Protecting Your Parental Privacy from Friends and Family
Humorous and Helpful Tips for Handling Inappropriate Questions
Pregnancy and childbirth are magical events. Each one is so wonderful and unique that people can’t help but want to share in the experience. Since they can’t literally share the joy of stretch marks and spit-up, they must live vicariously through those of us who have the privilege of getting barfed on daily. Thus, expectant women and new moms are utterly inundated with intimate questions. “How long were you in labor?” asks the pizza delivery boy. “Did you get the epidural?’ whispers your next door neighbor. “How’s his circumcision healing?” booms Uncle Eddie. It’s embarrassing. It’s awkward. But it’s expected.
Once the new baby novelty wears off and your munchkin is a walking, talking, bona fide toddler, you’d imagine these personal inquiries would end. Keep dreaming. The questions keep coming and they’re just as intrusive as ever. Just when you thought it was safe to go leave the house, someone asks, “Is she making poo-poo in the potty yet?” Sheesh!
Questions and Comparisons
Here’s the scary part: the people asking the questions aren’t strangers anymore. Now the inquisitors are the ones closet to your family, like your parents, in-laws, and other mothers of toddlers. And they’re not asking out of tactless curiosity anymore either. When you were pregnant and the stranger on the bus asked, “Do you have varicose veins?” her curiosity was actually a kind of strange feminine bonding over the quirky symptoms of pregnancy. But when your mother-in-law asks why your son still drinks from a bottle, she’s not bonding…she’s comparing. Her son drank from a cup at three months for goodness sake, and her grandson should, too!
Grandparents are endlessly checking on the status of their grandchildren to make sure you’re doing a decent job of raising them. And for grandmothers, doling out advice on pacifiers, potty training, and discipline gives them the extra thrill of reliving their parenting days through your brood.
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