This is a story about Ashley and her mom, Sally.
This is also a story about a Millennial and a Baby Boomer.
This is also a story about love.
So here goes: Sally is a retired elementary school teacher who frequently helps out her daughter, Ashley, by babysitting for Ashley’s baby. (I’ll leave off the baby’s name to protect her from future embarrassment.) Sally and Ashley have always had a pretty darn wonderful relationship — not exactly girlfriends, but close. Yet there’s never been a question about who’s the parent; that is, until Ashley had a baby. And that’s when things started to change.
Sally was full of wisdom and experience on all child-rearing topics from breastfeeding to discipline. And Ashley was full of enthusiasm and peer group support on the very same topics. Do you think they mostly agreed? Nope! They weren’t on the same page about much of anything. Sally thought the kids should be on a strict schedule; Ashley wanted to teach them to express their needs. Sally thought pacifiers would ruin the shape of their mouths; Ashley found research online to prove her mother wrong. Talking about spanking, potty-training and, horror of horrors — the family bed — was strictly forbidden for the sake of family harmony. So mother and daughter often took to sulking, and/or avoiding each other.
Before you decide that this has simply become a classic impasse with no resolution possible, along comes a modern day Mary Poppins (who, coincidentally, looks and talks like a Mediator) to open her bag of tricks and save the day.
What is happening here? What possible words of wisdom can Mary Poppins the Mediator share with Sally and Ashley? Not a lot, as it turns out. Quality over quantity, is what I’m offering. As for Sally and Ashley, and all of your peers, here you go. You can thank me later.
- Sally, please stop judging. Try to remember what you felt like when you were a young mother, and your own mom (or worse, your mother-in-law) attempted to tell you what to do. Did you listen? Did you obey?
- Ashley, please respect your mother’s experience. Try to listen without commenting. Then make your own decisions. It’s your child, after all, and you will be reaping the rewards, or suffering the consequences of your choices.
- Most importantly, remember both of you love that baby. Ashley, keep in mind that Sally’s intentions are good, even if her ideas seem antiquated. And Sally, remember that Ashley is doing her very best to be a good mother.
Times change, and so do parenting styles. What doesn’t change is our feelings for the youngest members of the family.
I did say at the beginning that this was a story about love.