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The Grandchildless Bitch

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New mommies, I know how stubborn you can be. However, if you take this one piece of advice from me, I think you'll benefit in the future.

Grandchildless Bitch: Hello, mommies! I am the mother of the Childless Bitch. Yes, she does have parents and was not raised by a pack of wild wolves. I have two real daughters, and two not-so-real daughters and a not-so-real son -- i.e., stepchildren I inherited with my second marriage. One of my not-so-real daughters recently gave birth to a not-so-real grandson, whom I adore, but I still long for a bloodline of my own.

angry grandma with mom and child in background

That being said, I think I have earned the right as a mother, stepmother, and stepgrandmother to vent a little. So here's what fumes me about today's new mothers: In short, they think they know it all. In their eyes, our generation just got off the boat (and by boat, I mean the Mayflower) and we did things akin to Wilma Flintstone. Our advice is as outdated as the cassette tape. Have they forgotten who raised them and that they turned out (for the most part) totally OK -- with all their limbs intact?

When these new mommies were babies, we didn't have shopping cart covers, placemat covers, and covers for our covers. Our babies' heads fit through the bars of the crib, and yes, we stuck them in a 4 x 4 cage while we got something done in the house. So what? I don't see any 30-year-olds running around with rectangle-shaped heads or an abnormal fear of small square spaces -- after all, most of them work in a cube now anyway. When they were little, there was no five-second rule. In fact, there was no rule at all as long as you got to it before the dog. I don't recall taking my kids to the doctor for fear that they were exposed to hoof and mouth disease from running around the playground. We didn't isolate our babies in our homes until the law said we had to enter them in school for fear that they would catch some man-eating virus. In fact, our kids got most of their protein from eating worms and dirt. How much more organic can you get?

In closing, new mommies, I know how stubborn you can be. However, if you take this one piece of advice from me, I think you'll benefit in the future. When your kids are a little older and get to college, encourage them to major in psychology. With all the crazy rules you are establishing, and all the fear you are putting into their developing minds, their generation is going to be craving therapy like they crave Purell. It's going to be a booming business.


next: Disney: Straight and Narrow?
27 comments so far | Post a comment now
David July 15, 2009, 11:06 PM

As the old joke goes, when they passed out brains, I must’ve thought they said “trains,” and I asked for a slow one … because I have no idea what a “shopping cart cover” is. It cannot be anything good, however. I certainly have long noticed for at least 30 years a growing tendency among many Americans to refuse to accept the onset of routine dislocations and unwelcome situations that, in previous decades, would have warranted little or no attention. High levels of concern about that which doesn’t deserve extended preoccupation have further increased to the point of absurdity. Kate, you made a good point when you remind us that our scrupulousness has, after all, produced longer lives, safer living conditions. But you also kidded on the square that perhaps those who would dismiss your concerns want to return to the 18th century. Neither the Grandchildless B nor anyone else posting a comment here has suggested, though, that we have lives that are “nasty, brutish and short” the way they were in, say, America before the Revolutionary War. The suggestion is merely to dial back the paranoia, the hyper vigilance. Susan’s note that putting sunscreen on kids and using car seats are good ideas even though they weren’t done 40 years ago is on target. But so is Monica’s observation that young immune systems must learn how to stand up to minor invasion by normal cooties and beasties. (Indeed, to confound that process is identical to opening the doors to massively destructive large-scale forest fires when wilderness land is not allowed every few years to go through the naturally-occurring, small-scale burns that keep the wild lands strong and durable.) Ultimately, if we want to develop citizens who are resilient and resourceful — and surely we would all agree that those are crucial qualities to cultivate in this era of unrest and turmoil of so many types existing all at once, and on the grandest scales ever — we must begin developing them at home.

David July 15, 2009, 11:23 PM

As the old joke goes, when they passed out brains, I must’ve thought they said “trains,” and I asked for a slow one … because I have no idea what a “shopping cart cover” is. It cannot be anything good, however. I certainly have long noticed for at least 30 years a growing tendency among many Americans to refuse to accept the onset of routine dislocations and unwelcome situations that, in previous decades, would have warranted little or no attention. High levels of concern about that which doesn’t deserve extended preoccupation have further increased to the point of absurdity. Kate, you made a good point when you remind us that our scrupulousness has, after all, produced longer lives, safer living conditions. But you also kidded on the square that perhaps those who would dismiss your concerns want to return to the 18th century. Neither the Grandchildless B nor anyone else posting a comment here has suggested, though, that we have lives that are “nasty, brutish and short” the way they were in, say, America before the Revolutionary War. The suggestion is merely to dial back the paranoia, the hyper vigilance. Susan’s note that putting sunscreen on kids and using car seats are good ideas even though they weren’t done 40 years ago is on target. But so is Monica’s observation that young immune systems must learn how to stand up to minor invasion by normal cooties and beasties. (Indeed, to confound that process is identical to opening the doors to massively destructive large-scale forest fires when wilderness land is not allowed every few years to go through the naturally-occurring, small-scale burns that keep the wild lands strong and durable.) Ultimately, if we want to develop citizens who are resilient and resourceful — and surely we would all agree that those are crucial qualities to cultivate in this era of unrest and turmoil of so many types existing all at once, and on the grandest scales ever — we must begin developing them at home.

J July 16, 2009, 3:51 PM

You are just as awesome as your daughter!! I wish more moms had your logic and sensibility!!

Anonymous July 23, 2009, 3:06 PM

wow, might be some truth in some of that, but boy, HOW you say it. look, i would love to have a motherly type figure around me to help with pointers, understand what I do and feel as a mother, BUT unfortunately, it seems there are way too many grandmother types who feel the need to offer advice, totally minus any support, encouragement, understanding. Kind of like a “I earned the right” thing, which totally rubs me the wrong way. You remember what it was like to be a new mom, right? any empathy or do you just want to be “right” more than have relationships???? Also, speaking about people in the terms like”not so real” sons, daughters, etc. could really damage some relationships, hence explain why they may not want to hear a thing you say to them.

Jessie October 4, 2009, 2:50 AM

Yezah!!! That advice is right through and through. It is awesome to hear some truth. Please write more :D

mary poppins April 17, 2010, 9:00 PM

I think you are mostly talking about white mothers the rest of us border busters are more relaxed. But I think that alot of older women just can’t give up any power to boss and let each generation learn how to be a parent. Maybe you forgot that your mother probably thought you were doing things wrong too. With age well all forget the past.

helloh January 20, 2011, 5:09 AM

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