I know you *probably* wanted to help, but it came across as critical.

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I’ve been wanting to make some comments on another parent’s blog for a few weeks now, but refrained. She is an adult, she is choosing to raise her child how she wants, etc. Yesterday she made a very long response to  my post on thinking about losing my baby weight. This annoyed to me no end, for two reasons.

One, I had been offering her the benefit of the doubt and courtesy of trusting her to raise her own child. Despite the fact that what she was doing for her child goes against medical opinion. Two, I introduced her to the concept of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) in a comment awhile back, and now she has co-opted the term in an uninformed way. And is trying to lecture me on what it means and how my eating is impacting my children.

I’ve debated whether or not to post a response. I always feel like, ‘Why are you letting them bug you??’ when I read other bloggers I like responding to comments they don’t like. I suppose by blogging we are all inviting strangers (and friends, always friends too) to read our words. But most people have the tact and grace to comment in a supportive way – or if they choose to offer constructive criticism, they do it well. As opposed to, well, the following.

The comment is in italics, my thoughts on this comment in regular font.

**Also – I hope I don’t offend any mamas or dads out there who are making different choices for their children than I am.

For me, a really big motivator for losing weight was that I wanted to be a healthy, fit, mom who was able to keep up with my kids.

Yes. There is nothing wrong with this. But I hope you are not implying that bigger moms/dads/etc can’t keep up with their kids. A few extra pounds does not a lazy parent make.

Thinking about the baby on the way was totally what made me through the marathon I ran last year! The weight loss caused the end of the hip pain that had plagued me for TEN YEARS, so I think it has in fact improved the sort of parent that I can be…

I *don’t* want to be a bitch, but you’ve never been pregnant. When you have been pregnant, talk to me. When you have been pregnant with TWINS, talk to me. When you have been pregnant with twins and had a very severe case of SPD, talk to me. When you have been the sole daytime carer of two young babies and STILL suffering from SPD, talk to me.

I also hope there is no veiled intention here that if I lost weight, my SPD would improve. SPD happens from hormones. I also have hypermobility, and multiple pregnancies further increase the risk of SPD. It has no cure but (hopefully) time.

not to mention that involving my kid in being physically active (say by running with J. in the stroller) is a way better manner to get the “exercise is important” message across than by preaching.

I agree with you here. But if I were fit enough (read: my SPD was gone, and I was able to increase my muscle strength – months in a wheelchair will have an effect, after all) to jog along with the babies, I wouldn’t have them in a stroller. I would be wearing them. I don’t mind that *you* have them in a stroller, and we like ours too, but would always prefer to babywear! (Gratuitous plug for how much I love babywearing, coming right atcha.) As it is, we take the babies out for walkies for everyone’s benefit.

Furthermore, how do you know anything about my pre-pregnant fitness levels? Or that I won’t be outside playing with my kids when they are old enough, assuming my SPD clears up?

Also,I really want my kid and future kids to have a healthy relationship with food and for them to appreciate eating real, actual food more than processed crap. J’s interest in what we’re eating began really early – he’s long been FASCINATED by eating and has more recently started swiping things off our plates.When he got more persistent and keeping him from it got to be too much of a bother, we decided to call it baby led weaning and let him have at it (within reason and allegen requirements).

I introduced you to the concept of BLW, as far as I am aware. Or if I didn’t, I would be curious to know where you heard of it. Because you aren’t really doing it. Actual BLW starts at a minimum of six months. This is for a few reasons. One is that babies’ immune systems are not mature enough to handle solids till then. (I can refer you to a good BLW book that has info on why some products still say ‘suitable from four months’ despite the fact that government and global guidance recommends exclusive milk (preferably from the boob) until six months.) And it’s not just their immune systems that aren’t mature, it’s their digestive systems.

Also, babies introduced early to solid food may not take enough milk – and with BLW, milk is still the main provider of nutrients as babies learn by exploring taste and texture.  In BLW, yet another reason for waiting until a minimum of six months is that the growth and development of the mouth needs to be far enough along – even babies who are physically ready to eat ‘real people’ food are still prone to gagging with BLW. You need to make sure your baby is old enough, and equipped enough, to be able to handle it.

