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Old 03-24-2005, 05:05 PM   #1
Joanne
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Default Bean Dip

New parents often feel their decisions are being scrutinized, debated and judged. My years as a mother (and one who has made some alternative choices) have taught me a few helpful things.

One is how to deal with overly concerned and inquisitive family members.

The specifics will vary from family to family, but the principle behind the strategy remains constant. When setting boundaries, people (often moms) typically confuse setting the boundary with trying to convince the other person about how right they are in needing to set the boundary.

In setting boundaries, we don't need to convince the other person you are right and they don't have to agree about the boundary. We just need to be prepared to enforce the boundary, at any cost, using progressively more firm responses (if need be).

Here is an example:

First, I learned early on that most of my choices were on a "need to know" basis. Most people don't "need to know". If asked "how is the baby sleeping?" Answer: Great! Thanks for asking! Want some bean dip?

"Are you sure you should be picking her up every time she cries?" Answer: "Yes! Thank you! Want some bean dip?"

"When do you plan to wean" Answer: "When she's ready. Thanks! Want some bean dip?"

The majority of people will stop at that point. However, some others, for reasons of concern or poor boundaries, will continue.

In that case, you will need to set *firm* boundaries. They will need to be backed up with action (like hanging up, leaving the room or even the event). Practice kind but firm responses:

"I know you love us and the baby. We are so glad. Our sleeping choices have been researched and made. I will not discuss it again."

Also, don't confuse setting boundaries with trying to convince someone of the rightness of your choices. New AP moms often struggle with this. The boundary is that no one else has a right to tell you how to parent and create a hostile environment. You set boundaries by doing the above. Where new moms often invite problems is by citing authors, studies and sites to "defend" themselves. Each time you do so, you create more time for discussion and rebuttal and send the message that your decisions are up for debate. Don't defend your choices beyond generalities, and then only once or twice. "The doctor is in support of our choices. Want some bean dip?"

Finally, look them in the eye and say simply "I want us to have a good relationship. I want you to *enjoy* the baby. I'll parent the baby - you enjoy them. Let's not discuss this anymore. If you bring it up, I will leave the room."

I’d like to add one more suggestion. I know there are areas you feel absolutely convinced of your decisions. It might be that you believe in your baby’s birthright of breastfeeding or your son’s right to an intact penis. Never offer unsolicited advice, opinions, books, links or articles. To do so is a violation, no matter how “right” you may be. If we want our inboxes free from Ezzo endorsements, anti family bed propaganda from the Juvenile Products Coalition and weaning articles, we need to respect the right of others to make their choices.



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Old 03-25-2005, 06:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Joanne,
I have a question about this.
Quote:
I’d like to add one more suggestion. I know there are areas you feel absolutely convinced of your decisions. It might be that you believe in your baby’s birthright of breastfeeding or your son’s right to an intact p*nis. Never offer unsolicited advice, opinions, books, links or articles. To do so is a violation, no matter how “right” you may be. If we want our inboxes free from Ezzo endorsements, anti family bed propaganda from the Juvenile Products Coalition and weaning articles, we need to respect the right of others to make their choices.

I do talk to people about my parenting choices and offer advice, books, links, etc. But, I do it *once* and see how they respond. It's often couched as "this is what works for me." Some parents are interested....some new moms are bf and anti -CIO over it. Some parents are Pearl or detached and don't want to hear it. If someone is not interested, I don't follow with more. I don't bombard them with GBD/AP things...we just continue our friendship. I've had it done the other way, too....people offer things from the other end of the parenting spectrum. Bean dip works very well to let them know I'm not interested.

I feel it is a respectful way to handle it - I don't mind if someone mentions Ezzo or Pearl *once* and doesn't push it.

So I guess my question is, why don't you advise to do so? Am I missing something? Or did you just mean don't be overzealous and try to convert everyone else to our POV?

Not being snarky - I'm genuinely curious. I want to be the best "light and salt" I can be
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Rebecca, I'll let Joanne answer you herself, but I thought I'd share my experience. . . there is someone who is in my life who has harbored resentment for 8 years now because I tried to encourage her when she was bf'ing her first dd. I was excited we had something in common, but we didn't. As soon as her doctor told her the baby was 6 months and she could switch her to whole milk and stop nursing, and I shared that this was bad information, it was filed away that I had "attacked" her mothering and I've never been forgiven.

There was also a time when I was younger that I wanted to share what I'd learned with everyone and help them not have to learn the hard way like I had. I had nothing but the best of intentions and even a very gentle way of sharing--but I was accused of being judgmental and arrogant. One day the Lord asked me who I thought I was--if I was Him. He asked me why I thought it was okay for me to learn the hard way but no one else could learn the way they needed to. Ever since then I've tried to live my life in a genuine way, share information with people who ask, and know that the information I found is out there for anyone who looks, and I can't make people want to look. The peace that has brought me is immense, and not a day goes by that the Lord doesn't bring me in contact with either someone who wants to learn what I want to share, or wants to share what I want to learn.
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Old 03-25-2005, 12:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Thank you Crystal for your post. It really touched me because since I've found the joys of bf and other parenting ideas, I've wanted to share them with everybody. I just assumed everybody was as thirsty for information as I was when I was pregnant, and I now know that is not the case.

It's hard to control my opinions sometimes, but I like your realization of God asking "Who do you think you are?". You're right. If I'm meant to share, then opportunities will arise for me to share.

Thanks again! I've been enlightened,
Lara
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Quote:
Originally Posted by jadensmom

I do talk to people about my parenting choices and offer advice, books, links, etc. But, I do it *once* and see how they respond. It's often couched as "this is what works for me." Some parents are interested....some new moms are bf and anti -CIO over it. Some parents are Pearl or detached and don't want to hear it. If someone is not interested, I don't follow with more. I don't bombard them with GBD/AP things...we just continue our friendship. I've had it done the other way, too....people offer things from the other end of the parenting spectrum. Bean dip works very well to let them know I'm not interested.

I feel it is a respectful way to handle it - I don't mind if someone mentions Ezzo or Pearl *once* and doesn't push it.

So I guess my question is, why don't you advise to do so? Am I missing something? Or did you just mean don't be overzealous and try to convert everyone else to our POV?

Not being snarky - I'm genuinely curious. I want to be the best "light and salt" I can be
I used the word "unsolicited". In the context of a discussion about parenting choices, offering "We practice AP" is appropriate. In a friendly, ongoing conversation, offering book titles, web sites, etc is appropriate.

What's not appropriate is hearing a woman talk about scheduled feeding and then sending her, unasked, a bunch of links about not scheduling nursing. It's the same thing as relatives and friends sending us, unsolicited, articles about the dangers of co sleeping.

It's not respectful. And we can't let the fact that we are right change the fact that we can't assert our boundaries and trample on other peoples.
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Old 03-26-2005, 07:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Ok, Joanne, Gotcha! And thanks for the clarification. (Of course, "unsolicited" is pretty clear...but hey...I have Mommy brain :P)

The only time I ever flooded anyone with AP articles was in response to my Mom's unending long-distance barrage of "stop holding him. Does he sleep by himself? Why do you want a sling? Why do you nurse him so much?" That was before I learned your wonderful bean dip technique, so I'd actually try to answer her. I got sick of it one day, and went on the web and pulled up every single article I could find on the benefits of AP. I flooded her inbox. It was 4 months before she questioned anything I did again

And yes, probably passive-aggressive of me! It's a long learning curve...sigh
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bean Dip

FWIW, I love the bean dip strategy!
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Old 05-30-2005, 03:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bean Dip

I'm just now reading this. I think I need to make about five gallons of bean dip and have it on hand all the time. It's a lot better than being a lone, defensive mommy who is in the habit of fretting at the criticisms of others. Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2005, 01:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Bean Dip

What's with the "bean dip?" I hear it all the time on the net. Is it changing the subject? Do you literally ask someone, "want some beand dip?" like it's a universal phrase for when someone needs to mind their own business? Does it only follow with the internet world? Am I being a "dip" for asking these questions?

I am constantly being questioned about my mothering. The most difficult person is my mother who is very threatening to me. I avoid contact with her altogether much of the time. I'd like to be able to just set the boundaries with her, but as a passive-agressive person by nature, I am REALLY struggling with that. It sounds like you have really got it down. I sure hope that I can do the same some day. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Bean Dip

Changing the subject - and actually it is done in real life. So if you were eating at a party and an issue came up, you answer briefly and then change the subject by offering bean dip (or whatever.) We reference in our posts becuse we've all read this posty.

So for example..
I am sleeping over at my mom's house w/ the kids. Before bed she asks "Don't you ever lay them in bed by themselves, turn off the light, and leave?" I smile and say "Nope! Hey when did you get this new teddy bear for your collection?"

Does that make sense?
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:45 AM   #11
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Default Re: Bean Dip

OK, I see. I just felt like I was really missing something. I really need to get better about doing this. Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Bean Dip

I find that I struggle with wanting to convince people that I am right and/or that there is a "right" way to do things. (Especially with people who I'm very close to, like my sister who just had a baby). One thing that has helped me is to remember the instances when I was all fired up about doing something one way, and then had to adjust and be flexible because it just wasn't right for my baby. Like when my milk supply got low and I had to give my son supplemental formula bottles for a while. I cried and cried, but it helped me understand why I shouldn't judge mothers who aren't exclusively breastfeeding.

I also think about the so-called experts who have insisted on giving me advice (with the best of intentions) that, when followed, turned out to be disastrous for my individual child.

I do feel that I should say something when a parent is doing something out of ignorance that is immediately and truly dangerous to a child, like shaking a baby or not buckling a baby in a car seat for car trips. Those are cases that for me are as clear-cut as pulling a child out of the way of a speeding train. But the other stuff, I try to remind myself that I don't know everything about each individual case, and remember how heartsick I felt when people would make judgemental comments when they saw me sit down and give my son a bottle when inside it was already killing me.
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Old 07-18-2005, 08:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Bean Dip

i really lik ethis idea- its new to me- i just want to add that by gentlly sharing you may encourage others esp young moms- i was at dd's gymnastic class when i was asked by the owner if ds "sleeps through the night" i responded with- no but sonce he's bf and sleeps w/ us its not a goal we have for him right now. subject was then changed by me. later a really young mom who had been listening in (who also worked there) came to me and whispered that she sneaks her ds (same age as mine) into bed at night and the gym owner had been giving her a difficult time, i was able to encourage her that she wasn't spoiling her baby and that was nice.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:50 AM   #14
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Default Re: Bean Dip

I'm only reading this now but I just wanted to say that this is a great thread!!

Thank you to GCM for giving us tips info on all aspects of motherhood - including graciousness something I definitely need to learn!

LOVE the bean dip!
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Bean Dip

But I don't like bean dip!! Maybe cheddar & bacon...
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