Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
I cherish weekends. I leave our apartment for work before the rest of my family. We only have three hours each weekday as a family and a bunch of that time is spent dressing, undressing, feeding, and bathing our daughter. Bottom-line: I miss my kid a lot during the week.
I was a self-admitted Type A before my daughter came along. I liked to be busy, to have my home in order, to be on top of things at work. Since she's arrived we spend much of our time off cuddling in bed or taking pictures of our chubby baby girl trying to eat snow (of course the control freak in me still has to be talked off the snow-is-dirty-put-your-tongue-back-in-your-mouth ledge, but we make it through).
All of this is pretty normal: woman has baby, woman wants to be with her baby. Nothing extraordinary here. The thing is so many people seem to feel entitled to TAKE -- that's right not visit with but TAKE my not-even-1-year-old daughter from her Dad and I. This isn't a case where we are abusive and need to be relieved of our parenting duties I assure you. Nope, my in-laws and even one of my sisters constantly ask, cajole, and even demand that we GIVE them our baby.
My mother-in-law asks for our daughter to sleep over her house WITHOUT HER PARENTS every time we see her. Did I mention that she has two other infant granddaughters? For some reason our baby is so interesting that we now have a tug-o-war over her at family functions. It seems the more I say “no” the more vigorously women in our family want our baby. I hear phrases like these, in annoying Southern accents, every time we're together:
"Don't worry I'll just hold her until you all leave."
"Wouldn't you like to go away for the weekend and leave her with us?"
“Oh, you get her all the time, I'll keep her now.”
“You are such a baby hog aren't you?”*
*Can someone even hog their OWN child?
The very best was a recent comment about how my breastfeeding is getting in the way of my infant's potential sleepovers:
"You know formula won't hurt her. I could give her some while she's at our house since you don't pump enough for her to stay overnight."
Right, let's just change my parenting style to meet your needs. No problem. And while I'm mixing the formula for you I'll also sign away my parental rights.
All of the baby-klepto-behavior recently culminated in my mother-in-law refusing to give my crying baby back to me while she was bathing the terrified little human. After reaching past her to retrieve my screaming child (who was lying on her belly in a tub of water for some unknown reason) we both ended up on our butts. WTF.
I find myself searching for my own child at family functions. I walk in on aunts or cousins allowing perfect strangers “from town” to hold her. Lines form outside of rooms I'm nursing in so they can take her AS SOON AS I open the door. People actually request she skip naps so as not to interrupt their time holding her.
I love kids and I spent a ton of time with other people's children before having my own. Oddly, it never once occurred to me to demand anything from their parents. Nope, not one time did I refuse to return another person's child or demand that their schedule be changed to accommodate me.
I am not opposed to hiring a babysitter. I do not have anything against parents taking adult-only vacations. I think it's important for children to spend time with their extended families, even the crazy ones.
The thing is I LIKE TO SPEND TIME WITH MY CHILD. I want to hold her. I enjoy nursing her. I don't mind calming her when she cries. In fact, the whole reason her Dad and I had her was to parent her. Crazy I know. Oh and SHE'S ONLY SIX MONTHS OLD.
Usually I value my maturity. I take pride in my ability to see other people's side of things. But when it comes to time with my little girl I really could not care less what other people want.
So NO she won't be having any non-emergent-pre-first-birthday sleepovers, or changing her diet to suit your baby-hungry needs, or even learning to go without sleep so you can cuddle someone else's tired child.
The truth is I don't care if you want to hold my baby. She's my baby. If you want a baby then get your own.
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(photo: Yuliya Evstratenko / Shutterstock)