"Why do you feed this way?"
"Why do you let your child do this? "
"Your child doesn't eat!"
"Don't bother. All children are this way."
"Whatever you may do, the child will always do this/that."
Now, just replace the "this" and "that" with all the advises and things you've been told right from the beginning of your journey as a mother.
We all have been there, all the mothers. Yet, so often, we forget how we can hurt another mother, unintentionally, with our words. No, we mean no harm, but the other mother out there is usually not happy.
1. "Your child looks so thin. He/she's lost so much weight?"
My instant replies to such people is - "I'm eating all my son's food and starving him. Yes. Really!"
My son is a human and not a goat to be measured by how fat or thin he is! What's important to me is that he should be active and meeting his milestones well.
2. "What's happening to your little one's complexion? He was fairer when we last met."
"Yes. We've been going for regular tanning sessions, mommy and sonny. And then we're yet to try those instant fairness creams. Which one have you been using?"
Again. Why can't we see beyond looks?
3. "You know my child reached this/that milestone well on time. You should check with a good doctor."
While l appreciate someone being concerned for my child, yet one needs to know that even a little mention like this is enough to give mothers anxiety attacks and sleepless nights, especially first time mommies.
Moreover, there's a good window period for every milestone and every child is different and unique. Why compare?
4. (On your little one falling and getting hurt) "Don't worry. It's nothing. They keep getting hurt all the time."
Yes, they do. All the time? Well, almost. Yet, a mother cannot just sit back and not worry. She'll be there to comfort and console her little one and needs to check if there are any unseen bruises.
I'd appreciate physical help at such times, like getting me an ice pack or an ointment. No?
5. "What? You aren't sending your toddler to a play school yet?! You'll have a tough time if you make it too late!"
I really feel it's the respective parents' personal decision as to when they want to send their little one to school. I spend all my time with my son and would rather that he enjoys his toddlerhood at his pace rather than be set into a routine, just to fall into the never ending rat race.
Again, I do not judge those parents who send their children to school earlier. Their child, their decision. But being judgemental on my decision is not acceptable either.
6. "You're spoiling your child with the kind of time and attention you give him. Let him be. Let him cry. It'll make him understand what's good and what's not."
Really? How can one even think that way for an infant or a toddler?
My son needs me more when he's not in the best of his spirits. Call it pampering, but I'll be there with him and for him always. No, he's not throwing a tantrum. It's his frustration that he needs to vent. And I'm the mother. I know better :)
7. (When a breastfeeding toddler isn't keeping well and hence has zero appetite)
"Oh my God! He's barely eaten anything. How will he get through the day this way? Your breastfeed is merely for comfort now. No nutritional value there!"
First, there's enough study out there proving that breastfeeding is good for toddlers, especially when they are unwell. Go, read. Second, how much do we like to eat when we are down with a viral, a flu or worse, a stomach infection? Why do the rules change for a baby?
Moreover, saying such things only makes the already stressed mother more worried. Give her a break. Get her a cup of tea as she sits all day tending to her little one. Yes, that will help more!
8. "Your child barely eats. Doesn't even finish a full chapati!"
Again, where do these standards come from? Most adult females around me start hyperventilating if they are even offered a 3rd chapati. And people expect children as little as 11 months to eat a bowl of rice or a full stuffed parantha! Wow!
I could go on and on as this list is endless. But the fact remains that such things only go on to annoy us, however well meant they could be.
While we appreciate others' experience and so-called expertise in bringing up children, we proudly follow the motto - My baby, my rules. Simply because we know our babies the best. We read, we research our bit and we're capable of making informed decisions for our little ones.
And we worry a lot and fret over them. We might also seem to be spoiling them silly. Yet, to comment on another one's parenting style or even showing our concern the wrong way, is not usually welcome.
Show us and we'll follow the good examples. :)