The truth is I second guess a lot of my parenting decisions. There’s something therapeutic about typing that out. I don’t have to pretend I’m confident in every choice I make. How could I be? We all know “babies don’t come with manuals,” but I haven’t even read a book. I’m a first time mother, and I don’t even have a younger sibling.
It should come as no shock then that I am sensitive to criticism. The tricky thing is that criticism comes in all shapes and sizes. Often it is subtle. At times, I wouldn’t be surprised if the critic didn’t even realize how flagrant his actions were.
So what do you do when someone criticizes your parenting? I’ll tell you what I do. Nothing apparently. I hate this about myself. Normally I’m not afraid to speak my mind – to a fault at times. But lately I’m a mute.
That, of course, doesn’t stop me from drafting up a rebuttal after the fact:
“Did you really just (fill in the blank)? That’s completely inappropriate.”
Scratch that. I could never muster the guts to actually say that.
“I understand that when you (fill in the blanked) you were doing it out of care and concern for Ruby, and I appreciate that.”
That won’t work. I didn’t appreciate it, and honesty is important.
“I understand that when you (fill in the blanked) you were doing it out of care and concern for Ruby. But, like we already discussed, (fill in the other blank) is not a concern of mine. And when you (fill in the blank) it makes me feel like you have so little faith in my judgement that you have to step in and take over. It’s inevitable that we won’t always agree. Because we’re two different people. Hell, Jason and I won’t agree on everything. What I hope is that we will agree on enough that you will trust me and respect the choices that I have made.”
I like this one. I should have said that.