Also, babies ARE interested in food. There are false signs of readiness for BLW, and one of these is, weirdly enough, an interest in food/watching you eat. From about four months, babies get very interested in it. They might grab for food or even smack their lips while they watch you eat.  Mine watch me chew, they look at the food, they are fascinated. If I was eating within range, they might make a go for it. If I handed them a piece of food, they certainly would.   Babies do tend to grab whatever is in reach and shove it in their mouths – this is part of learning. God knows mine like chewing and mouthing their toys enough! They would also be interested in watching me pick my nose or brush my teeth, though.

Signs of readiness for actual BLW are (once your child is a minimum of six months!) being able to sit with little to no assistance – this has practical and obvious purpose with BLW, but also is a physical indicator of being at the appropriate level of development for BLW. Picking up food and meaningfully moving it towards and into the mouth. Chewing and swallowing, with lots of practice.  It’s not just about when you think they are ready for food, it’s based on their physiological readiness for it. I won’t give a lecture here, because no one signed up for that class and I don’t claim to be teaching it.

But BLW is quite common over here, and, well, you need to be well informed. This includes being aware of what foods it isn’t safe to give babies under six months or babies under a year. I am a big proponent of giving babies real food rather than puree, should you choose to do that, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore that some foods just aren’t suitable for babies.   Bread and citrus fruits, for example, are possibly not the best choices for a four or five month old, particularly if there is any family history of asthma, eczema, hayfever, or allergies.  If you know the facts and choose differently, at least you make an informed decision.

That means that what we’re eating is what he’ll end up gnawing on and letting fall out of his mouth (right now), and down the road, what he’ll actually be eating. If we want him to eat lots of veggies and fruit and whole grains and protein, that’s exactly what should make up the mainstay of our diets, too.

TMD and I are vegetarians. All of our actual meals are prepared fresh from veggies. I don’t need a lecture on food intake. I didn’t gain my weight from porking out on fast food, after all. Every pound I gained (all 59 of them, though have lost 26 of those baby and baby-makin’ pounds) was  geared towards having well nourished, healthy twins. Our twins were born full term at a very good size. I don’t regret gaining the weight.

In my post, I had clearly stated I was having a bad and draining week. Hence the biscuits and assorted shit. Though, you know, if I make the adult choice to drink Diet Coke, so be it. I live in the real world.

Likewise, if we want to send the message that food should be enjoyed slowly and that family meals are important, then we need to be DOING that, and we need to be doing it now and not suddenly changing the rules a few years down the road.

When I have time enough to eat (I refer you back to ‘when you are the sole carer of twin infants, THEN you can talk to me’ about time), I sit down with the babies. I eat ‘with’ them, and talk to them while doing so. We have fun.

Regardless of weight loss, I would guess that cramming biscuits into your mouth and washing them down with diet coke is probably not what you want your kiddos to be doing in a year… so I think that that pretty much says all there is to say about whether you should be doing it yourself. At least put yourself some biscuits on a plate and eat them at the table. :)

Again, do you have twins? Have you had two babies crying and screaming to be fed simultaneously, as you are in an extreme level of pain from your disability? Where it hurts to sit, let alone walk, let alone carry one, let alone carry TWO big ass babies? If you haven’t, it doesn’t seem you can imagine what that must be like. My non-mom and singleton mom (and dads, love to the dads!) friends seem to get it, but you don’t. That’s okay. It just makes me laugh to think that you think I have the time to neatly arrange biscuits on a plate and sit at the table (and, y’know, that pesky disability that keeps me from running marathons? It also means I can’t sit on chairs as they are too hard).

I am not eating the biscuits for the pleasure of it. I’m not eating them because of the great nutritional value. No, as I explained in my post, I was eating for comfort because I had a very hard week. And when you have two babies who require you to stay alive, you sometimes don’t have a chance to pee, poop, eat. And you sometimes want to do a little something for yourself, even if you only have thirty seconds and the only thing you can do is drink the sweet nectar of Diet Coke.

