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War

Hey, you know all that Mommy Wars crap where we are all supposed to be judging and hating each other? Except that really we are all supposed to say that judging other moms is crap and we would never do that and that we personally think that whatever you choose to do with your life and your kids is fabulous and perfect for you and a-ok?

Well, I am totally judging you.

Wait, hear me out on this one, because I think you are totally judging me too.

This mommy thing, this is the biggest thing I will ever do in my life. Yes, I absolutely will do other things that I hope will be good and valuable, but since I am unlikely to cure cancer or single-handedly bring about world peace, I can't really imagine anything I could do that would be more important than raising two entire people to be kind, empathetic, confident, what have you, adults (who can then tackle cancer and world peace).

And I'm trying really hard. I'm working at it, and I'm examining my choices and trying to make the right ones, and when I make the wrong one and, for example, spend the first year of Mia's life too scared to leave the house with her, I try to find a way to do better. I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I think I'm usually doing the right thing, I think I have at least a 70% chance that neither of my children will hate me with a fiery passion as adults.

Because I am so invested in this job, because I agonize about my parenting choices, when I see someone making different choices, I make judgments. They aren't always negative judgments. Last week, Mia refused to put her pants back on after a diaper change and I started getting very snappish with her. A friend who was here for a playdate cut in with a laugh and smile to ask Mia if she was such a big girl she could put her pants on all by herself. Which Mia was all too happy to prove that she could. And I thought wow, that was a much better way to go. She is much better at this truculent toddler thing than I am, and maybe I can learn to do it her way instead of just getting frustrated and bitchy.

I have one friend who is the only person who ever tells me that she disagrees with my parenting choices, and it is one of the things I like about her. She thinks I cater to much too Mia's bedtime and sleep whims. I know she thinks that because she has told me so, gently and kindly, without rancor or recrimination. She disagrees with me, she thinks I'm wrong, but she doesn't think I'm a bad mother or a bad person, just that in this area I make bad choices. And knowing that helps me. It helps me to hear that someone I like and respect has a different opinion, and not just in general but specifically about a choice I have made. Because maybe she is right. Maybe I am too easy on Mia, maybe her method would work better for me. Maybe not. But if I can be open enough to accept kind and concerned criticism, maybe it will make me a better mother.

Or maybe it would just piss me off. Or hurt my feelings. But I'm a grown-up, I can take it.

I think I know how we got here. I think we have all forgotten how to disagree. I am very rarely told that I am wrong, but I am fairly frequently told that some opinion I express has deeply damaged and offended someone who read it, or that I am an ignorant cow for making the choices I make. I think it makes us so scared to express our opinions that we get situations like the one I recently heard about where a friend of a friend has her four-month-old baby on a diet. She doesn't want her baby to get fat. And none of her friends will tell her that she is wrong, because they don't want to hurt her feelings. But hey, she's wrong. She's wrong and someone needs to tell her so.

I'm not recommending we all become the Hat Police and walk up to strangers in the street to criticize their parenting. But with our friends, I think we have an obligation to talk openly about our different choices. I think if we really want to support the moms we know and love, it means expressing our opinions. Nicely, of course. I usually go with "Huh, I have a totally different approach to that."

So feel free to judge me. I'm not scared of opinions.

Comments (50)

I am no expert on this matter in the least, because I have no children. But honestly, from what I see, you are doing the best job that you are humanly capable of, and what else can you really do? I've never read something and gone, "Shit, woman, what are you thinking?" Quite honestly, I've filed some of your tips and tricks away for future reference.

And as far as your children hating you someday for what you've done now - I don't remember much before I was 10 years old. I think you're pretty safe :)

Nice. And good for you.

I think you're right. There's a lot to be learned from other people's methods, if only we'd just put aside our contempt for a moment and listen to them or observe what they do.

I also like how you express your opinions...I'm going to try that one out.

God damn hat (and sock) police.

I judge all of the time. I've come to terms with the fact that I can't help it. I've just learned to keep my trap shot most of the time.

I have one friend that hasn't slept more than two hours straight since her son was born three years ago. I bite my tongue a lot as now his habits are being passed onto his baby sister.

I've offered a couple of suggestions when asked. One worked well ... until it was not longer being used and the others have gone in one ear and out the other. But really, it doesn't bother me 'cause I'm not the one losing sleep.

