Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Judgy Gertrude

So, I had my mothering skills questioned for the first time. Over socks.

Yes, you read that right. Socks.

On Friday,* we went to a party. Life was great. I was showing Miles off to anyone who would give me the time of day.** Finally, I went to say hello to "Gertrude"***, a woman who is . . . of my parents' generation. Apparently, having raised her kids, she feels that she has a right to be condescending to new parents.

It started innocently enough, with a question,

Gertrude: "Where are his socks?"

Me: "Oh, he won't wear them. I put them on, and 2 minutes later, he's kicked them off and they're lost for good. I've just given up buying new ones."

Gertrude: "Well, his toes are frozen!" (No, they weren't. They were nice and toasty. I know because I check them constantly to make sure).

Me: trying hard to let it roll off my back "Nah, he's fine. Besides, when he gets cold, he tucks his little toes under my arm. I've got a blanket in his diaper bag, just in case."

Gertrude: Well, it took awhile with my kids, but I finally found sock that stayed on.

Me: trying to be funny I guess I just haven't managed to find those magic socks, yet! exaggerated smile

At this point, Gertrude gets distracted by someone else, and I make my escape. I'm patting myself on the back for not over-reacting, and it's all over.

Or so I think . . .

Then, about twenty minutes later, Bethany is wandering around, carrying Miles. She comes up to me and says, "I can't believe what Gertrude just said to me!" Apparently Gertrude told her that "a good mother wouldn't let her four month old dictate what he is and isn't going to do!"

I was speechless. Which, if you know me, is a rare occurrence.

I'm just glad she didn't say it to my face. I may have twisted her head off. More likely, I would have said something all judgy about her parenting skills, and it would have sparked an epic eons-long rivalry.

Looking back now, I realize that it's laughable. Seriously? She's judging me for my kid's lack of socks? Whatever. eyeroll

Ridiculous as it was, though, it still shook me to my very core. I cannot believe how instantly the Mama Bear came out, ready to rip her apart. In that moment, I understood why people refer to protective moms as Mama Bears. My reaction was not rational, or based in intelligence. It was instantaneous, and instinctual, and ferocious. I always knew that I would protect my son from anything, but I had no idea how strong that emotion could be. I cannot imagine what would happen if he ever was in any sort of real danger.

So, there you are. All things considered, it could have been much worse. And I'm sure it will be, someday. I just hope I can learn to contain the Mama Bear. :)

*Yes, it happened Friday. I'm just now getting to a place where I can laugh about it.

**Which was everyone. Miles is a popular kid. :)

***No, her name isn't really Gertrude, and while I'm not terribly concerned about her seeing this, there are people who know her that read this blog. I don't want to cause any problems, I just need to get this out, so it will stop playing through my head.

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