Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking like a lady...

I have to get something off my chest. It drove me absolutely nuts.

Yesterday, Lizzy wore a cute little sundress to church. The dress from this post actually. She looked cute as a button. So before church, I was trying to put Lizzy to sleep while gabbing with Justin and my parents. Suddenly, a fellow church-goer (whom I have know for a long time) turned to me, and we had the following conversation:

Church Lady: Meredith, it's so nice to see Elizabeth all dressed up and looking like a girl.
I stare at church lady blankly.
Church Lady: Well you usually have her in all these little gender neutral outfits. It's nice to see her finally looking like a girl.  
My mom's mouth drops open
Me: Actually, she's worn a pink outfit every time we've been to church here.
Church Lady: Well but today she is actually in a dress. She looks very cute and feminine.
Me: Oh.

And then I turned around and went back to talking with my family. It was all I could do not to go on a long diatribe. Because the conversation kind of irritated me. It does just so happen that she has worn pink every Sunday...but even when I don't always dress her in pink (which I don't), it is really not anyone's business.Girls, even little ones, are allowed to wear colors other than pink. And they're allowed to have green car seats (which is something else that I'm often chastised about from both people at church and complete strangers in the grocery store).

It's worth mentioning that nearly every time I've posted a shady or offensive conversation, it has occurred at church, which I think is really sad. Churches are supposed to be places of love and support, not places where we tear each other down. And let's pretend for a moment that I wasn't someone who has attended regularly. Maybe someone that had only attended two, or three times. Do you think that person would ever come back? I know that I wouldn't.
While I was still pregnant, my mom gave me a cartoon from the newspaper. It shows a new mom, struggling with balancing an infant and all of her gear as she's sitting down on a park bench. Next to her, sits a little old lady who is knitting. The little old lady looks over at the mom and says, "Excuse me miss, but do you realize that everything you're doing with that baby is completely wrong?

To be honest, I have found that cartoon to read very true, and not just when it comes to little old ladies. I'm often stopped by strangers to tell me that I really should feed my child because she's hungry (no, actually she's tired), or that putting a car seat in the baby section of a shopping cart is extremely dangerous, or that letting her stand on my legs will make her bow-legged, or that using a pacifier increases the risk of SIDS (actually, just the opposite is true), and all sorts of other things that basically say 'You're a bad mom. You don't know what you're doing.'

I know that I'm not a bad mom, but the thing that bothers me MOST about the situation, is that the mom bashing almost always comes from other people who are moms themselves. Occasionally, I'll get a silly comment from someone that doesn't have kids ("How long is she gonna cry like that?"), but those I'm much more apt to forgive. It is honestly the nasty comments from other moms that get me fired up because they've been there. They KNOW what it can be like. And I'm sure they know that there are very few mommas out there who don't do the best they can for their kids--and that's coming from someone who used to work with kids in foster care. 

Sometimes, I just don't understand. Has our society really lost that little filter that causes us to think before we speak?


  1. That's awful! Sometimes people should really know to keep their mouth shut. Who cares if you dress her in BLUE everyday, you are her mother. And the fact that people comment on her having a green car seat? Hello people, I'd much rather get a gender neutral car seat and not have to shell out more money when the next one comes along because now I need a different color. O jeez, some people... I hope I am as strong as you when it comes to biting my tongue when people make comments!

  2. Ummm, seriously? My kids are going to be decked out in green onesies - it's gender neutral AND my favorite color (and I think that the girly princess thing gets obnoxious after awhile). And car seats? Why would you buy a gender specific carseat when you could have a boy next? Wow, people are amazing.

    You're doing what is right for you, don't worry about the insensitive comments of others (who let's face it, probably know far less than you).

  3. Mommy wars. They suck. It doesn't matter what you do or say, someone (usually a mom, just like you said) will have something negative to say about it.

  4. Oh wow, Meredith. I had no idea people feel that it is their place to say such things. Mark my words, I will never be one of those women who feel it necessary to give unsolicited advice (or, in this case, unsolicited OPINION) to anyone...especially a Mama.