That's what it comes down to for me as a parent. I welcome well phrased suggestions. But really, I won't get worked up over someone else's parenting because it's not going to be me staying up all night or gathering together bail money down the road.

Yes, I agree that we no longer know how to disagree. I'm lucky that I have a very emotionally healthy group of women, and we can gently and lovingly say things to each other. The other side of disagreeing with someone is that they have to be open to hear you. It took me awhile to be volunerable enough to handle their different opinions, but now it's so valuable to me.

Well I always think there's room for improvement and none of us are perfect. I think the one thing I stick to is when I read about great methods, and people having success with something, I give it a try. You know what? Sometimes, all of those experts and experienced parents are right.

I know this could sound lame, but I have really benefited from the babycenter.com newsletters about the age of my kids. Even the second time around! Because they offer the actual words you can say to a toddler (like Mia's pants resolution) that work.

Now that I've done this a couple of times, my opinions are solid and strong about some things like eating and sleeping, but I still don't know how to tell my friends and family that they're "doing it wrong". But damn, some of them are just awful.

The best is when friends and relatives visit and say, "oh, Z, and S are such polite, well behaved little kids, how do you do it?" and I want to say "I don't let them push me around, like you do with yours" but instead I have to come up with some basic answer like "oh, it's trying sometimes. golly gee wilakurs!"

Beth, I think you do a great job and your kids will be very normal children and better-than-average adults. You're well-spoken, very loving, you live a healthy lifestyle, and you have devoted the time it takes. Plus, you've got a few years to iron out the kinks before they start forging those key moments in life that make us who we are. Good luck to you. Good luck to us all!

I think it's nice you can accept criticism from a friend you really trust and admire. I don't want to be that mom who judges. I am so not perfect. I wonder constantly how bad I am screwing up my three kids. This motherhood thing is so much harder than you ever thought, isn't it? And I don't know about you, but I was way better at it before I actually had the babies. Why are we so hard on each other? We all have the same goal in mind, raising these kids to be functional adults. And if along the way that means feeding them parmesan cheese (my daughter's food fetish is ranch dressing)or allowing them to play the Wii for three hours straight while I try to clean the house, then more power to us. Right?

Sometimes too, I think we are just too close. Like your story about trying to get Mia to put her shorts on. You've been there before, you can predict how it is going to end, maybe you start feeling defensive and ready to take charge before ever considering another alternative. I do that all the time. Then all of a sudden someone offers a fresh prespective and you realize it doesn't have to play out the same way over and over. And maybe you are always trying out fresh things in other areas but its dressing (or bedtime, or mealtime or in the car) where you (the collective you, us) keep having the same frustrations again and again. I think its nice when someone (NICELY) shows you a different way. It is a slippery slope though and a fine line. A fine line over a slippery slope. What I am saying is I could as easily be offended by suggestions as I am to be grateful for them and one suggestion would do a lot better than 10 suggestion. Because after 10 suggestions, you'd probably be out in my driveway seeing if you can outrun my minivan.

Good post! Lots to think about!

I totally agree. I'd rather someone tell me they disagree with me than to politely agree, only to find out later they totally lied about it. I've been fortunate to find a few friends like that, who will be completely honest with me, and with whom I can be completely honest. Because that's what friends are all about. If we can't agree to disagree, and always have to agree 100% of the time, then we'll lose our ever loving minds, and miss out on the depth that transparent friendship has to offer. Great post!!!

If I want someone's feedback on my parenting, I let them know I'm open to it. Otherwise, boy HOWDY do I ever disagree with you that we have an obligation to criticize each other's parenting choices, however well intentioned we might be. But maybe you're just saying we should feel more open about sharing our own personal experiences with each other? This, to me, is not a problem I've encountered -- most moms I know are happy to dish about what works for them. It's when someone tells me I'm WRONG for doing XYZ that everything ceases to be a conversation, and this is what the "Mommy Wars" are all about.

I know what you mean. It's good to hear others opinions, but in a non-I-hate-you-and-think-you-are-probably-going-to-hell
sort of way.

