Yesterday, we were at my sister’s visiting with my dad and stepmom who are here from out of state for the week. M had had a long day including going to my co-worker’s baby shower, and she was sort of getting into things at my sister’s house. She got into some art supplies but was just looking at them, not opening them. I was right there keeping an eye on her. Then I set her up with some water paints and she kept putting the brush in her mouth after dipping it in water, with me right there to remind her that it was “yucky” to put dirty water in her mouth.
The whole time, my stepmom kept saying, “No M, don’t do that M, no no M, no no no” etc etc. Then she said THIS to me, “Not to intrude, but you need to start telling M “no” more, so that she learns not to do things she shouldn’t.”
First of all, this from a woman who has no children or grandchildren, and has probably spent less than a few hours of her life total with a two-year-old. So thanks so much for the parenting advice. It took me several minutes of biting my tongue (hard) before I explained that saying no to every little thing she does only means she drowns me out, and doesn’t hear the important no that I use when she’s doing something unsafe, or hurtful to another person or animal.
I have been fuming ever since. I realize this is pretty typical unwanted advice from an older generation and childless person, but still. I put so much time, energy, and consciousness into the way I’m raising my child. What others may interpret as me not stepping in and disciplining just because I’m not responding, is almost always a deliberate non-action on my part.
I know that my newer, gentle-disciplining, coaching-not-controlling style of parenting is probably going to inspire a lot more judge-y and unwanted commentary from all sorts of people. Maybe I need to grow a thicker skin, but I have a feeling that I’ll always be sensitive to criticism of this job that I’m putting my all into every second of every day.