Differences in Perspective

Yesterday was the Littlest Brewster’s 9 month check up (insane, I know).

And the DreadBrewer accompanied us, per usual. He hasn’t missed a check up yet, good man.

After the visit, we compared notes and observations and I was amazed at the differences in how we perceived the doctor’s advice and recommendations.

Two examples:

I ask: “How much formula and how often? She gets 3 meals a day (at 8, 12, and 5) and 4 bottles (at 5:30, 10, 3, and 6:30).”
Dr’s reply (per DB): “I would start putting her bottles with her meals and only offer her water and light snacks in between.”
Dr’s reply (per me): “Oh my god, you are feeding her way too much!!! Do you want your daughter to be fat all her life?!?! Seriously, cut down on the formula.”

I ask: “Sometimes she wakes up at 3 instead of 5:30 and the only thing that will get her back to sleep is a bottle. Do you recommend that we let her cry it out or is okay to feed her?”
Dr’s reply (per DB): “I would recommend you don’t feed her in the middle of the night. It’s creating a habit that can be hard to break.”
Dr’s reply (per me): “You can’t get her back to sleep without a bottle? What are you, shitty parents?!?!”

Needless to say, I almost cried on the way home because I felt like a terrible mother after we left.

I will point out – I love our doctor and seriously doubt that my perceptions were the accurate ones of the bunch.

But, the pressure on parents in general, and moms in particular, to be absolutely perfect is mind-boggling. And I know that we, as moms, are our own worst enemies and harshest critics. And I am pretty quick to find criticism (be it real or imagined) regarding issues on which I am doubting myself. Heck, I can find criticism on issues that I think I kick ass on – it’s a skill I have.

I need to try to take a page out of the DreadBrewers book and be more confident in my parenting skills. After all, the Littlest Brewster isn’t starving (obviously), she isn’t diseased or demented or neglected – so we must be doing something right.

2 thoughts on “Differences in Perspective

  1. While I’ll admit that I don’t yet know the pressures on a parent, I will note that internal pressures are often much more powerful than external ones. They are, ironically, also much less real– or, sadly, more real, but unnecessarily so.

    One thing that the instructor in our baby class told us– which was later re-iterated by our doula: There are very few ways to do it wrong: Neglect, mental or physical abuse, emotional distance, etc. These are pretty easy to avoid. At the same time as there are few ways to screw it up, there is a vast landscape filled with ways to do it right.

    The differences between “your right” and “my right” may (likely are) quite large– but they are both methodologies that are safely in The Landscape of Rightness. Despite the attitudes of some people “different” very seldom means “wrong.” The difficulty we fall into comes when we get caught up in the difference between “my” and “your,” instead of enjoying the similarity of “right” and “right.”

    Of course, those are external pressures. “Oh god, you’re obviously not a good parent if your kid’s face is dirty.” It’s much easier to avoid those those, because the people who say that are just being ignorant assholes. The real problem is that internal struggle between “my” and “your.” It seems to me that this is hardest to surmount when you don’t really believe in the “my” part. When you are too ready to accept the “your” part, when you focus on that difference, you are ready to turn “your right” into “you’re right.” When you do that, “my” right becomes “I’m wrong.” I live there often, it’s not such a happy place.

    Believe in your heart that there are many ways to parent, and that you are living safely and lovingly in The Landscape of Rightness. People in the grasslands of Botswana parent quite differently than people in the mountains of Thailand– but the differences are only details in the landscape. They all parent the same when they give their child love, care, and the ability to be whom they are.

    They parent the same as you.

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