Over the weekend I went to a party, and found that one of our friends wasn't invited because apparently everyone thinks her children are badly behaved.(Haven't been around her children that much to form my own opinion...) These are very kind people who are not anti-child or anything...and it made me feel terrible for my friend. All I know is, that I would just die if someone felt that way about my children and I pray to God that someone would tell me so that I could work on it. Sometimes we need an outside opinion to shed some light on a situation...

Great post.

and there are some things I have been wanting to talk to you about....

Well said, Beth.

I have always felt that anyone claiming to not judge other parenting choices is full of crap. Of course, we make judgements, and those judgements help us come to our own parenting choices.

As long as this is done honestly, and gently (as you said) I think it is a very good thing.

I find that women don't deal with disagreement well. They think that at the root of disagreement is someone saying they are wrong rather than just someone who views things a little differently. I've seen it in the workplace as well as on the playground. Any form of disagreement can get their backs up. Not all women - there are some out there who are able to respectfully agree to disagree about things. I always enjoy those conversations.

I find that women don't deal with disagreement well. They think that at the root of disagreement is someone saying they are wrong rather than just someone who views things a little differently. I've seen it in the workplace as well as on the playground. Any form of disagreement can get their backs up. Not all women - there are some out there who are able to respectfully agree to disagree about things. I always enjoy those conversations.

Of course I say that but my BFF was here over the weekend with her child who is 2.5 and I have renamed (in my head) Demon Spawn. I completely disagree with my BFF's parenting choices and think she is raising a monster. But I didn't say a word. It is none of my business unless she asks. I would have the discussion with her but I don't want to damage our friendship. So I'm as guilty as the next person of judging privately.

I'm sure people are judging me and my 2 year old is running around in a pull up and no pants. Maybe I "should" make her get dressed, personally, somedays that's not a battle I'm willing to have.

I can be just as judgey as anyone else, but I think the trick is how talk to people about it - I can handle any kind of constructive criticism (offer it, though I may not take your advise), but if someone just out and out bashes me, I've stopped listening and they might as well save their breath.

I'm kind of stubborn.

I'm sure people are judging me and my 2 year old is running around in a pull up and no pants. Maybe I "should" make her get dressed, personally, somedays that's not a battle I'm willing to have.

I can be just as judgey as anyone else, but I think the trick is how talk to people about it - I can handle any kind of constructive criticism (offer it, though I may not take your advise), but if someone just out and out bashes me, I've stopped listening and they might as well save their breath.

I'm kind of stubborn.

I think the first time I heard of the "Mommy Wars" was via the now defunct Getupgrrl. She posted about it and then got emails that said, "But I saw someone giving their baby JUICE!" and "The kids in the park weren't wearing MITTENS and it was COLD!" and then she was all "Oh HELL no! It's about PRIORITIES, PEOPLE!"

I freely admit to judging other people's parenting in a "I would/wouldn't do that" type of way and I expect my friends do the same. I don't really need the criticism, though, unless you think what I'm doing is actually hurting my child or if I ask you what you think. If I put my 4 month old on a diet, I would hope that someone would set me straight. But if you don't think I should be nursing my 8 month old at night anymore. . . well, you can just shut it.

And that's the thing. There are a lot of different parenting options and sometimes the unimportant things are elevated to important status and those are the hurtful and unnecessary judgments. One of my friends was just criticized because her 4 year old didn't attend preschool this last year. That's bunk.

Sometimes pointing out where someone has gone wrong is a good thing, but I try to be aware of where my friend's sore points are. If they are already struggling with something and miserable and sensitive, my helpful suggestions may not be taken as such. And the drive-bys by strangers or relatives are NEVER a good thing.

I feel like I'm rambling, but I think my main point is that offering your judgment/suggestion/opinion without any background information is almost always unhelpful. Like, the 4 month old diet thing. What if her kid has PKU or some metabolic thing and has to be on a special diet? And someone else heard that and joked, "Oh she just doesn't want her kid to get fat!" and someone else thought that was a serious comment? Then I would look like a TOTAL ASS trying to "set her straight" and I do that enough, thank you very much.

I like hearing other parents' perspective. Not in a judgey way, but in a hey, this is what worked for me way. I have 5 really good mom friends and that is how we approach everything. Sure, they do things different then me, but sometimes there way works.

it also depends who it comes from. I hate parenting advice from my sister, but that is more about how relationship than anything else.