A year from now I won’t be handing them sugar fests for the same reason I will not be giving them solids before six months: I care about their health.

I write for me as I am writing. Once I hit ‘publish,’ I enjoy getting comments as much as the next person. They make me feel good, like I have connected with someone who thought that what I had to say was worthwhile enough that they wanted to respond. I like that. I like communication. I like helpful suggestions from people, friendly hellos, questions, opinions that differ from mine. After all, I never claim to have all the answers or that even if I had ‘a way’ of doing things, that it would always be the best way.

But multiple paragraph comments telling me how to raise my children, and implying that I eat processed crap, am unfit, have shitty ideas about family life and food? That I am a bad role model for my children? Don’t need it. Stop reading my big fat ass’s biscuit eating blog, and go feed your tiny tiny baby some more fucking oranges.

Sanctimonious comments from people about shit I already know, and shit I know BETTER than they do (hey, I read blogs, too)? When I’ve refrained from commenting? (Until yesterday, anyway, when I *did* comment.)

I don’t know why I felt I had to post this. Perhaps it was the goading from my twitter peeps, perhaps it was TMD’s disgust at the comment, perhaps it was that I was still thinking about how angry I was this morning. Maybe this entry is the leech that will suck out the bad blood?

I’m not writing this post in anger, though. Angry would have been yesterday. Today is more reflective and amused. I just don’t get why parents get into pissing contests about their children. Yes, we all think our kids are the best, why can’t that just satisfy people? Why must they try to convince others of it as well?

I thought you guys should also know that I just started a gang called The Razors, and our motto is (a la @ChandosJoy) ‘we will cut you.’ Wanna join?

——–

Edit: Been mulling over why this comment pissed me off so much. I now realise it was the implication that I was a bad role model for my children, a bad mother. Fuck that, I’m stupendous. How DARE she say otherwise?

(And please do comment to give me some support on this entry. I may have terrified you into thinking I will publish your comment and pick it apart, but I won’t. Probably. Muhahaha!)

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22 Responses to “I know you *probably* wanted to help, but it came across as critical.”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I ate 2 biscuits while reading this. For comfort. While breastfeeding. Oh and don’t forget my Coke Zero addiction. Snaps!

    I had SPD during my pregnancy with my newest son and mother of god did that hurt! I was bed bound, wasn’t able to play with my 7yr old. Needed physical help to MOVE. The pain was agonizing. I totally feel for you.

    I also don’t see how sitting a kid in a stroller is going to teach them ANYTHING about fitness, you can’t really engage with them when they are in a stroller in my opinion. Babywearing FTW!

    I’m a twin (fraternal, my sister is older by 2min) and have a younger brother (17months apart). This crap about sitting at a table for every meal is INSANE. I will freely admit I eat most of my meals in bed because generally when I’m hungry so is baby, so I would prefer to nurse him AND eat rather than have a screaming baby just so I can somehow convince myself eating at a table makes food more healthy.

    That commenter is just insane. Really. I don’t think she lives in reality.

    You ROCK all sorts of hard-core awesomeness!

  2. Gliding through motherhood Says:

    Have you heard of ass-vice, cuz that’s what that commenter was giving you. Her comment was 0% supportive or helpful and 100% annoying and judgy. I’m sorry. Try to ignore it – but I know how hard that can be.

  3. Tatiana Says:

    It is irresponsible and DANGEROUS to feed your child solids before s/he can sit up. There are many things that our kids will show interest in that we, as parents, simply cannot let them have, interact with, or shove in their mouth. We do baby-led weaning/baby-led solids over here, but before we started, our daughter was sitting up unsupported AND my husband and I were certified for infant CPR/AED from the Canadian Red Cross. That latter may not be a requirement, but it sure does ease our minds.

    While I do think the intention of the comment was to be helpful, it missed the mark. Yes, healthy eating habits and a healthy attitude towards food are very important, but launching into a holier-than-thoulecture about it on a post where existere is clearly feeling down on herself is not constructive.

