Tuesday, April 24, 2012

judgement day

One of the things I've noticed about being a parent is that I can do nothing right.  At least in everyone else's opinion.  And everyone has advice for me, since I'm obviously doing it wrong.  I know that I'm guilty of it at times too.

I'm not talking about helpful, warranted advice that I've asked for.  I have asked friends and family for advice on how to encourage Evelyn to crawl, how to curb her temper tantrums, and more.

It's the unsolicited advice that is frustrating.

Here is the list of things that make me a bad parent.  If you're the parent of a wee one, hopefully you will find it a bit freeing and liberating.

  • Evelyn's car seat is facing forward.  She is over 20 pounds, so it's legal, although the new recommendation is to keep kids backwards until they're two years old.  But judgey moms would like Evelyn to face backwards until she's 5'10" and 35 years old.  What they don't know is that she turns into a screaming banshee when she's facing backward, but is completely content when facing forward.  And I am a much safer driver and make better decisions when there isn't a banshee in the back seat.
  • Evelyn won't crawl.  This is obviously my fault because I didn't put her on her tummy enough when she was younger.  However, the banshee always came back when it was tummy time.  
  • Since Evelyn won't crawl, I am supposed to find a way to force her, or else she will be a poor reader.  I don't know where this damn study came from that everyone references, but I'm pretty sure you can spend an hour with my daughter and realize that she will be just fine.  She loves books, and will sit for half an hour and read with me.  Not a bad attention span.  She also turns the pages for me.  She does it by herself as well, and she can even turn the pages with her feet.
  • We got her vaccinated.  I know, heaven forbid.  And yes, it did make her a little sick for a week or so after each shot.  But I'm pretty sure that those vaccines solve more problems than they create.  And what if God wants us to go to another country, one where those vaccines are life-saving?  
  • There's a bumper in Evelyn's crib.  Judgey moms tell me that my daughter will roll into it and suffocate.  They don't know that my daughter has no problem rolling away from it, and apparently practices gymnastics in bed each night.  They also don't know that when we removed the bumper for a month, Evelyn would wake up screaming every night because multiple limbs would be stuck outside the bars of the crib.
  • She also sleeps with a blanket.  *GASP*  The girl just wants to snuggle with something - anything - and won't sleep without one in her crib.
  • I only breastfed Evelyn for about 7 months.  I was on my way to drying up anyway, but since that darn baby never breastfed a day in her life, I was spending so much time hooked up to the pump.  My emotional health required me to GET AWAY FROM THAT THING.
  • People have told me that she would have eventually breastfed if I hadn't given her a bottle, so I set myself up for that failure.  Well, she didn't have a bottle for the first 36 hours of her life, and she wouldn't breastfeed.  She just cried, got weaker, and lost weight, but she never breastfed.  We tried every couple hours, but nope.  So those people are wrong.  She was starving, but still couldn't breastfeed.  Bottles are a slightly better option than starving, in my opinion.
  • My daughter is going to be emotionally stunted because she never slept with us (co-slept).  She never slept in our bed, and she never slept in a bassinet in our room.  She has slept in her crib since the day we brought her home from the hospital.  I didn't want to start a habit we would then have to break.  And we have a queen sized bed in a small bedroom, so there wasn't much room for her anyway.  Guess what else... We don't even have a monitor.  I know.  But Evelyn's room is only 4 steps from ours, so it wasn't a necessity.  Guess what else.  She's slept through the night since she was a month and a half.  Booyah.
  • Here's the biggest judgey thing: I had a c-section.  When I told a "friend" that my doctor had scheduled a c-section, she was horrified.  Apparently that leads to all kinds of health risks for me and the baby.  When I explained that Evelyn was breech, and that we had done everything possible to try and turn her, that didn't matter.  It didn't matter that there are zero doctors in Colorado Springs who will deliver your 1st child breech.  She told me that there's one in Denver.  Yes, because when I'm in labor, I really want to hop in the car and fight traffic up to Denver.  But she pressured me most to have a homebirth, because midwives will deliver breech babies.  My first time giving birth, and it was a high-risk pregnancy, and I'd been monitored in the hospital every week for the last two months, and I was just supposed to pop out a breech baby on the rug in my living room?  Right.  
So here's the conclusion I've come to:  You just do the best you can, and trust yourself.   Mama's instincts are usually right on, and you know your baby.

And she doesn't even have a sun hat on.  Mercy me.


