"Am I a Good Enough Mom?"
Stand up for yourself. continued...
It took many hits for me to finally figure out that in order to feel
confident about my parenting, I had to put busybodies in their place. With my
firstborn, I often let an off-the-cuff remark from an uppity mom on the
playground go seemingly unnoticed, so as not to make a scene. But afterward,
I'd be burning up inside. Nowadays, I don't let people get away with offering
up annoying advice, and I've managed to come up with some pretty witty retorts.
Recently, a nanny at the playground said to me rather haughtily, "Hot sauce
will get your son to stop sucking his fingers." I forced a smile and
answered: "Thanks. He's not yet 2, but if he's still sucking them at 22,
I'll take you up on that."
Not so quick with a comeback? Bria Simpson, author of The Balanced Mom:
Raising Your Kids Without Losing Yourself, suggests using this easy script:
"I know you have different ideas about parenting. I respect yours and I
need you to respect mine."
Use ammo from the experts.
Your instincts are your best handbook to mothering. But it doesn't hurt to
arm yourself with informed guidance. Read a book or two — but not 20. Consult
your pediatrician. Talk to friends whose parenting styles you admire. "Mix
and match to arrive at your own style," says Debbie Glasser, Ph.D., founder
of newsforparents.org. "When you find out what works for you, you won't be
so vulnerable to the push and pull of outsiders."
And when you really want to get the quibblers off your back, never
underestimate the power of these three words: "My pediatrician
says...." With that preface you get instant cred, even if you say that your
baby is allergic to mauve. Seriously.
Get your guy on your side.
Most nights, around 8 p.m., you'll find me issuing orders like a traffic
cop: "Put your homework in your backpacks. Take a shower. Brush your
teeth." Some nights everything clicks, and by 8:30 everyone is ready to go
night-night. But other nights, my husband derails my system by offering
horseback rides, telling jokes, or regaling the kids with stories about his
childhood. Sometimes I find this kind of sweet. But most of the time, it just
eats me up.