Some days my skin is so thick you can take a cheese grater to it and not cause a wound. Some days, my skin is so thin you can slice it to the bone with a single word.
Passive aggressive criticism is shitty. You can “bless my heart” all you like, but at the end of the day, you’re still a flower covered asshole. I can usually take it, even when I rarely ever dish it, but say something to one of my children and I will destroy you.
…or not. I’m not really that type of person. But I will want to. Oh my God, I will want to. I will think of a gazillion different things to say to you to put you in your place. I will kick you in your gut and smash your toes with the heel of my boot (in my mind.) But I don’t. Instead, I take the high road. I try to teach my children that we are better than that. Some people are miserable and misery loves company. There are folks in this world that live a negative life and I encourage a positive life. We should not judge, we should encourage. Compliment, not criticize.
“Mommy-Shaming” is not a new thing. Working Moms vs Stay At Home Moms, Breast-feeding vs Bottle-feeding, Co-Sleeping vs Crib-Sleeping, Vaxxed vs Un-Vaxxed, Home-Schooling vs Public-Schooling vs Private-Schooling, and on and on and on and on. But the one I am addressing today is:
Age Shaming – specifically, Child Birth Age Shaming.
I had my oldest daughter at 19 and had my youngest daughter at the ripe old age of 40. Lucky me, I got to experience age-shaming on both ends. I mean statistically speaking, I was a “teen mom,” and even now, that term incites negativity from within me (even though it shouldn’t.) My obstetrician with my youngest loved to refer to me as having “advanced maternal age,” and that term still makes me cringe. (Yes, I know that’s the correct medical term, doesn’t make it more appealing though.)
Age shaming usually comes with advertisements for wrinkle creams, but when it comes to having children, apparently there is so small window of opportunity in which it is acceptable to have children. Have them too young and you are judged, have them too old and you are judged. When I discovered I was pregnant just a few weeks shy of my 40th birthday, the age shaming came directly from friends. To this day I have a vivid recollection of one of my closest friends saying, “But you’re a grandmother. You’re done. You’re kids are grown. You shouldn’t be having kids again.” Ahhhh, the magic word “shouldn’t.” I shouldn’t says who exactly? You? Society? Science? Not my doctor. He asked me when I was going to have another one after Olive was born. (Still on the fence about that one.)
While we are at it… let’s talk age differences in your children. If you haven’t already done the math, my oldest and youngest daughters almost 22 years apart. I know it’s not common, but it’s also not anyone’s business but mine (and my husband’s.) So, yesterday afternoon, my very pregnant (36 weeks along to be exact) daughter was at the grocery store with my almost 10 month old daughter. While in line at the check-out, the woman in front of her turned around and my eyed my daughter up and down – noticing the baby (my baby), noticing her belly, and back up to noticing the baby again. It made my daughter uncomfortable. She went so far as to ask my daughter how old Olive was and when her other baby was due. Holy crap, you guys! Who does this? This lady did. What the FRENCH TOAST business is it of hers? If Olive was my daughter’s daughter, then her children would be 11 months apart. (My mother calls that “Catholic Twins.”) If I had been standing there I would’ve jerked the hair tie off my wrist, thrown my hair up in bun, handed my daughter my earrings and stepped up to this ignorant woman.
…or not. Because we all know I’m not really that type of that person. But I would have wanted to. Instead, I would’ve taken the high road, just as my daughter did.
And that makes me so very proud.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.