  5. Oh that must be SO frustrating! People just need to learn to keep their mouth shut!

  6. I'm sorry for you for this incident. I agree that society has lost it's filter and it seems as it does, I, myself, tend to take things more personally now than I ever did! I just always remind myself of the golden rule so I don't fall into that no filter rule as well, although sometimes I know I do!

  7. I completely understand, so much so that it made me laugh out load to read this...

    ... we didn't know our little girl was a girl until she was here and people thought it was terrible of us to have her in green. Seriously!

    You are right - there are no filters.

  8. Um, wow. That woman would have a heart attack if she saw my Lovie... Oh well. Sorry you have to deal with that.

  9. Oh Meredith, that is awful. We bought a gender neutral carseat, pack n play, and swing so that when we have another baby, we can just use everything we already have. And yes, girls can wear more than the color pink! If you wanted to dress her in all blue with a baseball cap, nobody should ever say anything to you.

  10. Yikes. I'm glad you had the filter rule in your head at that very moment, because I'm sure I might of said something back.

    And FYI lizzy looks adorable in every single outfit you've posted of her!

  11. Ugh, our society has definitely lost it's filter. I get this all the time with marriage already and more often than not it's from "church people". We actually left one church because we got so fed up with the needling remarks that people would make. I get so many comments on when Hubs and I are going to make a baby, the reply I want to give is something along the lines of, why would I want to have a kid when it's just one more thing you're going to have an opinion on!?! Seriously, I don't know what people's problems are! This is the part of motherhood that I'm not particularly looking forward to, I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep my mouth shut!

  12. Sometimes, I really wonder about people. Is it fine to have an opinion? Is it fine to want to do things differently yourself? Sure! Do you need to act like someone who chooses differently than you is wrong? No way! Hubby and I helped with the two-year olds this Sunday, and one little boy had long hair, was wearing a pink polo shirt, and had a purple paci. Would I take my little boy in public like that? Probably not. Did I tell her what I thought? Nope. Plus, she had an older daughter, so I'm betting she used some of what she had from when her daughter was that age. And that kid was just as cute in pink as he would have been in blue, green, or a dress.

    And really, is the most important thing we can worry about how other people's kids are dressed? Should be be glad they have on clean clothes, have been fed, are happy and be thankful they have loving parents who bring them to church? I think so.

  13. I maintain that there are no circumstances in which, pushed to the proper limit, it is inappropriate to respond with a polite, "Please shut the fuck up." (Note that "please" is key in this equation. Otherwise it's just rude.)

    Especially when dealing with old people. This is why I'm hitting blow and horse as hard as I can when I turn 70.

    As to society losing filters: People have always fought petty battles with one another. A brief investigation of Roman political and family life is all one needs to see that that basic core in human society has changed very little over the millennia. We romanticize the past into an ideal that it quite simply was not. On the one hand, this can be useful, if it inspires people to better behavior. On the other, it's usually just used to rip others down.

  14. Yep, know all too much about those comments. people never think too much about what they say. No one should ever tell anyone how to treat or raise someone elses child

    what a rude lady though.

  15. I think everyone else has already expressed my thoughts. What's said to you is ridiculous. I like the blank stare reaction. No I won't sink to the level of snapping at them and losing MY filter, but their statements don't warrant a response either, and the silence makes them uncomfortable.

  16. Oh my gosh! I am so angry for you, too!

    1. Girls can whatever they want, and what is it with societies urges to sexualize infants? They're babies! They don't have to look feminine!

    2. You're a wonderful mother! No one should comment otherwise. They're just being smart-a** who feel holier-than-thou!

    3. The same kinds of things happen at my church, and the sadden me so! (reminds me of the book, Lord Save Us from Our Followers! Good read!)

  17. Let me start by saying I amsorry I am so behind on your blog. The church thing really bugs me. Hello. Plank in eye? I wish people knew enough to keep their comments to themselves. Wouldn't just be enough to say she looked adorable?


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