I think we all just need to chill out a little. I’m glad people care about children’s well-being, but we need to take it down a notch. There are some decisions parents make that do not adversely affect anyone, including the child, yet everyone feels the need to share their own stupid opinions on it.
Parents are judged enough, so I think we can dial down the crazy on these six things:
1. Bottle-feeding a baby
Yes, OK, we get it, “breast is best.” But some women can’t breastfeed. They tried and tried and simply can’t. And other women just don’t want to do it because breastfeeding is hard, exhausting, inconvenient and almost painful at times. When you think about it, formula is actually a life-saving medical advancement because it provides babies the nutrition they need when they can’t get it otherwise. Oh, and just FYI, there are pregnant women doing crack and thus injecting their babies with a stream of narcotics. But yeah, let’s whine about the nutrition-packed formula in that BPA-free bottle.
2. Breastfeeding a baby in public
Get over it. I have seen more indecency in beer commercials and at the family swimming pool than I have seen with a mother on a bench in a mall discreetly feeding her child.
3. Extended breastfeeding
I understand that the sight of a woman nursing a 2-year-old can make people uncomfortable. In this country, it isn’t the norm like it is in, oh, just about everywhere else in the world. But just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn’t make it wrong. “If the baby can ask for it, they are too old to nurse.” So I should punish my child by denying her the one thing that she has always instinctively wanted just because she started doing the one thing every parent anxiously awaits and encourages? Palm to forehead.
4. Where my kid sleeps
When I was pregnant with my first child, someone at my old job asked me if the baby would be in a crib or bassinet. I replied that he would be in our bed with us. Holy moly, you would have thought I suggested we were putting the baby on a mattress made of knives and anthrax. Good to know other people lose sleep at night because my child is safe and comfortable next to his mother.
5. What my kid’s name is
Lesson learned: Never tell people what you plan to name a baby unless you are ready to hear the feedback. “Well, he’ll be bullied with a name like that!” Um, isn’t threatening a parent with future bullying actually bullying itself? Yes, people name children ridiculous things, but who cares? If a kid isn’t teased for his name, he will be teased for his looks or lack of dexterity or height or his overbearing parents who worry too much about what other people think.
6. What my name is
“If you don’t have your husband’s last name, then you aren’t really a family.”
“Don’t you worry that when your kids go to school that they won’t understand why their friends have their mommy’s last name and they don’t?”
“Think about your children. How will they understand?”
I’ll admit it. My son recently asked me what my last name is. When I told him, he immediately packed a suitcase with dinosaurs and fruit snacks and marched defiantly out the front door. He said that he needed to go find a woman who had the same last name as him. There was nothing I could do to stop this determined 3-year-old because clearly I am not his real mother. In fact, my son is still somewhere out there, searching for a woman with his same last name, telling passers by that he could not believe I would dupe him as I did. I would go look for him, but I have to take down all our “family” pictures. After all, we aren’t a real family because I kept my last name, so I guess it’s time to end the charade.