By the time you've given your mother the gift of becoming a grandmother, you may have already started to question just how you survived under her watch. At least, that's what happened to me after I started having kids. When I was in my third trimester the "advice" really started rolling in. "Maybe breastfeeding isn't the best idea," she suggested. "It's so yucky." Guys, that was just the beginning. So, yes, I think it's safe to say there will be more than a few times you shouldn't listen to your own mother when it comes to parenting, despite the fact that she managed to raise you.
This is not to undermine the fact that my mother is a very loving and engaged grandmother to my two sons. And, of course, there isn't any parenting advice she's doled out that would have truly harmed them. I think a lot of our parenting style differences are generational. For example, I grew up on a lot of white bread and Wendy's hamburgers and my kids are growing up on seaweed snacks and organic cheese.
The other difference is that she is a grandma, and from what I've heard from my peers, grandmas don't play by our (the parents) rules. They operate on another level, and that level is to "serve at the pleasure of the grandchildren." Their modus operandi is to make the grandchildren happy, to hell with discipline, schedules, healthy eating, what have you. My mother's parenting advice tends to be consistent with that idea.
All in all, my mother's advice (though faulty) comes from a place of love. I hold space for it, to be sure, I just don't always listen to it.
When She Tells You To Switch Your Kid To A Different School After Just One Incident
It didn't take long before my kindergartener got bullied at school. It felt awful, knowing my child had been hurt (both physically and emotionally) by some of the kids on the playground, but by no means was this a life-changing event at the time.
My mother, however, launched into Fierce Queen Grandmother mode. "March into that school, grab him, and never return again! Rain fire and brimstone on all who have done him wrong!" was her immediate response. "And do you propose we homeschool from here on out?" I asked. She hadn't thought that far ahead, of course.
When She Suggests You Buy Your Kid That Toy He Wants Because He Sounds Really Sad
As it goes down most nights in my house, one of my children was following me all over the apartment with an iPad, jabbing me in the leg until I would look at the "really, really, cool toy" he'd found in a YouTube video and wanted me to order. Like, right now. This second. Or else. Tough you-know-what if it is a toy that no longer exists for safety reasons or is only available from one seller on eBay who lives in North Korea.
I was holding firm, saying no to the toy and sticking to it. My mom called, and when she heard the persistent whimpering and crying in the background, she joined the boys' chorus. "Why won't you just get them the little toy? It's not a big deal," she said. "It's a little nothing! It's not spoiling them!" She insisted that they sounded really sad, and that the toy would make them happy again. Never mind the fact that that would undermine the 45 minutes I had already spent saying no to them, or anything.
When She Tells You Any Attempt At Discipline Is "Really Not Nice"
Your mother doesn't enjoy seeing her grandchildren suffer. Even if "suffering" means her grandchild doesn't get a second helping of chocolate chip ice cream for dessert after they've unceremoniously thrown the first serving onto the floor, because "there weren't enough chocolate chips in that scoop." You are firm in your decision to not reward the bad behavior with more ice cream.
Your mother, meanwhile, is pouting and stage-whispering to you (meaning your kid can totally hear it) about how what you're doing isn't "very nice" and how maybe you could "just give them a little bit to make them stop crying."
Whatever you do, hold your ground. Don't give in!
When You Relay Some Part Of The Day That Wasn't So Great & She Says It "Breaks Her Heart"
Sometimes I call my mom simply to vomit up the day's horrible events and all I want is to hear that my kids will be fine and that I did a good job being their mom anyway. Sometimes my mom will allow me my Bad Day Monologue and give me back exactly what I need. Other times, however, she might respond with coming close to tears herself and tell me that any portion of the day in which I relay that my kids were not happy "breaks her heart." You know, like, in a helpful way.
When She Says You Don't Need To Wash Fruits Or Vegetables Before Eating Them
When my mom is over and she is preparing snacks or meals for the kids, she'll often skip some vital steps in food prep. You know, like washing fruits or vegetables before serving them raw.
If I question her decision to skip a step, she will tell me that I am overly fanatic about cleanliness and that she eats food this way all the time and she's "fine." Conversely, if she sees me running food under the water for more than two seconds she rolls her eyes and tells me I'm being ridiculous. Yeah, I don't listen to her.
When She Stands Behind The Fact That You Never Slept, Ate, Or Gave Up Your Pacifier & You "Turned Out Fine"
If you complain to your mom about your kids not hitting milestones that make your life somewhat easier, she will likely tell you that whatever they are doing is fine because you also didn't do any of those things and look how great you turned out. And what you want to say (once you pull your pacifier out of your mouth) in response is, "Really? You mean with my OCD, food issues, and often crippling anxiety that keeps me up at night?"
When She Urges You To Encourage Your Kids To Start Drinking Fruit Juice
Your mom just called to tell you that she thinks you need to start buying juice for your kids. "They don't drink enough juice," she'll say. "Kids need juice. Would it hurt to buy some Tropicana?" she wants to know.
Yes. Yes, it would.