  1. Pinky!! I've been wanting to get on your blog to comment on it, but since I do most of my blog reading through Google Reader it doesn't allow me to comment. I love reading your blog! I think your a wonderful Mommy and Evelyn is blessed to have you as a Mom. I have to remember at times when I don't feel like I'm doing enough for my kiddos that Christ simply asks us to Love them. When I go by the worldly standards of parenting, man am I looser. lol! Know that I am praying for you. As far as temper tantrums.. Niko went through it at a young age and still has them. ah!! Nathaniel is getting them also! ah!! I have to remember Niko is only two and really trying to understand his world. I fail alot and yell back.. I truly need the Holy Spirit daily with these boys. I am praying for you. I have to remember to take time for myself.. I am still learning it's ok to do that ;) All kiddos grow at different rates, but people like to put standards to EVERYTHING! It's we're control freaks! lol! God has designed all of us so uniquely! Give Evelyn kisses from me! She is so beautiful Pinky! I want a daughter! :)

  2. Oh, friend!! I love this so very much. :)

    I'd like to add why I am a horrible mother:

    *My daughter didn't walk until she was 16 months. It was because she didn't wear hard-soled shoes and we held her too much. (Or possibly, because my kiddo is so independent she didn't want to do anything when someone told her to.)

    *My daughter isn't potty training. Obviously because we don't spend enough time forcing her to sit, crying, on the potty. Or because she wore diapers in the first place. (Mind you, she has gone of her own accord two or three times and shows all the signs of being ready.)

    *I give my daughter soda, cookies, candy, and bait her with treats while we shop. If it means I can have three seconds of peace, so be it. If it means she eats something other than peanut butter and jelly (which has to be as bad as all the others!), so be it.

    Here's my beef; we are all just doing the best we can.

    I am not raising an Evelyn Mae, and you aren't raising a Gator. Why should I care what you do with your baby any more than you should care what I am doing with mine?

    Evelyn will grow up to be a completely intelligent, loved little girl/woman and it will be a true testament to the wonderful home you and your husband provided her, nothing more, nothing less. And no one will care when she is ten how long she breast-fed for, or if she faced forward before she was two. :)

    1. I hear ya! It's true, we're all just doing the best we can. Every mom is different, every child is different.

      I don't judge anyone for _____ (not getting immunizations, co-sleeping, giving birth on the living room rug, etc.). I find the differences in how people raise children to be fascinating, and I'll probably ask about them because it's always good to have more knowledge. But there's no way I think I'm better than anyone simply because we use cloth diapers (which I am sick to death of, by the way), and there's no judgement in learning.

  3. I hope this post was as liberating for you to write as it was for me to read! I cannot tell you how many comments have made me want to go hide in my house with my baby and never go out again.
    "Why is your baby barefoot?"
    "Don't you know that letting her fall asleep while she drinks her bottle will make her teeth rot out?"
    "You're letting her get vaccinated? Don't you know that that's what causes autism?"
    Geeze. Some people just need to tend to the children God gave them and let everyone else do the same.
    Evelyn will be crawling around (or walking) before you know it... enjoy not having to baby proof while it lasts! :) And I'm so positive that there is no coloration between crawling and reading... seriously, who comes up with these things?!
    And I don't know how anyone can look at your daughter, sleeping through the night from that early on, and say that you did anything wrong with her sleeping habits. That's just insane.

    1. It was SOOOOO liberating to write. But then I had to call my mom and leave a message assuring her that I appreciate her advice and input, and that I wasn't talking about her.

  4. I feed my kid formula sometimes because I had retained placenta which made it so my milk didn't come in for over a week, and I've never quite caught up with her. Also, she loves to be swaddled still, so probably her gross motor skills will be delayed or something...

    I love your thoughts, Kell.

    1. Yeah, one of the symptoms of PCOS is a low milk supply. So even when I was hooked up to that damn pump ALL DAY, Evelyn still had at least one bottle of formula. But I did the best I could.

    2. There's a reason God gave Evelyn to you, and He gave you a brain to raise her the very best you know how. Also, Madeline gets vaccinated and sleeps with crib bumper... I have to believe that the fact that she is being raised in a house by two people who love the Lord, love her, and are genuinely concerned about her health and well-being probably counts for far more than what she eats or how she sleeps.

  5. It stinks when people freak out because you do something differently than the way they did it. I broke most of the 'rules' with Avalon and took it to a whole new level with Julie. I got comments for swaddling too long, not letting my kids cry it out, nursing too long, and letting my kids have McDonalds too frequently - it's 30 seconds from our house :)
    And it IS really hard to drive with a screaming baby in the car. Completely understand.
    Every child is unique, so I don't understand why some people insist on one right way to parent each individual child. You're an awesome mom and it's obvious that you love Evelyn to pieces!

    1. Thanks Steph! And I aspire to be as good a mama as you are!

  6. Kellie,
    I know you don't know me..friend of Kevin's from Rochester, but after following your blog since before Evelyn was even born I felt compelled to comment! You my dear have been and continue to be a wonderful mommy!! The love you have heaped upon your daughter is the most important thing she needs and all the rest is just opinion!! I feel so bad for you young moms as I have seen and heard so many times lately about all the "help" you are getting from outsiders. Stay strong and rest in the assurance God will help you know the big stuff to worry about and the rest just falls to the sidelines. Oh and lastly....I never crawled! Went straight to walking and it hasn't affected my life in the least!!!!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Cathy!