And isn't that why there are so many "mommy blogs?" So we can see how other people are doing it?

I judge others and anyone who says they don't is lying. How can you not? We have opinions about how things should be and when they're not, and we notice, there is a judgment there. I totally tell friends of mine what worked for me with my kids (and what didn't) because I really think it helps. I don't tell strangers at the mall or on teh internets, unless they've asked. I have a friend who just recommended to me that I put my baby on her stomach so she'll nap longer. I don't think anyone should do that, but I didn't say it because she didn't ask me what I thought. THEN she told me that I SHOULD TOTALLY do it so my baby would NAP LONGER. So I had to tell her that I was going to go with the AAP on this one and continue to put my kid to sleep on her back until she is one. THEN she told me no one ever dies of SIDS while they're napping. Sigh. I can't help but judge stuff like that, but I still don't judge her, or hold it against her- we all have the same information, and what we do with it is our business. But damn, I thought, stop trying to shove it down my throat!

I recently had another woman I really like tell me that the thing she values most about me is that I called her on her crap. I thought that had totally pissed her off, but turns out, not so much. But it's scary to do so as you don't know which people will respond as adults and which will understand your motives. Of course, it's my job to always keep my motives good and not evil.

But yes, I agree with you. It's SO important to have open communication btw those people we call friends. And hey, I've often found the other moms to be waaaaay more effective in parenting my children than I am. And I'm totally OK with that.

Love this post.

I think the judgments are totally natural and anyone who says they don't judge other moms is lying. What we do with those judgments is another story. I, like you, try the gentle offering of experience and description: "I notice he seems little tired. When Z is like that I tend to make her bedtime happen before midnight." or whatever.

There is so much fear, especially as a new parent, that I think we all cling to our decisions and opinions as if they might protect us and make every scary possibility go away.

If only.

I don't have kids and don't really plan on ever having kids, but if I did, you and Chris would be one of the couples I'd look to for in a learn-by-example type of way. That is, I think you guys are the shit - not perfect, of course - but pretty damn awesome and I'd like to be a mom like you are a mom (and also how my mom is a mom).

But yeah, this fear of hurting people's feelings stretches so, so far. I suffer from it too. I'm trying to be more honest with people (honest and tactful...it's fucking hard!) because it really is the best policy.

I don't have kids & don't know if/when I will, but damn I loved this post! I agree that it's ok to disagree & probably healthy (makes us that much more sure of our choices if we can discuss why we're making them). Thanks, Beth!

I try to phrase such things as "Hey, I see you are having trouble with getting little Johnny to eat. Have you tried this? Maybe that'll work for him. You know all kids are different, but it worked for us." I do think it's all about choosing your moment and your phrasing.

I feel this way about government, too. I criticize because I care!

I have a friend whose kid is an asshole, but I can't say anything because she gets too offended and "mama-bear-ish," even though what I'd say is not mean, it's just the truth about something that makes her life hard and could be fixed pretty easily. So, instead, I just don't see her much. It's sad.

Judge me if you will, but I'll still think you're pretty.

Ok, I also have a friend who put her 5 month old baby on a diet and also withheld solids for a (brief) period of time because she didn't want her baby to get fat. I flat out asked her where she got that plan because I didn't think a 5 month old should ever be put on a diet, and when she told me it was her pediatrician who recommended it because her baby was fat, I told her that I would look for another pediatrician. I am the person who will tell you you shouldn't have your baby on a diet. A FEEDING SCHEDULE? Sure. A DIET? To prevent becoming overweight at 5 months? NO!!

Turns out her pediatrician was recommending a feeding schedule to help ease him of of nighttime feeding. Not the same as a diet. Not even close.

We all have our bad moments in parenting. One of these days Mia's answer to the are you a big girl who can put on her pants by herself will be Yes, I just don't want to wear pants. And then what? We're all working on getting it right and we all have our limits and our moments where we're stumped. I think we also get better as we have more practice and see other parents doing different things that we may not have tried.

