A Dash of Mommy Guilt with Your Morning Coffee?

A Dash of Mommy Guilt with Your Morning Coffee?

This is an example of why I abhor parenting “experts”: In yesterday’s paper a column called Ask Nanny Yvonne… an expectant mother writes in asking for general advice on preventing issues from arising with her soon to be born child.

In Nanny Yvonne’s response among other things she says: “Again apart from the basics, if you make sure your child feels secure and loved, a lot of problems such as sleep issues will disappear.”

While I agree with the basic sentiment that the most important thing is to make a child feel secure and loved, I really hate the implication that if your child has sleep issues, they must not feel secure and loved. Perhaps Nanny Yvonne didn’t intend to say that; but still lurks in her words and I know I’m not the only mom with a poorly sleeping baby whose heart will sink on reading those words.

I know better. I know that there are many, many reasons a child might not sleep at night. One of them is indeed a feeling of insecurity; but it is by no means the only one. I know that my children feel secure and loved. And yet I do have my insecurities and they don’t need encouragement by thoughtless experts.

Worse, I can imagine the mother who reading that column does not know better. I can imagine her guilt consuming her: My baby won’t sleep therefore I must be a bad mother. She doesn’t feel loved. I have failed her.

I know I am not perfect. But I do my best. And I know that my children’s sleep issues will not disappear if I just work a little harder to make them feel loved and secure. Yet at three am when I am exhausted and frustrated… the doubts whisper in my ear. Please, please, Nanny Yvonne, don’t feed them.

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  • Two things I remember from Art History about the Pieta that you might find interesting…

    It is generally accepted the Michelangelo chose to make her look like a young woman because he believed that her sinless soul was exemplified even in her appearance. He is quoted as saying, “Do you not know that chaste women stay fresh much more than those who are not chaste? How much more in the case of the Virgin, who had never experienced the least lascivious desire that might change her body?”

    Also, if you follow the line of Mary’s eyes, she’s not looking at her Son. She is looking at the person standing in front and obviously far below her. (People sometimes forget to take into consideration where the statue was supposed to be placed when considering sight lines and proportions.) Her arm is held out to the viewer as if to say, “Look at what He did for you.”  So, this piece of art, is not really supposed to be a picture of heartbreaking reflection between grieving mother and sacrificed son. There is more to it’s meaning for us, the audience.

    (We won’t talk about the fact that proportionally speaking she would be about 12 feet tall if she stood up.)

  • I had the wonderful opportunity to view the Pieta during a trip to St. Peter’s last October. Our tour guide (a seminarian from the North American College) said many people comment on the Blessed Mother’s hold on Christ, but added that it was of course intentional, as it is meant to show Mary offering Jesus to the world.

  • Melanie, absolutely beautiful.  I will be sharing this with the women in my Bible study tomorrow.

  • There is a travelling Michaelangelo Pieta making it’s way around the US.  It is currently in the Cathedral of Saint Paul, in Saint Paul, MN