys and a girl, gave me some advice upon my request. In asking how to deal with all the comments she said she tried to remember people were just trying to connect to her. We often don’t think to connect by simply listening; we also aim to connect by sharing stories, thoughts, and opinions. I could make the pregnancy a time to talk only about me (or at least a little about me!) but I can also see it as an opportunity to connect with other people.

I’ll be honest that I’m still struggling a bit with the idea of connecting because it feels like I’m giving a whole lot in all these conversations and so few people are listening to me in return. But I’ve concluded it’s not kind for me to take the compounded annoyance I have built up from conversation after conversation and put that bitterness on the next person who shows interest. I have snippy remarks I’ve considered and even put out there a time or two. They leave me as dissatisfied in the end as saying nothing at all.

The only person who doesn’t care is our three-year-old. He has learned a lot about anatomy lately. First he learned that mommy has a baby in her belly, and he does not—a very important clarification. He then learned there is a stomach for food and a womb for baby in the belly. Now he knows we all have hearts “way up here,” and got to hear the “wooshymoosh” of baby’s when at the doctor this week. When asked if he wants a brother or sister, he thoughtfully replies, “I just want a baby!”

Me too, son. Me too.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers finding comfort in breakfast foods and the excitement of one little baby on the way. If only she could find time for even more sleep. 

Photo Credit: Peaceful Parenting

Stupid Things People Say To Moms Of Toddlers

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Stupid Things People Say To Moms Of ToddlersOnce you have children, everyone you come into contact with suddenly has an opinion on how you should raise your child. I’ve collected some of the most annoying, stupid, rude, or judgmental statements here for your amusement. (If you are the perpetrator of such statements, please use this as a handy guide for what not to say in the future.)

“Is she potty trained yet?” This question seems harmless at first, but it started a couple months before my daughter’s second birthday and has not stopped since. It drives me crazy since I am a huge proponent of waiting until my daughter is ready and I don’t need the inherent judgement of this question. It also can be embarrassing to my daughter if she is in earshot. I don’t question your bathroom goings on, stop questioning my kid’s!

“There’s no such thing as a high-needs baby/toddler: All babies are high needs.” I have been told this several times when my daughter was a baby and young toddler, usually after I got done telling a story about how hard it is to parent a high needs/spirited child. This statement is just awful because it completely invalidates the experience I just related. As a first-time mom, hearing this also instilled a lot of guilt because it implies that I have made my child be this way. Now that I have a second child who is the complete opposite of his sister, I know for a fact that some children are just wired differently.

“She’s still nursing?!” This question started when my daughter was a year old, but the tone of voice accompanying it has gotten more and more offensive as she has gotten older. Now that we are past the two-year mark this question is asked with a tone of horror and scorn. I am proud of our breastfeeding journey and have no need to justify it, especially in earshot of my daughter. My daughter has become self-conscious about asking to nurse around certain people because of their rude statements about it. No child should have to feel ashamed of their comfort/nutrition source.

“Enjoy these moments–they grow up so fast!” Just stop saying this to a frazzled looking mom with young kids. If I’m wearing fresh clothes and make up and am out without my children, then ok. Otherwise, no. I do not need to enjoy all the moments. Mamahood is hard, and I don’t need guilt about the times when I am overwhelmed. Related to this is the “looks like you’ve got your hands full” comment which makes young mamas want to scream and cry simultaneously. Of course our hands are full. Shut up or help, those are your options.

“When are you planning the next one? How many do you want?” Last time I checked, my family planning decisions were up to my husband and I. This question is really obnoxious because it often implies pressure to have a family of a certain size. Sometimes when you are in the trenches with little ones you just can’t handle thinking about if or when there might be another one.

Really the inherent problem with all of these is that people assume that they have a right to know information, or that they know better than you how to handle it all. The solution to all of these would be people choosing to listen instead of inform, help instead of comment, and change the subject instead of asking a rude question.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!