I want to begin this post by stating just how much I love my Mother. She is a strong-willed, compassionate woman who has helped me become the person that I am today. She has also been instrumental in Peanut’s life so far, providing love, laughter, childcare and *of course* an excessive amount of gifts. So that being said, what explains the disconnect between my Mother raising me and me raising Peanut?
When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, we were overjoyed and couldn’t wait to share the news. Luckily, my Nana’s 89th birthday party was right around the three month mark. We printed up a “gift certificate” for my Nana, including special delivery for Baby Peanut, the due date and delivery location. I’ll never forget the look in my Mother’s eyes as my Nana opened the card and read the details of her gift. This would be my Mother’s first grandchild and she was over the moon. Little did I know I would soon want to send her there.
During the pregnancy, our most disagreed on topics included crib bumpers (to the point where I literally jumped up and cheered when I saw a news story about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that bumpers NOT be used, my husband can verify my display of happiness), the pros and cons of using more natural, organic products (I was pro, she was con) and as the due date approached, whether or not being induced was a good course of action (“The baby will come out when it is good and ready.”)
After the birth, our most disagreed on topics have included limiting/not allowing Peanut to watch TV until at least the age of 2, the “she’s eating too much/she’s not eating enough” debate, our decision to use cloth diapers, to prepare homemade baby food and the fact that you don’t catch a cold from being cold, which is directly correlated to Peanut always having to wear a pair of socks.
What do I attribute these differences to? I believe it is mostly a generational gap. In my Mom’s opinion, I grew up with a crib bumper, watching TV, using disposable diapers and eating jarred baby food. All kids did back then and we all turned out okay, right? The only problem is, it’s not “back then” anymore. Some studies now show the potential dangers of bumpers, how watching TV can potentially impact how a child develops social skills and the hazards of the chemicals in the products that our children touch (and chew on) on a daily basis. When presented with all of this updated information, how can my Mother and I still not see eye to eye?
It’s just like the saying “Mother Knows Best” (which was an alternate title for this post). Growing up, it was always true about my mother. Whatever problem I faced, my mother’s advice was always right, even when I didn’t want it to be. But now I’m the mother, and all of her advice doesn’t seem so right anymore. It kind of leaves me in a tough spot, like finding cracks in what I believed to be a very steady foundation.
If my Mom feels she did a good job raising me, why does she not seem confident about the way that I raise my daughter? I’m not sure if there is a definite answer to this question or if I want to know it. In the end, all we can do is make the decisions we feel are in the best interest of our child, based on the myriad of situations that pop up on literally a daily basis. It is an exhausting proposition, but one of the most amazing parts of being a parent.
My mind sometimes projects forward to 30 years from now, when Peanut has her own children. Will I take what I have learned from this experience and encourage her to take her own path towards motherhood? Or will I try to implement my own parenting decisions about bumpers, homemade baby food and television, although by then we’ll probably all have little televisions implanted in our heads so the point will be moot.
Hopefully this little glimpse will help other new mothers see that they are not alone. Or maybe I hope it does so it proves that I am not alone. Either way, thanks for reading!