I truly appreciate other mothers who are willing to share their opinions and secrets. It's the ones that disregard my rules for my own children that get me the most. I have a friend that I caught feeding my child things that I specifically asked that he not have once and have really not ever gotten over that. It's all about respect. And I want to hear all the stories I can, especially from moms that I respect (i.e. you, Beth) to keep myself on my toes. And hope that when I share mine that it comes across the same way. I learned my lesson when my second son was born. My first was a serene sweetie pie who I can very vividly remember pushing around in a shopping cart thinking terrible judgemental things about mothers of screamers. Guess what? Baby number two, he's a screamer. Lesson learned. : )

The mommy wars or judging other parents is not something that is new to this generation of parents. As an older mom of both little ones and young adults, I have experienced the wars of the mommies judging one another since becoming a mom 27 years ago. As mom of 5 and now 2 more little ones I have learned that being judged as a parent happens and there is nothing you can do about it. We all do it in one way or another.

I have no problem with people having a different opinion then myself. The problem I have is with people that think their opinion is the only one that is right and that they are better parents then anyone else. I also have a problem with the petty crap that can go on between parents.

There's a lot of "right" ways to parent. What works for one child will not always work with the next...even in the same family. I think that sometimes we get so caught up in how we do things that we can forget that there are other ways to do things...it's being adult enough to handle other people's advice, suggestions, help or whatever you want to call it...taking it for what it's worth and letting it go. We need to learn from one another and accept that we may not have all the answers.

You are so right when you say this is the biggest thing you will do in your life. You are raising future adults that will make an impact on this world one way or another. They are the future. The fact that you not only love your children but concern yourself with the kind of parent you are and what the end results will be, makes you a good parent.

This was a great post and very thought provoking!

Yeah, I'm not a judger. Coming from a house where the usual method for child rearing involved blood, I tend to feel that if you kiss them and get them to eat occasional, you're doing a bang up job.

I was one of those mothers that was sneered at. I was too young, quite unconventional in my methods, and looky here...I have two brilliant, happy, well-adjusted pre-teens. Now I sneer back. In the Told You So way.

Now that I have a toddler again, not only wouldn't I notice if someone judged me, I certainly wouldn't care. I KNOW what I'm doing, and I KNOW I'm good at this. And that matters WAY more than what everyone else thinks.

If your sleep thing works for you, it works for you. Ideas from good friends are great, but JUDGING someone for a bedtime routine? Not for me.

Okay, so I'm thinking more about this because I tend toward overthinking as well as too judgmental and too willing to offer my (un)wanted opinion.

Yes, I want people to tell me if I'm f-ing up. Maybe not the lady in the supermarket, but my closest friends~the ones who know my struggles and what I am working on and what my goals with my kids are. And I am willing to tell them when I think they should do something different because, once again, I know what kind of people they want their kids to be. If I don't know you well, I tend to just shut my mouth unless you are showing some sort of ignorance about normal child development, like my coworker who was moaning about her 5 month old still waking once or twice a night. I also don't mind acquaintances who say, "Hey, this worked for me." That has a high rate of helpfulness in my life.

I am very willing to annoy people or look like an ass if there is any chance of abuse, like the girl whose 4 month old is on a "diet." But I still approach situations like that very carefully because there are always unknowns.

And I don't think we should be disdainful of people who are trying not to hurt anyone's feelings. Feelings are fragile and most of us who are conscientious parents are sensitive toward criticism. If someone is too hurt to listen to your helpful advice, all you've done is damaged a relationship. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything here. I hope you've enjoyed my dirty laundry.

I think you have grown. Because not so long ago, I sent you a private email expressing my differing opinion about something you said on the blog and you said you were used to being judged.
It hurt.
alot.

And I think your post today is spot on.
I have hesitated to say anything to friends in similar siutations for exactly the same reason.
And I hesitate to post on a blog about anything other than "you're so funny blah blah blah" for fear of judging someone.

Thanks for the post Beth.

This is such a fantastic post. I could not agree more, with one exception. This post is not only about parenting it is about every relationship that exists. I don't have kids yet but I am goign through this "thing" at work where if people would just say "I disagree and here is why..." in a nice professional respectful way instead of saying nothing but then acting passive agressively everything would be a lot better...really. Thanks for getting it!

I love to read your posts. And my opinion is that this is one of the best ones I've ever read.

