Why I used to hide the formula box

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions with Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.


*Heavy sigh*  Interactions between parents can be tricky.  I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve sat in a conversation with my spine tingling with frustration and the urge to jump up and contradict the other mother (typically).  It would seem that in the world of parenting, it’s always one against another.  It’s the moms who have a c-section vs. the natural birthers.  It’s the natural birthers vs. the home birthers.  It’s breast feeding vs. formula feeding.  It’s co-sleeping vs. cribs.  It’s Cry-it-out vs. many, many sleepless nights.  The comparisons extend to schooling, feeding, television time, even inane topics like how much time outdoors your child should spend!

I remember being told that these differences existed and that I’d soon experience them when I was pregnant with my son.  For some silly reason, I thought it wouldn’t be an issue.  Even if I don’t agree with you, I very rarely will broach the topic unless you ask for my opinion.  I don’t really like to argue or debate, so if there’s a difference, I respect it while we are in your home, but I demand the same respect in my own.  I don’t criticize you, so don’t do it to me… I won’t put up with it.  However, 2 and a half years ago, I didn’t feel this way.  Every time someone felt differently for me, I took it personally.

Right now, there is a lovely article directed to mothers who have had c-sections circulating the internet.  It’s popped up in my facebook feed 6 times today.  Some of the comments I’ve read from those I know have been laced with hurt and some have been celebratory that regardless the method, they got to have their sweet babies safely in their arms.  Quite frankly, that’s all it’s really about.  It’s your body and your decision.  You need to make the best decision for yourself.  Just because I had a homebirth, doesn’t mean that I think you’re less of a mother because you have a different scar than I do.   The author very kindly stated that “nothing in life goes as planned”.  It’s true.

After my son’s birth, I suffered from Postpartum Depression.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be completely honest with how awful it was.  PPD is not something you can explain, and I’d never, ever wish it on someone.  During that time, I was struggling with my milk supply.  I thought I was educated on breastfeeding, but looking back on it now, regardless of my education, the perfect storm was circling around me.  Breastfeeding, I’ve been told, can be an amazing experience that some women just adore (and an experience that has been very positive with my daughter).  With my son, I sobbed through almost every feeding.  He would scream and cry.  He was colicky and miserable.  I felt like I was actually going crazy.  With each day that passed, I got more and more depressed and after several weeks of looking into his crib and seeing him as though he were lying in a coffin, I finally sought help.  With that help came medications that couldn’t be taken while breastfeeding.

Life didn’t go as planned.  I came home from the hospital feeling as though every other mother was looking at me and judging me.  Those who were not yet mothers made comments that made me feel as though I were weak.  Older mothers didn’t understand why I couldn’t just “deal” with his colic and move on.  And mothers who were my peers who had never struggled with breastfeeding didn’t get it.  I was so ashamed of having to bottle feed my son that I wouldn’t do it in public.  I actually hid the box of formula so people wouldn’t see it if they visited.  I have only one photo of myself giving him a bottle… I’m crying in it.  During that time, I had friends who were still breastfeeding their babies who were unable to grasp the difference in our lives.  One friend did not speak to me for 3 weeks and quite honestly, our relationship has never fully recovered.  Other friends who had stopped breastfeeding earlier than I did welcomed me with open arms into the circle of moms with bottles.  And there was one friend who stood by me, no matter how many bottles I had to feed in front of her.

That experience had changed how I feel about interactions with parents.  I don’t care how different we are, I will not criticize you.  I may feel differently, and you may realize that we have differences, but I won’t tell you that you are wrong.  Why?  Because for 2 years I felt the pain of someone not handling a difference kindly.  I have friends who have had c-sections or bottle feed or (gasp!) use disposable diapers.  We a

ll get along.  We don’t bicker.  We don’t always agree, but that isn’t what is really important.  I never want anyone to suffer at the hand of my insensitivity.  I could never tell you what to do because I don’t live your life.  You do.  I want to respect you, so I will support you and love on you, no matter how different we are.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — AtNatural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it’s from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmediaoffers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother’s groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the “Mommy-space” online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles… — Jenny at I’m a Full-Time Mummyshares her two cents’ worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public Relations — Momma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting – Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she’s learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others’ parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metality — MudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can’t — We’ve all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you’re stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think “Gosh, I wish I said…” This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought “Gosh, I wish I said…”
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don’t Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she’d want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying “I’m Right and You’re Wrong” Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won’t care — Cassie of There’s a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don’t know what to do when you’re confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and Choices — Dulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky – Parenting Peacefully with Social Media — Hannabert’s Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.

10 Replies to “Why I used to hide the formula box”

  1. I finally have you in my reader.. yay! What perfect timing, too. I love this post. Just about brought me to tears! It’s so easy to judge what others do when you’re not in their shoes. Thank you for sharing your story, maybe it will open some eyes. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad! I was a little concerned that I might offend people with my standpoint, but that’s the beauty of a blog carnival and comments! I do hope that it was beneficial to those reading it… I could have used something like this prior to having children, you know, when I knew everything 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. When I was a brand new mom I couldn’t understand why moms would choose to formula feed. But then through many conversations with bottle-feeding moms I realized that EVERY one of them had their own unique story of struggle, and I was ashamed to have ever judged. I wish that every resource that promotes breastfeeding also promoted sensitivity and compassion for those who don’t get to.

  3. Why I used to hide the formula box I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re incredible! Thanks! your article about Why I used to hide the formula box Best Regards Veronica

    1. The key is not to follow etrnyvhieg you read to the letter. You read it, consider if it fits you and your lifestyle and parenting style and apply it as appropriate or disregard it. I found it best to find one or two books that fit me and my family and ditch the rest. The pacifier thing is what I disagree with. I think some kids need that comfort and sucking long after the age that a lot of books say is appropriate. And the thinking that you spoil a baby if you hold them too much. Cripes! I wish my 8 year old would let me hold her now! When kids grow up, no one ever says, wow, I wish I hadn’t held them that much’.

  4. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *