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PODCAST #22:

The Mom
Who Did Everything
Wrong

PODCAST #22:

The Mom
Who Did Everything
Wrong

before_first_foodWhen Heather Meyers was pregnant, she figured she’d learn how to handle issues around feeding, sleep, and potty training in books and on blogs. But as soon as Rosemary was born, she made it clear: there was no answer to her needs in any stinkin’ book. So Heather had to figure it out as she went along. She started feeding Rosemary real food at three months (at left, eagerly awaiting for her first meal). And she carried her or let her walk everywhere because Rosemary refused to be in a stroller.

carrierDol

Heather was desperate to talk about her parenting “hacks” with other moms. But doing things differently made it nearly impossible to make friends.

Parenting Hacks Hangout: Join Us Next Week

We are teaming up with The Daily Beast and parent-infant social worker Alyson McCormick for our first ever Google Hangout. And we need your help! Submit your hacks (and pleas for help) through Twitter and Facebook with #ParentHacks. More on the live event here.

Top photo: Suzanne Tadros

15 thoughts on “PODCAST #22: The Mom Who Did Everything Wrong

  1. As a mom who is thankfully done with the ‘baby stuff’, I can agree… Do it however you need to do it to get it done (as long as it’s safe!) I co-slept, fed my babies cereal at 3 months, let them use their pacifiers until age 3, etc. They are fully functional teenagers and preteens now. No harm done!

  2. Thank you for this — my little boy has some similar characteristics, and I’ve often felt so guilty for the “hacks” I’ve had to use. He’s doing great, though it’s hard at times to quiet the shaming voices of all the so-called experts swimming around in my head! What a gratifying story to hear — hooray for Rosemary and Heather, doing it their own way.

  3. This lady is really obnoxious. She sounds like a sanctimommy in disguise to me. I mean acting like you did something wrong in letting your child potty train when she was ready? Please. She’s just showing off. I mean own in. Cool, your kid got out of diapers early. Hooray. It’s hard to make friends in general for a lot of people. I don’t think it’s because you gave your kid cereal in a bottle or didn’t put her in a stroller or had her sleep in a crib. None of that is weird or even rare.

    1. Emily, just wanted to step in here and say that while I completely welcome critiques of the podcast, I do not welcome personal attacks on guests of the podcast. My biggest mission with this project is to create a rare space where parents feel safe being honest about their parenting struggles. LST listeners seem to relish that honesty, and I can only get people to be that forthcoming if they feel that they won’t be publicly attacked. I encourage you to disagree with another mom’s perspective, and to comment on that disagreement with respect. Perhaps telling us how you approached things differently, or what your own experience has been. I can tell you that a lot of thought goes into choosing guests on this show, and every one of them has had a genuine struggle; none are showing off. If they were, their interview would not make it onto our podcast. Thanks for your understanding. I hope that in future comments, you will take this into consideration.

  4. 51 year old man here. No kids. Not gay. Never married. Typical demographic, right?

    I LOVE your podcast, Hillary. I’ve been working my way through your past episodes, and just really appreciating and respecting your work in a big way. I feel proud of you, somehow, which is a little weird.….but it’s true, so there it is.

    You’ve created a wonderful safe space for moms and the rest of us — good job on that with a recent letter writer here — and I just want to offer you a very heartfelt respect, and thanks.

  5. Loved this. Before my first child was born I thought I knew just what kind of parent I was going to be, but when my little one came she threw all of that out the window– showing me what kind of parent she needed me to be regardless of the advice from friends and experts. And now three years later my second baby girl is showing me all over again what she needs, that what worked for her sister is not necessarily going to work for her, and what makes her happy today might not in a few weeks. You have just got to roll with it, and do what works for you, for your kids, and for your family. So wait to go Heather, do what works regardless… not something that I think we hear enough.

  6. I’m a big fan of this series, but not necessarily of this episode. As parents we all do what we need to, and as I think Alex Blumberg was saying a couple episodes ago, as parents, all of our data is anecdotal — an n = 1 or 2 or occasionally 5 or 6. And like it or not, we all judge. I appreciate that you are trying to create a judgement-free space, and I think there is value in that. However, I think when you characterize parenting strategies that are sub-optimal (like formula feeding, early introduction of solids, and adding baby cereal to night-time bottles) as “parenting hacks” it sounds like you approve of them, or even think that they are superior to the “hard” way of doing things (isn’t that what a hack is — a clever way of getting around something burdensome). I admire Heather’s candor and I’m sure that Rosemary is going to turn out just fine, or better than fine, but at a macro-level, shouldn’t we encourage and support the BEST parenting practices and not characterize those of us who struggled to establish exclusive breastfeeding as fools who couldn’t figure out the “parenting hacks”?

    1. Andrew, I get where you’re coming from. I agree that in a vacuum, exclusive breastfeeding is best. And, I can say from experience, it is HARD. But what I’m trying to convey with this project is that there are uncontrollable aspects to every family’s parenting experience that sometimes make our ideals impossible. And we have to find workarounds to them. A lot of times when we are backed into a corner and need to find a workaround, it is incredibly hard. Because what we wanted—what we long for—is the ideal. And we feel guilty that we couldn’t, for whatever reason, attain that. Sometimes “whatever works” is BEST. And it is not a cop-out. Or easier than the optimal way. It’s just the way it has to be. If you didn’t need a “hack,” you are not a fool; you are lucky.

      1. Hillary, I don’t think that we disagree. Maybe I muddied the water a little by using breastfeeding as my example. I agree there are circumstances in every parent’s life that make our ideals impossible and then we do whatever works. And it’s all emotionally charged because we want to provide the absolute best for our children and our families. So, we all rationalize our choices and judge other’s choices — now we feel better. But can we improve if we never gain the perspective and the honesty to say that we have rationalized? We’re all doing the best we can — at the moment. But I would like to be able to look back at my parenting, and other aspects of my life and see those times I did the best I could in those circumstances, but in those other times, I could have done better. In other aspects of my life I find it much easier to say that that other people have made different, and better choices. Say that three of my colleagues achieved more than I did at work — maybe one of them was lucky, maybe one had different priorities than I did, but one of them definitely worked harder. Why can’t I bring myself to say that about parenting? Some people want to achieve their ideals more, and some people work harder to get there. That’s okay isn’t it? I’m all for accepting our realities and our individual limitations, and for supporting each other despite, or even because of, those limitations. I think what I really objected to this week was the term “hack” — that term, maybe trendy, really connotes that someone found a better, or at least a clever, solution. Well, maybe we should accept that instead of finding a hack, we instead just ran up against our limitations and made do, maybe that would set us up to say that next time we could do even better.

        1. Interesting point. I think that, for sure, there are aspects to parenting that we’ll all look back on and know that we could’ve done better. But there are others where we did the best we could given the circumstances. There are so many ways to beat yourself up as a parent, so why not pat yourself on the back for making a few things work in spite of roadblocks? I get what you’re saying about “hack.” It’s hard to find a word to sum up what I’m trying to convey here, I guess. But I definitely don’t mean better. I mean finding a creative solution to what you were dealt.

          1. Oh, but what is BEST? BEST changes with every new study and every new book that is published. When I was born, it was ‘best’ to put your child down on their belly and the ‘best’ first solid food was rice cereal. Now, of course, ‘back is best’ and there is argument against starting babies off on processed grains. The pace of keeping up with what is best can be exhausting, and in some cases may not apply to every child. I am certainly not advocating for parents to do things that have been shown to be dangerous, but isn’t whats ‘best’ whatever ensures your child is thriving? There is such a wealth of information out there and in this day of social media there is also a wealth of judgement on other people’s parenting choices. I so valued, as it seems clear Heather did, the people who said to me ‘listen, you do what keeps your baby growing and sleeping and eating the way they need to, and don’t worry about the books’. It certainly seems Heather was checking her slightly different choices with her child’s doctor when appropriate. It is much easier to look at how much you have achieved at work and compare to other people. There are so many factors that lead to the final outcome of who we are and who are children are, many of which may be out of the parents control. I think the point here is to provide parents with that support that, just because you are not doing everything ‘by the book’ does not make you a ‘bad parent’. Thank you, for that!

  7. As the one who told Heather about the Voldemort bottle, can I just say “I told ya so” hahaha! (as did the one who told me about it)
    Seriously, if there is anything that having six children has taught me it is that every one of them are completely different, no two are the same so while x, y or z worked for kid one, it may or may not work for kid 2–6. No child is the same whether we are talking about feeding, diapering or even learning, every child is different and we as parents will no doubt have to change up our ‘ideal’ way of doing things to accommodate the child we are dealing with at that moment. Life is not clean cut and neither is parenting! Relax people, enjoy raising your own children and quit worrying about who is doing what however which way.…your child is your business, not anybody else’s!!!!!

  8. We do the SAME thing with dessert (or some special treat first). We lovingly refer to it as “priming the pump.“
    It works like a charm!

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