I have a major gripe going with my daycare provider right now. I’m trying to switch, but alas and alack, Andrew LOVES her. Enter mommy guilt.
First of all, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear about my parental failings:
“You forgot formula AGAIN!”- Um no biotch, you told me you needed more after you were out. What sense does that make? Tell me BEFORE you run out. Logic = problem solved = mind blown.
“You really shouldn’t bring Andrew if he’s congested. Even if he doesn’t have a fever, it’s still not good for the other kids.” – I’m a single mom. I don’t have the luxury of taking off every time Andrew has the sniffles. I pay you to…wait for it…DEAL WITH IT. Quarantine if you have to. Just don’t make the running of your business my issue.
“You’re late. I have an important nursing certification class I’m now late for. I don’t have time for this. I’m going to have to charge you next time.” – I was well within the 10 minute grace period of our contract. It’s not my problem you scheduled your classes so close to the grace period. Either a.) change your policy OR b.) live with it. Again, not my problem.
“I can’t believe Andrew is one already! My baby boy is growing so fast! I mean, our baby boy is growing so fast!” -Okay, I’m pretty sure I was the one pushing him out of my uterus, not you. This isn’t a parenting partnership because I PAY you to listen to ME. I pick him up and nurse him back to health when he’s sick. I kiss away the boo-boos. I decide what he wears and eats. I take him to the zoo. I’m squirreling money away for his college fund. Loving Andrew because he’s a great kid is one thing, but claiming him as “your” or “our” baby is a little weird and uncomfortable.
One thing I’ve learned as a mom is that you don’t fuck with people’s parenting skills. EVER. As a single mom, people feel COMPELLED to give you advice, even if it’s in good faith (married mothers, I know this is true for you too). I don’t need your two cents. In fact, if I need help, I will ask. I will say, “Hey, that’s a great grocery cart cover for your baby, where did you get it?” Please don’t tap me on the shoulder, point to your grocery cart cover and say, “I got this on sale at BuyBuyBaby,” in a passive-aggressive attempt to get me to feel guilty that Andrew is sitting nicely in the cart without one.
My mother is a great example of this. She operates under the I-raised-you-and-look-how-well-you-turned-out-so-listen-to-me! principle. I simply asked her to not use the term “no” around Andrew by correcting his behavior in an example like: “We do X, not Y.” She was incensed, saying that Andrew understands, “No,” and little else. Yeah…I get that. But saying “No” twenty times to a baby doesn’t correct behavior and I’d like her to get into the habit of taking the word out of her vocabulary altogether. It’s more of a conditioning experiment for the authoritarian, not the baby. My philosophy was lost on her.
Our culture needs a heavy dose of “butt-out.” Grandparents included. You may grandparent Andrew by sneaking him treats when I’m not around, but you should be staying out of my major parenting decisions. And yeah, the incessant crying in the grocery store is never fun. I hate it too. But who am I to go up to the tired and annoyed mother and berate her for not silencing her unaware infant at his/her impolite behavior? Unfortunately, American culture is easily irritated, highly impersonal, and completely impatient.
Hey, know-it-all/unsolicited advisers: It’s NOYB, so CYWO (i.e. “None of your business, so see your way out”).