What I do about unsupportive comments about my parenting

This post is part of the Ask Me Anything series I’m running on my blog. To submit your own question, use the form below. Here’s the original post that talks about what I’m looking for.

I have two more questions in the works after this post. When I run out, I’ll be done with these. So if you have any burning questions or thoughts about me, let me know below and I can answer! OK? OK, on to the question.

What I do about unsupportive comments about my parenting

Do you ever get unsupportive comments about some of your parenting choices and how do you handle it? (I get lots of negative comments about the fast I’m “STILL” breastfeeding and bedsharing with my almost two year old.)

Oh, this is a good question. I may not be the best person to answer this for a few reasons which I’ll explain, but I have to assume that the person who asked this really wanted to know my thoughts, otherwise, she would have done a Google search since this kind of stuff is rampant on the internet.

Here’s why I may not be the best person to answer this. First, Since Olivia was born, I’ve been learning to take the crotchety old man approach to my parenting in that I’m learning not to give a fuck what people think. And second, I haven’t, you know, gotten a whole lot of unsupportive comments. Let me explain.

I nursed Olivia until she was three years and three months. Something I’m incredibly proud of. I fully support and am on board with people choosing/having to feed their babies formula. Fully on board. But I love nursing. I love talking about it, learning about it, and educating others on it that ask. And it was so important to me to be able to nurse as long as we could. I ended up having to stop due to our second FET last year, and weaning her was pretty easy, and I’m glad it was a gradual slowing down, but both of us would have gone longer.

Throughout that entire time, I didn’t receive one negative comment. Granted, I hadn’t nursed her in public for a good year and a half, so maybe I would have gotten comments from that. But no one, out of my friends and family ever said one comment about the fact that Olivia was nursing. For that, I was so appreciative.

Olivia slept in our bed on and off for her first two and a half years, but again, no one ever commented on that. Maybe I have amazing non-judgemental friends and family?

The only thing I received any sort of side-eye for was when we did baby-led weaning with Olivia. I know my mom thought we were crazy because she came from the traditional purees realm and giving a seven-month-old steak and strawberries and chili just about did her in. (I’m sorry Mom but it’s true.) For that, it involved a lot of education and deep breaths. I know my mom was just worried about choking, so we had a lot of conversations around that, and sometimes I had to leave it as we can agree to disagree. Not that she disagreed with me, but I think the idea was so foreign to her.

Which really, isn’t that the cause of a lot of mom judgment? I mean, moms who judge others for bed-sharing usually are the ones who’ve kept their babies in cribs. Moms who judge harshly on other moms who use formula probably can’t even imagine putting themselves in their shoes of low supply, feelings of inadequacy, and struggling mental health while trying to breastfeed.

So back to my old man approach. While I don’t get a lot of unsupportive comments, I still get little things and for those, I use Old Man Approach. I don’t care what people think. I don’t do lavish kids’ birthday parties. I don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. I don’t head to Pinterest for curated Valentine’s or teachers’ gifts. When kids come to play with Olivia, they play without me structuring their time with T-shirt decorating. I don’t knock anyone who does these things. Honest. You do you, girl. But I’ve learned to stop feeling guilty that I should be doing these things. Or even feeling guilty that I don’t feel guilty.

I get not everyone has the luxury of this. I get there are people out there who are horrible to other moms and I see it many times in older women when it comes to public shaming. I know, because I talked to a lot of women about being shamed in public for nursing. I know moms are shamed by their own families and friends.

So how would I handle it if something came up? A mean comment from a family member, or a snotty comment about covering up in public? There are a few things I’ve run through my head if this ever happened. Which is really fucking sad I even do because I guarantee Chris has never and will never need to think of a comeback for someone doing his dad things.

I have a comeback ready

I’ve nursed a lot in public. I’ve flashed all sorts of body parts, unfortunately, to mostly old men. My babies love to fling off me and I suck at using covers. And while I have never had someone actually say anything to me, I’m always prepared for it. Which I know isn’t good, and after I have my emergency comment ready, I actually sit back and assume that everyone is going to mind their own business, and/or be kind. I’ve come up with all sorts of things such as “Actually, it’s legal for me to nurse anywhere kthxbai!” or “I’m sorry, is this bothering you? Perhaps you can go eat your three-cheese ziti in the bathroom stall?” You know, things like that. I’ve found it puts you back in control of the situation.

I realize people probably mean well

Or they’re just assholes. Either way, their issues are not my issues. Their discomfort is not something I need to accommodate in my life. So sometimes it’s a gentle explanation of why it works for our family, or providing some education around said hot-button issue.

I don’t take no crap from nobody

Control. It’s all about being in control. Don’t let people see it bothers you. Especially when it comes to strangers and toxic mothers-in-law. (By the way, my MIL isn’t toxic. Just wanted to put that out there. She’s blessedly a “you do you” kind of person.) You’re the parent, not them. But it’s also OK to let that person know their judgment hurts you. This is reserved for friends and family you actually care about. The underlying point is that you are the parent. And you need to own that and know when to NGAS because there’s always going to be someone judging you for something you’re doing. I’m sure there are people in my life who think I’m totally fucking something up, but hey! I don’t take no crap from nobody.


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The post What I do about unsupportive comments about my parenting appeared first on Risa Kerslake Writes.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.