I’ve encountered some issues with being treated as an adult and parent, even though I am both. The fact that I’m still living with my parents probably doesn’t help my case very much. My insanely small town and continued participation in the 4-H program (as a leader now) also seem to contribute. In general, the adults in my life, and even some of the kids, have a hard time realizing I’m not “one of the kids” anymore.
My biggest frustration with being still considered a “kid” is that it’s extremely difficult for people to accept that I might actually know what’s best for my son. I don’t mind some encouragement or friendly advice, but please, let me decide what I feel is best. I know Monkey best. Even my family doesn’t always notice when something is “off” about him. It’s just a mama thing. We know when our babies aren’t quite right.
There have been several debates at my house and I’m sure there are many, many more to come. The first was about co-sleeping. Was it good or bad? What if I rolled over on Monkey in my sleep? I researched, I looked for stories. I finally felt I had enough facts behind me that I could just go to my mom and announce, “I’m going to sleep with Monkey whether you agree or not and this is why.” Once I had something to back me besides “I want to,” my mom was much more willing to agree. We’ve also had long discussions about cloth diapering. I spent hours upon hours learning more about it after a friend told me how great it was. I really liked the concept. I mean, they’re way cuter than disposables and in the long run would save me well over a thousand dollars. What’s not to like? My mom’s concern was that they’re kind of gross. She used cloth on me in an attempt to save some money. It didn’t last very long because twenty years ago, the only option was prefolds. They were hard to use, awful to clean and just generally not fun. When I was able to show her the options available now and how easy they are to deal with, she was more interested in discussing them. She was still pretty leery of them, even after I ordered them. She was so afraid I’d quit after a week of cleaning poopy diapers. It’s really not a huge deal to me and worth the effort. Really, I have to deal with the poop anyway. If he’s in disposables, they just leak all over his clothes.
I also get frustrated with doctor’s appointments. My mom always wants to come. She always says it’s because she feels left out if she doesn’t get to be there, but honestly, when she’s there, it’s more like she’s making sure I do things right. It’s like I can’t do it alone. I know as well (sometimes better) as she does what is wrong with Monkey. Thanks to the co-sleeping, I actually spend a lot more hours with him. Between his behavior at night and during nursing, I can usually tell if something is off. No one else can because they don’t experience those times. Monkey was on an antibiotic that didn’t set well with his little system until last Thursday. When I mentioned that I was going to ask the doctor to write down that he has a sensitivity to it, my mom got upset because he needs to have the option of taking it. With a sensitivity, though, it can still be given if there’s nothing else. Her opinion is that it’s better to have a baby with absolutely horrible side effects (practically worse than what was wrong in the first place) than to have a sick baby. I’m not sure it’s worth it, especially with all the other options out there. So, now I have to try to get Monkey to the doctor without an escort so I can say something to him.
I’m sure there will be plenty more arguments over what is best. Each time, it’s a little easier for me to just say “I’m the mama and this is what I feel is best for Monkey.” I want to assert my authority and demand the proper respect, but I also don’t want to be disrespectful. I know that my parents are still my parents and deserve the respect of their daughter. That’s important and I want Monkey to learn respect by seeing me model it. I also know that as an adult, I deserve respect, too. All people deserve respect.