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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Drive-By Jewish Mothering

I was the victim today of a drive-by mothering. I was at a community fair with my kids, minding my own business, when a complete stranger tapped me on the shoulder to tell me that I really "shouldn't be letting my baby eat raisins, as where she comes from, raisins are a choking hazard." I stifled my urge to choke her with some raisins, instead choosing the moral high ground by thanking her politely for her advice.
And then I remembered where I picked up the term "drive-by mothering" from. Getupgrrl, over at Chez Miscarriage, put up a terrific series of posts on what she termed "Mothering Drive-Bys". In her own words:

...I began to notice a pattern. A theme, if you will. A leitmotif, which was this: apparently, other mothers frequently say crappy things to you about your mothering.

So here’s what I want to know from you folks: have you ever been the victim of a mother drive-by? And if so, what happened?

Please, no psychological theories, sociological analyses, or political opinions. I want personal anecdotes and factual stories only, the weirder the better.

Unfortunately, GetupGrrl has taken her archives off-line for now, but the comment thread, at last count, was at 354 comments. Some of the Drive-By stories left by commenters were truly infuriatingly hilarious. For example: “I don’t know how you can put that baby in day care. Why did you even have a child if you weren’t going to raise her yourself?”.

In that vein, I'd like to open a thread up to examples of "Jewish Mothering Drive-Bys". If a complete stranger tells you that you are holding, feeding or disciplining you child wrong, tell us about it here. Any bits of stupid advice volunteered unsolicited by family, friend or stranger qualify. Good examples from my own experience are:

A) That time at a family get-together when mother-in-law, my husband's grandmother, and every one of my husband's aunts (really, every one!) asked me how I could let my son use that "stupid pacifier".
B) The time my neighbor told me that I was "spoiling" my colicky, 4-week-old baby by holding him all the time, at the very moment that he was in my arms screaming his brains out.

And so on.
So comment away! And by the way, extra points for any snappy comebacks you may have thought up on the spot!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha! I was once in the supermarket, when a woman on line behind me asked if my baby "really needed that pacifier". I politely said, as much as you need those cookies! She was not amused!

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant count how many times my mother-in-law has told me to stop nursing my baby and start to feed him "real" food like the steak and potatoes she fed my husband when HE was THREE MONTHS OLD.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best is when both my mother AND my mother-in-law keep telling me that my baby would sleep a whole heck of a lot better if I would just put her to sleep on her stomach. Like they say, me and my husband both slept on our stomachs, and we both lived to tell the tale! (Of course, that's after my m-i-l tells me how she doesn't know why theres such a fuss over smoking during pregnancy - after all, she smoked heavily through ALL her pregnancies and everyone made it out OK!)

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could go on and on. I get a lot of working mother drive-bys. People ask me all the time whether I feel I'm making the right choice by leaving my kids during the day. My M-I-L always asks me whenever my kids act in the least bit rowdy whther I think it's because I leave them with a babysitter. ARGH!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL!!! I don't have kids yet, but I'm looking forward to reading others' comments! Very funny post!

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is one thing that totally drives me crazy: When your baby cries a little and everyone tells you that s/he MUST be hungry. Even though you just finished feeding the baby for the 12th time that day!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Mint Chutney said...

I totally agree with M.O.W. Two minutes after I had finished giving my 11 month old daughter a full bottle she let out a little cry (because she didn't want to be held). My aunt immediately starts telling me she's hungry and acted like I was trying to starve the kid.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes but raisins,grapes and nuts are serious.kids have DIED.
it was just a suggestion.
where do you draw the line?

10:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Thanks Daat Y - raisins are fine for a toddler:
But I appreciate the sentiment that there is a line. I do think, however, that this was comfortably on the wrong sode of drive-by parenting.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Kiki said...

"drive by parenting" - I like that phrase. wow, there have been so many stories over the years.

"aren't you embarrassed to let your child out of the house like that?" when the toddler insisted on going to school in PJs - worth a fight? no....let him wear the pJs

"your son needs a sun hat", "he's too hot", "he's too cold", "he's thirsty" - how the heck do they know all these things?

oh and the worst drive by offense - do NOT freaking touch my child with your sweaty paws. Ick! Ask permission before you slobber all over my son, chuck him under the chin, rub my belly with your rude meathook.....eeuuww

oooh remembered this one. Baby was sick, waiting to see the pediatrician. Secretary at doc's office said "how on earth can you let him have his pacifier out of the house at his age?" he was 18 months and sick to boot. Get a freaking life!

11:40 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

On my oldest daughter's 2nd brithday, just a my wife and I are to slip out the door followimg fifteen frantic minutes of racing around to get ready, the lazy, never-gets-off-her-fat-ass-away-from-the-television babysitter casually says to my wife out of my earshot, 'it's such a shame you have to work today, on her birthday...'

My wife cried the whole drive to work.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drive by mothering yes or no:

I'm guilty of this.

6 month old baby of a friend, at a restaurant. Parents start feeding baby honey. I've read/heard/always been told that feeding honey to an infant could cause some type of disease. So, I say:

"You aren't supposed to feed honey to a baby, it can make them sick can't it?" (I'm no doctor, figured they'd know better).

Drive by mothering?

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Normally I'd say yes BUT that is a very serious matter.
Honey can be deadly to a baby and not every parent knows that.

Depending on how you say it I think you can get a pass on that one :)

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SW- How cruel! That would have made me cry too. You should begin the new babysitter search TODAY!

1:39 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Thanks Shifra -- It was years ago. and four babysitters ago, but thatks for the empathy.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SW you told it like it was still fresh!
Must have been a defining moment :)

2:14 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I agree that the honey thing does not qualify as a drive-by, as long as it was properly done. It's also the tone of voice that turns simple advice into a drive-by.

StillWonderin - OUCH! That really is an obnoxious thing for an employee to say! As if we don't get enough of a daily dose of guilt about parenting from family and friends!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Orthomom! We can all relate to this, I think!

3:07 PM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Shifra, the defining moment with this babysitter was when during a conversation, she casually mentioned that she was on welfare, section 8, and had some type of pension.

In the same breath, she had the audacity to refer to the hard earned money my wife and I were killing ourselves to pay her with as: "That's gravy."

What we defined at that moment is that the person who so highly recommended her clearly needed their head examined.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when someone (m-i-l), cousin, friend is holding my 3 mo. old and she starts crying and they tell me " she must be hungry" i just say actually she just doesn't like you!!

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am constantly being told that my daughter is not dressed warmly enough. I dress her as I dress myself. No one needs a jacket in 80 degree weather, even a baby. And ekcuse me, but arent I the child's mother? Who the hell are you? (Of course, I can't say that to the child's grandmother, who are frequent offenders.)

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best was when we were on a plane back from a family vacation and my 3 yr. old started throwing up. The women in the row behind me starts saying - "didn't you know she was going to throw up? Why didn't you have an airsick bag ready?' I wanted to kill her. If I knew, do you think I would have vomit all over my clothes right now?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A woman drove by my house to tell me that my kids should not ride their bikes at dusk. When I asked her if they were riding in the middle of the street, she said, "No, they were actually very careful, but you never know". Literally "drive by" parenting.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A small child in the Five Towns choked to death on agrape.We always cut the grapes into 3 or 3 pices whan we give them yo our grandkids.

6:30 PM  
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Anonymous viagra online said...

wow this is really creepy, if someone come close to me and give some advice to how take care of my child, for sure that I answered "thanks, but this is not your business"

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