  4. Diane Says:

    Wait — you mean this isn’t a biscuit eating blog? Dammitall.

    Glad you got this out of your system. 🙂 You’re a fantastic mom, and it shows through in your posts and your tweets. I think we all are getting it right in some ways and getting it wrong in others; NO ONE does this perfectly — not even citrus-gobbling-marathon-mamas.

    (And I feel I should point out, I mean NO disrespect to citrus-gobbling-marathon-mamas. I just think they get the same amount right as biscuit-eating-blogger-mamas and pacifier-using-formula-mamas and baby-wearing-vegan mamas. We’re each the best parent for our child.)

  5. Compadre Says:

    Is it wrong that I was hoping for a reply to this post from our marathon running friend… perhaps she is still busy sitting at the table with her plate of celery sticks (no dip).

    Don’t be messing with my family mrs, we love our pizza and are proud of it!

  6. CJ Says:

    She gives her baby food? Like, real food? Like BREAD? Hello?!?! Chocking hazard! And one of my personal pet peeves? Kids that grab food off my plate. Seriously, that doesn’t happen in my house. My daughter was fifteen months when she became my daughter and she made that mistake ONCE. I took her hand, firmly, put it over by HER plate and showed her how she had the same thing mommy did on her plate. If they grab it off their parents’ plate, they’ll grab it off anyone’s and I don’t know what other people put on their plates….I really hope she was trying to be supportive, but it came across really shitty. But that’s just MY opinion!

  7. Christine LaRocque (LiteMochaMom) Says:

    Fabulous post! You handled much as I would have. I’m constantly amazed by any kind of judgement given a mother. We all do what us right for us & what works for our family. That’s what makes it RIGHT, not what some book or other “better” mother/person says. Can I tell you that I have spent the better part of my maternity leave eating chocolate rosebuds. Guess my children are doomed! Because being a mother is about making good choices, but I believe there are times when it is just about getting through the day. You are doing an amazing job! I struggle with one, two would be my undoing 🙂

  8. Katie Says:

    Well put. I’m glad you responded.
    All this person wanted to do in their comment was fluff their own feathers. *I* ran a marathon. *I* had lots of pain (and overcame it). *I* want to feed my kid healthy food.
    I hope you realize that her comment wasn’t to offer you constructive advice OR to tell you you’re a bad mom. It was simply to make her feel better about herself.
    You rock and you know it. Don’t doubt it.
    Also? Word to yo mutha.

  9. diva Says:

    i’ve been flying over from andrea’s site for a few but this is the first time i’ve commented:

    she was 0% supportive & 100% all about herself. what a fruit cake. don’t people know that when you comment on someone’s blog you don’t make it about yourself?

    i mean when IIIIIIIIII decided to start my blog….

    haha kidding.

    you go girl. kick that ass. you rock!

  10. boo Says:

    yes, all of the above…enjoy your biccies, god knows there’s enough shit to worry about in life and a few empty calories compared with the pain of SPD is no contest. in fact, make them jaffa cakes just for the hell of it. or even better, chocolate caramel digestives… mmmm…god, breastfeeding makes me hungry!

  11. Chibi Jeebs Says:

    Disregard the sanctimommyous assvice and continue being the excellent mother you ARE. ❤

  12. Megs Says:

    Oh snap! Im doing the cabbage patch and saying ‘Go Existere, Go Existere’ in my mind.
    But also, please please don’t let other people undermine your confidence in your parenting skillz. I’m sure she didn’t realise how she was coming across. You are a great mom, and you know it. You are so strong! And you will lose the weight when you are ready. I am pretty sure the babies are not complaining that you can’t do the 100m dash with them right now. You can probably comfortably beat them in races for the next 5-6 years, so you have until then to start training for the marathon. Thats the way I see it. 🙂

  13. Jennie Says:

    What I get from your blog is that you’re coping admirably with a truly stressful situation, and managing to be a great parent at the same time. Many people would have fallen apart under far less stress and pain than you have gone through. Oh, and you’re honest. Perhaps that’s what’s unsettling to her. Perhaps she’s a blogger who only talks about the good days, and not about the days where she was in her pyjamas all day, watched two seasons of ‘Friends’ back to back whilst tucking into a family sized bag of crisps. Your honesty and willingness to share the difficulties as well as the triumphs is one of the things that let me enjoy reading your blog so much. Keep going as you are, you’re fab!

