Mother Knows Best

by Nina Badzin
Originally Published: 

Dear Mom,

I owe you an apology. A big one. It turns out the bits of advice you dispensed when Sam was a baby weren’t the out-of-fashion mutterings from The School of Lazy/Evil Motherhood like I might have implied at the time. (Yeah, sorry about that.)

What were you right about? Um, pretty much everything. Starting with . . .

Formula is Freedom Sent From the Heavens

Having nursed Sam then Rebecca for close to a year, then Elissa for “only” six months, I can now admit that you weren’t out of your mind for pronouncing this priceless truism: there is nothing wrong with formula. It was good enough for you and your sisters, you said when I complained about the soreness involved in breastfeeding, and the pumping, and the intricate system of storing milk. I realize now that I was a complete moron when I equated formula to liquid neglect. Turns out the stuff might be the best scientific advancement ever. Bryan left out the bottle overnight? Who cares!? There’s more where that came from. Plenty more! Canisters and canisters on shelves all over town. I think formula is so freaking fantastic that I wish I could still depend on it for my kids’ nutrition. Because while nursing can be time-consuming and stressful, providing balanced meals all day long is SO much worse. Bringing me to your next area of expertise . . .

Making Your Own Baby Food is a Colossal Waste of Time

Remember when Sam was about nine months old and I included you in one of my bi-weekly pureeing sessions? Remember how you couldn’t understand why I’d mess up my kitchen and make the house smell like broccoli for days when I could easily fill a grocery cart with handy jars? But they don’t sell jars of organic kale with lentils, I said, shocked that you’d want your grandson’s virgin palate destroyed by the treacherous empire of convenience foods. My child, I pronounced from my throne of self-righteousness, would not be the kind of kid who subsisted on macaroni and cheese after experiencing food in a pure, organic regimen. Ha! Well, guess what? Not only is he addicted to mac and cheese, but he’ll only eat a certain kind. You know the one—the same crap in a blue box that you let me eat as a kid. And little Elissa who was never offered homemade baby food a day in her life? She’s your only grandchild who loves vegetables. You were right: hours and hours of my life I’ll never get back.

You Seriously Need to Relax

This particular piece of advice covers the rest. After six years of your constant eye rolling, I’ve decided to give the overachieving motherhood act a rest. Because let’s face it, most of the tidbits you tell me about parenting put you squarely on my side and Bryan’s. You want us to have interests beyond the children, interest in each other, and—I finally get it—you don’t want your grandchildren raised in the upside-down funhouse-mirror version of childhood where the kids’ wants and needs are elevated to the point of insanity. Amen, Sister! We’re on the same side! Oh, and feel free to stop washing the kids’ sheets in Dreft whenever we visit.

With love and gratitude and deepest apologies,


This article was originally published on