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Watch Your Words

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RM

You know what really grinds my gears? The seven words I'm willing to bet every mother has heard at some point or another: You are going to spoil that child.

Only it's not just the words that tick me off. It's the fact that other mothers are saying it. It's also the fact that they are saying it over something as simple as cuddling and rocking my seven month old to sleep.

That's right. The most recent event to spur this discussion (because yes, it has happened before) was from a mother who witnessed me rocking my baby girl while she dozed in my arms.

I have heard this from others (friends, family, strangers I just met…), but for some reason I felt the need to defend myself this time. With my fur bristled and my claws out (metaphorically, of course), I informed the woman that this isn't an all the time thing, that my little girl is going through some kind of growth spurt and has been fussy all day.

Only here’s the thing: That was a lie.

I defended my actions by saying it didn't happen every day, when in reality it does. I love nursing my daughter to sleep. I love rocking her, holding her, babywearing her, and spending my days giving the vast majority of my time and attention to her.

This mother overstepped her boundaries and criticized the way I parent. People say over and over again not to create these bad habits, to start early in creating an independent child. But here's the question: How is holding my daughter now going to spoil her in the future?

Stop it already. Stop judging how other mothers choose to parent.

Sure, I can understand if I'm giving a toddler candy every day. I can understand if I never make her do chores when she is older, or let her skip veggies and go straight to dessert, or if I buy her things all the time.

But giving love and creating a special bond with an infant is NOT spoiling a child. Especially at these young ages, children know only a handful of things. Making sure they understand mommy loves them and is always there to make them feel safe and secure cannot possibly be spoiling them.

Will my child be a brat because we cuddle together for naps? I don't think so. Will she be a torment because I choose to walk her around the nursery rocking her when she is inconsolable? I highly doubt it.

Finally, I plea to mothers out there: Stop it already. Stop judging how other mothers choose to parent. Am I hurting her? Am I causing psychological damage? NO. I am doing the best I can as a first time mother.

While I appreciate the advice, your accusations that I am “spoiling” my child are ridiculous. Glass houses, people. Shall I tell you what kind of damage you are doing to your child with your parenting methods? No?

Shut up.

Rant over. (Click here for a much nicer, not angry post!)

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