Except for PMS right?
Cause then?
I would cut that bitch

Well said Beth! This is a very tender topic. I have always been of the opinion that if it can make my life and the lives of my (3) children better - heck, I will try anything!

I think there is a world of difference between advice based on experience and judgement.

Advice based on experiences says "this worked for me, and I think it might work for you if you tried it".

Judgement goes "man, you are doing a crap job. I am a far superior mother, because I do x,y,z." - unspoken is how, even if you do x,y,z, they will still be better mothers because that is how they form value.

I think we are allowed to have boundaries so the jackboots don't come through - but it is good to set the sensors so you can hear the advice and file it for your own use.

See, I can say this because I am a superior mother (please note I can speak clearly even though my tongue is in my cheek here)

Parenting is a hard job and so we should cut ourselves (and each other) a little slack. I read your blog almost daily yet I – gasp – raise my child, who is the same age as Mia in a very different way. I make very different choices to you, yet I do not presume to pass judgement that my way is better/worse than yours.

I strongly believe that you reap what you sow. As a school teacher, I have over 200 kids I am responsible for. That means I come in contact each year with roughly 200 different types of parents and parenting. Absolutely, there may be right ways to do it and wrong ways (and no I do not and cannot help the parents who come looking for parenting advice!) It is pretty clear to me by the time I get the students which parents made the less successful choices – especially when siblings from the same family display similar qualities.

I would never presume to judge the parents of my students for several reasons:
1) parenting is a bloody tough job
2) to paraphrase a previous poster – I ain’t the one having to bail out the kid or stay up late when he breaks curfew
3) I do not want to be judged either.

I am sure I there are parents who would disapprove of my choice to work and put my child in full time care/put him in front of the TV to make up lesson plans etc. etc.

Judgement is natural. But I think we should try to remain open minded as much as possible, and keep our mouths shut. Life and death is one thing [eg baby on a diet] but there is no need for the hat police.

i'm judge-y. but, i would NEVER tell anyone what i think he or she is doing wrong. unless she specifically wants my advice...because, even though i judge people who make different decisions...(for instance, i judge Suri Cruise's parents for letting her still have a bottle...but my almost 3-year-old still has a paci)...

who am i?

i'm just another mom trying to do the best she can.

When a friend had a baby last year, she was reading every parenting book on the planet. So it seemed to me. In talking to her one day, she shared that she was nervous about doing a bad job and about people telling her she was doing things wrong.

"You have to let that one go," I said. "Because you will never please anybody. When it comes to kids, everyone is an expert. Including me. All these books? Put them away. You know what to do."

She only nodded and I knew she was going to continue reading. That's her choice. I respect that. I think she's driving herself crazy unnecessarily and she knows that I think that. It didn't hurt our relationship. Most of my friends thought I was much too strict and I thought they were too lenient. We all used to laugh about it. And I used to, not always so secretly, revel in the fact that my kid didn't give me as much trouble as theirs. Heh.

wow! 4 month old on a diet! A big fat baby is a healthy baby, I dont want to see any skinny babies!!! Hopefully her pediatrician will clear that up for her.

You are doing great! Kids are so different, even if they have the same parents. You just have to do what is the best at the time and move on. But diets and babies is a crazy notion, some one tell her to feed the baby!

Humans as a race generally cannot agree to disagree. Collectively we are not mature enough.

My personal rule is to not offer advice unless it is asked for. Because I hate when people do that to me. (Like that fat cow lady on the bus yesterday who told me I was tying Daya's hair up too tight. I digress.)

Everyone has different situations and temperaments. Kids too. We all need to remember that we are all doing the best we can with our resources and knowledge and abilities.

People who get offended easily generally look for excuses to get offended by anything so don't worry about them. IMHO they need to get a life of their own or change their life so they don't feel so crappy about themselves and quit poking at other people.

You aren't wrong. We all make judgements. I'm pretty sure it's normal.

My best friend and I disagree on things and we talk about it. No hurt feelings. It's how we got through years of single parenting with our sanity somewhat in tact.

Keep doing what you are doing. Raising children is a learning experience. You won't always make the right choices. But you will always be learning.

And for the people that just criticize? They are insecure and have no other means of communicating than to put others down so they can feel better about themselves.

