When my two-and-a-half-year-old fell and started crying at the splash pad, the kind of cry where she doesn’t breathe for what feels like a whole minute then screams at the top of her lungs, I went running her way as she ran towards me.
“Mommy!” She wailed, hands up stretched out to embrace me into a dramatic hug.
“What happened my love?” I asked, scooping her into my arms, not seeing what happened but assuming the worst by the sound of her cry and my general paranoia. I embraced her into that mama-healing-hug she so wanted as her tears, and wet body made my shirt sopping wet.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw you shake your head from side-to-side. It so bothered you that I went running to her. In your eyes, I baby her. And maybe I do. But I didn’t ask for your opinion.
I was feeding my little girl because she tends to Jughead Jones everything. Like trying to stuff whole loaves of bread down her throat without chewing at all. I break off her food into little pieces, and she eats piece by piece. This so bothered you.
“She is too old for you to feed her.”
“She could really do that herself.” I’d hear daily.
You shook your head at me and rolled your eyes. When one little girl asked you to cut her pasta into smaller pieces, you said, “You can do it yourself you are a big girl.” You let her struggle, and she did. I didn’t judge you or say anything. Then you said to the other counselor “She’s only asking because she sees other kids being fed.” Right in front of me. Like I was invisible. I didn’t say anything back. You weren’t worth my energy. In your eyes, I baby her. And maybe I do. But I didn’t ask for your opinion.
Gosh, on some days you made me feel so bad. Your beliefs got into my head, and I belittled myself for them. I’d feel defeated. Keyword they are "your beliefs" not mine, and I respect them. Respect mine too. In your eyes, I baby her. And maybe I do. But I didn’t ask for your opinion.
Never ever let anyone make you feel like you are less than about anything. This person wasn’t just like this to me, she was like this to everyone. She was the type of person who knew what was best for all toddler-kind. You know them, those all-knowing people that like to push their opinions on people. They think their way is the best and only way because they are perfect.
I decided not to waste my energy on confrontation. My attitude is that I will only do that if I feel like a positive change will be made going forward. If it benefited both of us, I'd say something, but I just didn't see how me going off on her, telling her to "hush up" would better either of us. So, I accepted it for what it was. I took it and learned.
I learned how mature I could be.
I learned how to be more confident in myself and in my decisions.
I learned not everyone is going to agree with how you do things and that’s okay.
How I parent is what works best for me and how you parent is what works best for you. Let’s respect each other—no two parents are alike—as no two children are.
But, the bottom-line: This is how I mother and I didn’t ask for your opinion.
This Post originally appeared on the author's Facebook.