Monday, 24 August 2015

#Microblog Mondays: "Only a parent ..."

Over the years, quite a few women have said to me, “MY child won’t do X” or “OUR relationship is different, we’re very close!” only to be (predictably) proved wrong as their children grew up. In another conversation with a woman I know well, the "only a mother ..." and "only a parent ..." comment was uttered in this context repeatedly, blocking any possibility of a real discussion and the consideration of alternate views. It was clear that my role in the discussion was intended to be one of support, nodding and sighing, and validating the parent's decision. Whilst I couldn't bring myself to put my heart into this, I also couldn't put the child's case, as I wanted to do. My restraint was impressive (if I do say so myself)!

Later I said to my husband,

"Only a parent can be so self-righteous that they are blinded to the truth."

He laughed, we shrugged, and then went back to whatever we were doing.

15 comments:

  1. I can only hope to not be(come) blinded. For now I do not feel that raising a child has given me any special insights. If anything I have more trouble using my brain than before. I'm hoping that getting a proper job in my field will remedy that for at least some hours per week ;-)
    And now that I am at it, I also do not understand the whole 'if you're not a parent you do not know real love'. Babies are easy to love, evolution has made it so. just like falling in love with a partner is the easy bit. ahhh, should not write a blog post here about the hard bits. Or the definition of "real" for that matter!
    Will now take my real love for a fresh cup of tea to the kitchen, as only a jobless person does on a Monday afternoon. ;-)

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  2. I stopped counting how many times I hear the phrase "as a mom". It hurt me deeply in the beginning.

    I love relationship that you have with your husband. I do exactly the same - all the things I wish to say to someone, I tell them later on in the evening to my husband. We shrug and go back to what we are doing. What else can you do?

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  3. I love what you said to your husband! File it in the "things I really want to say but can't" category.

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  4. I can relate to parents deciding that my opinion doesn't count because I "just can't understand". Like I don't have a brain in my head, or experience with children at all. Sometimes I feel like I've accepted that from friends who are parents and sometimes it still rankles.

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  5. Oh, I relate to this SO SO much. I have often wanted to do a tally count at school of how often the phrase, "as a mother" or "as a parent" is used in trainings and in meetings, ESPECIALLY in group parent meetings. Yes, you may have a different perspective as a parent yourself with someone else's child, but I don't think that being a parent necessarily gives you the ultimate say in what's best for a child. I hate being in meetings where everyone is saying that "As a parent, I..." and I feel somehow woefully less-than, like my opinion (although rooted in degrees and extensive training and experience as a teacher) doesn't count as much because I am not also a mother.

    Loved that "Only a parent could be so self-righteous that they are blinded to the truth." I see that so much in education, and with friends who can see the truth in others but not their own situations. I can only hope that I have the perspective to know when I am falling into this trap and can stop the downward slide. :)

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  6. Off hand comments can be so isolating. I find your restraint impressive! I am consistently impressed by how patient and graceful members of this community truly are.

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  7. Currently, my wisest counsel in many things -- including parenting -- is a woman who is not a parent. Time and time again, her observations and insights have proven incredibly astute.

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  8. Ugh. I hate that comment a lot. Almost as much as I hate "You wouldn't understand, your not a mom/parent". It's just so awful because I have empathy! I can put myself in others shoes. I can imagine! And so many infertiles have spent a lot of time imagining their kids lives and being a parent.

    I am lucky to have some friends who value my perspective about their kids and their decisions as parents as I am an outsider. I find situations like the one you were in to be very frustrating. Congrats on being so restrained! I do not know if I could have. Very impressive.

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  9. Argh, I just read a great article along these lines & can't put my cursor on it. Anyway, I totally agree. :)

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    Replies
    1. Found it!

      http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/books/review/whose-side-are-you-on.html?referrer

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    2. Loribeth, I love love LOVE that article!

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