*HUGS*

My girls are 24 and 17 and the opinions about how you raise your children never ever stop coming at you. I admit that I judge the way other people raise their children. I think it is a natural thing to do. It helps you decide on what you will and will not do. The only time I have ever voiced my opinion about someone elses decisions, is when I could see that they were really harming their children. A baby needs fat for brain development. Any doctor that tells a parent to put an infant on a diet is a quack and any parent that worries about a baby, under the age of 2 or 3, being fat needs to be talked to.

Recently my 17 year old was looking at baby pictures of herself. She was remarking on how she would never let her child walk around without their pants or shirt on. How could I have "let" her do that! I laughed at her and said," good luck with that kiddo, because when a child figures out how to take off their clothes, it is almost impossible to get them back on."
I am not perfect. I yelled when I shouldn't have and did lots of things wrong, but my girls have turned out to be well adjusted, sweet and smart. I guess I did something right

I love this. I feel that if we all just agree with everything THAT is when we become resentful and angry. It is ok to do things differently, it is great to learn from others who do things differently, but we can't learn that if no one ever tells the truth. Relationships aren't real if you can't also be honest! But you can do it in a kind way (as you are) and not in a judgey kind of way.

I have tons of friends that think things I do are ridiculous and coddling (not the right word but can't think of the one I want) with my kids. But then I think some of the things they do are not what I would do either. I know this because we discuss it without anger, just as a what it is kind of discussion. It is great to learn from them though, as I am sure my friends have learned from things I do differently. You are exactly right with this post. As long as we are all doing our best with this, I think things will turn out ok for all of us.

I love this. I feel that if we all just agree with everything THAT is when we become resentful and angry. It is ok to do things differently, it is great to learn from others who do things differently, but we can't learn that if no one ever tells the truth. Relationships aren't real if you can't also be honest! But you can do it in a kind way (as you are) and not in a judgey kind of way.

I have tons of friends that think things I do are ridiculous and coddling (not the right word but can't think of the one I want) with my kids. But then I think some of the things they do are not what I would do either. I know this because we discuss it without anger, just as a what it is kind of discussion. It is great to learn from them though, as I am sure my friends have learned from things I do differently. You are exactly right with this post. As long as we are all doing our best with this, I think things will turn out ok for all of us.

I really enjoyed this post and agree! I think not knowing how to disagree shows up in all parts of our society including parenting, "religion", etc... A very thoughtful post that has made me consider being a little more open with my friends. Thanks! :)

I think the fact that the majority of the people here singled out the "4 month old on a diet" example (and everyone who did, did it as an example of what NOT to do) speaks for itself. The word diet has bad conotations nowadays but for all any of us knows it's being used in it's original meaning. Kind of like the word 'budget'. It doesn't actually mean 'less' just more of like a 'schedule'. Perhaps this woman wants to develop healthy eating habits in her child buy setting up a schedule of positive habits now rather then waiting until the kid is an overweight teenager to do something about it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I agree or disagree. I don't have enough information. And that's the point; with one sentence worth of information, every single person here made a snap judgement.

Do I do it too? Hell, yes. But for me, I tend to think the way Kelly does (way towards the top) - it's not me staying awake all night or chasing the pantless toddler or sitting in Parent/Teacher conferences or finding bail money so it's not enough that I "step in". HOWEVER, it will be my kid that has to sit next to your kid on the bus or in the classroom so if asked for advice, I will totally give it.


Interesting post. I agree that we can all learn from each other as I feel in general we all handle things differently.

Harley has special needs. Always had them and he will likely always need some help in some fashion. He's very dependent on us and sees no reason to work on being more independent. Because of his issues and him being an only child we've catered to him more than we should have and are paying the consequences as habits are hard to break.

He pulls stuff with us that he would never do with grandparents, teachers or anyone else.

Being aware of something is half the battle. The fact that your friend can disagree with you and you can take it is a very good thing.

I feel most of the time, we expect everyone to always be the same and agree about everything.

she has her fourmonth old on a DIET?!

sorry, i realise there are lots of thoughtful and insightful comments here but I can't get past the above fact.

How?! that's barely weaning age! What's she doing, skimming her breasts first?! and it's still the age when they just keep screaming if they're hungry?!

Sorry, my mind is so boggled I just can't move on from this one!

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