Sunday, January 9, 2011


I've always been close with my mom. We talk about everything, and I absolutely always felt like I would model my parenting style after hers. But now, as a parent myself, I realize that you can't be exactly like anyone else. You have to do what's best for you and your kid. It also occurs to me that my mom was a single mom, so she didn't really have to run things by my father and compromise on anything. She did everything exactly how she wanted to do it and didn't have to answer to anyone, including her own mother, who died when I was only a few months old.

I'm not saying I've had a huge shift in my ideas about parenting and I still agree with my mom on the big stuff, but I find myself increasingly annoyed by the little things she judges me for. This all came to a head a few days ago, on Facebook.

My sister had a few people over on New Year's Day. I wouldn't call it a party necessarily, just an impromptu get-together with beers. Ok, that probably sounds like a party. My point is that there was beer. I wasn't drinking, and neither was my husband, but some others did drink a little. Nadine was there too, and she snapped a picture on her phone of Caitlyn in my nephew's high chair. She thought it would be funny to put her beer in the cup holder and snap the shot.

I thought the picture was funny, and that Caitlyn looked exceptionally adorable, so I asked Nadine to post it on Facebook so I could save it when I got home. So that's what she did. This is apparently what my mother saw:
Besides the annoyed comments she left on Nadine's Facebook, she sent me multiple text messages about how I should ask her to immediately remove such a troublesome photo. Someone could see it! And think I'm a bad mother! And call the police! What if my husband and I ever break up? He could use it against me in court! Apparently it's irrelevant that he was there when the picture was taken. Obviously dads are supposed to get drunk and moms are supposed to tend to the kids!

It seems when you become a parent absolutely everyone feels justified in throwing in their 2 cents about how you should raise your kids. I guess I could understand the hoopla if Caitlyn had been DRINKING A BEER in this picture. And it's not as though there's a cocaine-lined mirror and razor blade resting on the high chair in front of her.

If it was just my mom I could just chalk it up to her being opinionated. But everyone loves to tell me everything I'm doing wrong. In fact, my sister and fought today over some stupid shit like this.

Maybe you remember a few months back when I mentioned how my sister and her husband kept commenting how my daughter "should be on a schedule". At the time I worked in retail and with a constantly changing schedule for both me and my husband, it was impossible. And it wasn't only that. I don't necessarily agree with their point of view on schedules. They are so rigid with their son. The way I do things, I just live my life and add my baby to my regular stuff. They do everything around the strict schedule they have my nephew on. "Want to go to lunch?". "Can't, it's nap time- talk to me in 2 hours!". My mom lives a couple of hours away and if they are making a trip they ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT leave before or after a certain time because it will be time for him to eat or sleep or whatever. So if they are running 20 minutes late, they have to push their plans back by 2 hours. Maybe our differences in the way we live our lives is why I feel so fulfilled by my daughter and they seem burdened and exhausted all the time. But whatever, just a theory.

I was going somewhere with this. So now that I'm working a regular schedule, I am trying to get Caitlyn to go to bed a little earlier (meaning before midnight). That means less nap time during the day so she's tired and wants to go to sleep at night. I told this to my sister and she told me she would "try it for a week, but if she's fussy, I'm going to let her sleep as long as she wants". She "tried it" for 2 days and today she decided that she "has to do what is easiest" for her so she will be letting Caitlyn take 2 hour naps as opposed to the 1 hour I talked to her about.

I won't get into all the details of why it's absolutely infuriating, but the thing that pisses me off the most is how hard she pushed on the schedule bullshit early on. Today she actually said to me "well, you didn't want to put her on a schedule when it was inconvenient for me, but now that you are inconvenienced, you want me to make it harder for me". When we argued about schedules the first time around, she was adamant that it wasn't for her benefit, that she simply thought it was "the best thing for Caitlyn". Bitch.

I can't say I've never judged someone's parenting. I've judged my sister. When I told her I would be breastfeeding, she told me it was GROSS and how she would never do that. When I struggled with infertility, she whined about how she wanted a baby way longer then I did because her husband refused to get her pregnant when she was 19, unwed and living with 4 roommates. So when she comments on my parenting, I definitely take a moment and think "wow, I'm a way better parent then you". What I DON'T do is say that shit out loud. She still hasn't learned that lesson, apparently.

I guess I just think people should back the fuck off. I'm a good mom! Caitlyn is happy and lovely and sweet. She loves people and animals and is the most good-natured kid I've ever encountered. Is it possible that I'm doing something right? Mom's of whiny kids (my siiiiiissssster!) take note.


AKD said...

First of all, you kill me - you are hilarious. :)

Your sister does realize she's getting PAID to take care of your daughter, right? Therefore, it's no longer about her convenience - it's about her paycheck. That's total crap!

Blake said...

You know Jac, after reading this, I totally feel you!

I HATE HATE HATE when people judge how me and Mandy raise CJ. They don't have that right. (The only people who really have that right are her parents because we live with them, even then at times it pisses me off.)

From what I read, and see, you are a good mom. A very good mom. You are doing what's good for your family and Caitlyn.

As for "your sister" (just don't want to drop names since you didn't), what the hell? Does she ever not bitch? Is she ever happy? You are paying her and she thinks she can call the shots?? I don't get that at all. She can raise her boy her way, you raise Caitlyn your way.

Nelly said...

You know, I'm like your sister: over scheduled and bitching about it every day, lol. And I also get the same comments from people that you do about my parenting. Much like you I do things as a parent the way I do them because they make my life easier, but somehow that's never a good enough reason for the choices we make.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how my sister and I will fight about parenting. Or worse, me and my mom. Or, really, me and my husband. =/

Suggestions are ok if requested but acting as if you parented perfectly is a joke. No one does a perfect job, but somehow society continues to function with what is produced. (Let's not go into the people who visit Maury Povich...)

Jaclyn said...

I kind of just ignore it now. My husband and I really do have different ideas about a lot of things but he usually just defers to me and shuts the fuck up. USUALLY. I got to a point with my mom and sister where I just give them the "mmm-hmm, I'll try that" line and ignore them mostly. I've got my own way of doing things. Unless I'm on Maury DNA testing the 8th guy "I'm 1000% sure is the father" then I don't need the advice.