A note to the older generations...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I was nervous to publish on this topic for a long time because I was too worried I was going to offend someone I cared about.  But now that I'm out of that sleep deprived stage and my life is relatively stable {emphasis on relatively}, I am less sensitive to the constant feedback and trust myself to write an even response.  So if you read this and think that I am targeting YOU individually, you're wrong.  This has come at us new parents from all angles: mothers, mothers-in-law, grandparents, colleagues, and total strangers.  There is no shortage of people telling us what they think!

 
{And to be perfectly honest, if you are offended by something in here, you probably offended me somewhere along the way so let's just call it even, okay?}
 
Norman Rockwell
To the older generations....  We are so lucky to have been raised by you and loved by you.  You are wise, you are loving, you raised us well {clearly}.  You did a GREAT job.   So THANK YOU for loving us and for now loving our kids.

Now, down to brass tax...

The world is different today.  For good and bad, it is different.  And having a baby in this world is different.  Technology has overloaded us with so much information, research has yielded so many books, current events have created so many new guidelines.  This is not the world you had your baby in.

 
So please, please, PLEASE, I implore you, please stop criticizing our decisions. Stop questioning us, stop teasing us.  Just love us and spoil our kids.  Let us cry to you when we're exhausted, listen when we had a bad day, fold our laundry, cook us a meal, take the kids to the park, hold my crying baby, sneak the kids some candy.
 
But please stop telling me what you think of swaddling.
 
As new parents, we are overwhelmed with choices.  And advice to come with it.  There are 19 brands of strollers and an entire WALL of bottles at Babies R Us and every one of our friends uses "THE best one."  We have read books, listened to the pediatrician, Oprah, our best friend...and we new parents all fall somewhere between doing it all by the book and just totally winging it.
 
Please try to remember what it was like to be a new parent.  Remember the exhaustion.  The fear.  The hormones.  The visitors. The questions.  The decisions.  The TOTAL CHANGE IN LIFE.  So unless you're the one on 3am night watch, don't question our baby sleep practices.  Don't judge the food we give them and when we give it to them.  Please try to see your well-intentioned {and not so well-intentioned} comments through our tired, new parent eyes.  Don't criticize us, don't question us.  Even when we do something differently than you would.  Don't contribute to our self-doubt or make us feel like we owe you an explanation.  This isn't your decision to make.

Your job as Grandma and Grandpa is to love and spoil our kids...and by spoil, I don't mean undermine the way we do things.

 
Do I think some of the new rules are outrageous? Absolutely.  Every day there's a new no-no, a new food you can't eat, a food dye that's going to give us cancer, another year added to the car seat rules.  It's hard to keep up with!  We know-- back in your day you just threw us in the back seat, we chewed on lead paint rattles, you drank wine your whole pregnancy... "And you survived!"
 
But it was someone's reality that they found a lifeless child in their crib.  Someone's child severed their spinal cord in a car accident because the car seat failed.  Someone's child started to lose their speech at age two.  So I'm just going to use my best judgement and try to follow the rules and do what I think is best for my child, according to my principles, my instincts, and my pediatrician's advice.
 
I reiterate, generations that raised us, you did a fantastic job!  I don't mean for a single, solitary second to undermine your wisdom, your life experience, or your love for us.  You raised us the best you could, with the information you had, in the world you were living.  And now it is our turn.  So unless you see us sprinkling arsenic in their bottles, please just give us a hug and tell us, "You're doing a great job, Mom."

" Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

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