Encountering Negativity Towards Peaceful Parenting

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Dear Cashier at the Grocery Store Today –

Thank you for the enlightened prompt for today’s post.

Most of the time, when I go out with Roree and I’m wearing her in one of my carriers, I get sweet smiles, nods of encouragement or compliments.

Today was the same. When I was at the grocery store, I got the smiles and nods, but when I went through the line, I got my first taste of true negativity.

“How old is the baby?” the cashier asked. I smiled, like I always do at this question, because Roree is a big baby and people are often shocked by her age, typically thinking she is around 9 months.
“She is 5 months old.”
The cashier cringed, “Ugh. I hated that age.”
I was a little shocked, so I didn’t know what to say, but I’m sure my face screamed, “WHY?!”
She continued, “I never got any sleep. How often does she wake up at night? My son still wakes up at night and he is one. My husband doesn’t help at all.”
I tried to look sympathetic, “Yeah, I breastfeed so there isn’t much my husband can do. Luckily, though, she falls right back to sleep when she’s finished.”
The cashier had a comical mix of horror and disgust at the ‘casual mention of breastfeeding.’
I thought this would be the end of our lovely conversation, because there was a long silence.

As I was loading everything she packed into my cart she said, “I hate those things,” nodding to my Ergo.
I wasn’t shocked by this, frankly, I was waiting for it. “I love it. It’s so convenient and I like having her close to me.”
“She’ll want to be held all the time, though. You better break her of that now. My husband and sister held my son too much and now he’s one and wants to be held all the time. It’s ridiculous.”
“I hope she lets me wear her when she’s a toddler! I’m going to miss it when she’s too big. They’re only this little for such a short time,” I admitted.
I could tell the cashier thought I was insane and naive, and I’m sure she was working up to saying something equally ignorant to her past commentary, but an older woman in line behind me chimed in, “She looks so content – close to you like that.”
I smiled at her and kissed the top of Roree’s head, “Yeah, I think she likes hearing my heartbeat.”
We then launched into a conversation about the benefits of holding babies, how you can’t spoil them, etc. I even mentioned the convenience of back carries when doing stuff around the house.

The cashier silently backed out of the discussion at this point. She did say, “She IS cute, though,” as I was leaving. As if that was the only redeeming quality, since clearly my parenting skills were questionable.

I was more sad than angry, surprisingly. I always thought that if something like this ever happened to me, I would go batpoop crazy on someone. But, the fact that she was so miserable with being a mother that she loathed her son when he was 5 months old was deeply upsetting. Not because she must be miserable – people like that thrive on misery – but because I’m sure her son is unhappy as well. I just pictured this poor little 5 month old baby, who wants nothing more than to be held by his mom who blatantly ignores him. Or, if she does hold him, resents every second of it.

I can’t imagine growing up in a household with such constant, heavy negativity.

I do not want that for Roree. So, I’ll continue with my ‘ridiculous’ parenting style of holding her whenever she wants me to, wearing her as much as possible so I can tuck my chin and breathe in the sweet scent from the top of her head, meditating while breastfeeding her all hours of the day and night and all those other crazy crunchy mama things.

Side Note – She also did a terrible job at bagging my groceries.

 

Your-Turn-Sketch

Have you ever encountered something like this? How did you react?

 


Posted in The MomNerd Files {}

2 Responses

  1. Lyn de Padua says:

    It is sad. I got that now and then back when you and your sibs were little. It took about 2 months with my first baby to realize I was going to do what I felt compelled to do with my baby … Follow my instincts. I was told never to take him to bed with me … Blah blah blah (Pre family bed days). How can holding your baby be negative? What a shame for that lady. More of a shame for that little boy. When I see a baby or toddler being yelled at in, oh, say, Walmart …. It is all I can not not to say something. Now, being an old f..t, I DO say something!

    At church awhile ago I saw a young mom, grandmom and toddler. The little girl was relatively quiet, but did grow restless and when her grandmom gave her coins to play with (brilliant move) … She naturally dropped them all over. The grandmom whispered angrily to the young mom to ” make the baby stop” …. After church, as we were leaving I looked straight in The eye of the old biddy, then turned to the mom and commented on how good her little girl was, how beautiful. I said something about not expecting a toddler to sit like a statue for a whole hour and no one, knowing kids, WOULD expect such a thing. The mom looked so relieved. I added … You are a great mommie, I can tell … And don’t let ANYONE tell you differently.

    If you follow your maternal instincts and devote your time to your baby now, she will be smart, secure, wonderful later on. Can’t ask more of a baby or child than they are capable of doing. Why make yourself and the baby miserable?

    Ps. Wish I was at the store with you.

    My thing now is … To encourage every young mother I see …. It is a blessed calling.

    • bri says:

      Honestly, coming from experience, a compliment to how you parent and how beautiful your baby is truly is one of the greatest things to hear from a stranger.

      I’m very surprised at how I reacted to this situation, though. I remained calm and upbeat. I wasn’t rude to her, I just responded with my opinions on the subject that were obviously very different from hers.

      I thought that maybe I would feel embarrassed or ashamed or uncertain, but I am so strongly pro-breastfeeding and babywearing that I’m no longer afraid of someone saying something negative to me about it or telling me I’m doing something wrong because I have facts on my side and very strong core beliefs in place. I really feel I can’t be shaken. And I wasn’t in this situation.

      I attribute THAT to YOUR awesome parenting skills, mom :)

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