  14. Jenny Says:

    I’m really so incredibly sorry to have caused offense! I (somehow) did think I was being helpful, and I truly didn’t mean to offend. I realize after rereading my comment that it comes across as sanctimonious and twit-like… but hindsight is always perfect. It’s hard when talking about personal stuff like weight to try to find that encouraging vs annoying line, and I think that in writing that doesn’t come across as well as it should, and I was clearly way on the other side of it. I’m not as gifted a writer as you are, and my intended tone didn’t come across at all. You are right to be angry. I’d like to apologize for making you upset, because it really, truly wasn’t my intent.

    I meant to offer encouragement and I clearly completely failed to do so. You’re right that my comment was obnoxious. I hope you can forgive it as being a consequence of being poorly thought out and tired and not malicious.

  15. Jenny Says:

    Last comment: Reading your blog just sounded a lot like where I have been in the past and I was trying to relate to what helped me past it. I didn’t mean to hijack your blog – I tend to babble especially when I’m tired.

    • Tatiana Says:

      Kudos to you Jenny. So glad to see you come here & clear the air. I did think your intentions were honest, and you’re right, it’s hard to talk about weight & diet without being offensive.

  16. apieceofwood Says:

    Obviously there is a response above mine from the original commentor… but I just wanted to wave my biscuit eating, cold chinese loving, choc eating flag in support of the kickin ass Momma for her response.

    GO YOU!!!

    and damm you for making me crave diet coke… mmmmm sweet nectar…

  17. Matt Says:

    I’m not going to add to the content of this post, as I know close-to-nothing about parenting, never mind having twins or feeding or anything like that.

    However, I’d just like to say that this post goes PERFECTLY with the song Sweet Dreams — you know, by Eurythmics? Well, for me, anyway. Download it from some illegal source of delishus illegal songs and play at as you read the post. Perfect!

    Oh, and also? I’m totally in the mood for biscuits now. Omnomnomnomnom

  18. Darlene Says:

    I’m still laughing at “Stop reading my big fat ass’s biscuit eating blog, and go feed your tiny tiny baby some more fucking oranges” comment. But at least it is all cleared up now. Still, you are hysterically funny!!!

  19. Andrea Says:

    I am so glad you decided to write this all out so I could read it and be entertained and angry. You know, because it’s all about me, anyway

    ::rolls eyes::

    What a neurotic idiot. Goes back to my favorite all time quote “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. And that goes for passive-aggressive insulting ass-vice as well.

    Gee-zip.

  20. saralema Says:

    Can I just tell you how hap-hap-happy I am to have found you again? I admire your honesty, insight, and confidence (and I swear I’m not just trying to suck up).

    It’s weird, but since becoming a mom, I find I have this strong desire to share my experience/knowledge of a situation with others when they either talk about them or ask. I often type up a response to someone/something, then reread and delete half of it because I shift my focus from the poster to me {much like I am doing now…}. I guess I have always done this to some extent, but it definitely has intensified. Is it a way of processing my experiences? Maybe it’s I believe that by sharing my experience I may be able to help another mom? I don’t know but I do try to keep it in check. When I do it, I try to preface it with “Well, my ass-vice..” because that is possibly what it is. Maybe this is what happened with the comment that was left.

    Oh, MP will TOTALLY join your gang. She has this intense stare down she gives to strangers since she was 6 weeks. I honestly do call it her “I WILL cut you if you even THINK about messing with me.” look. I laugh now because I think it is cute, but probably won’t when she directs at me in 12 years. However, it will serve her well in life.

  21. Jinxy Says:

    All I have to say is you are a fabulous mom and your babies are lucky to have you.

    I’m really tired and late to the party so I don’t have anything else of value to add right now.

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