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Jenna von Oy’s Blog: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mommy Scorned

09/27/2013 at 02:00 PM ET

Celebrity blogger Jenna von Oy is a new mama!

Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.

von Oy, 36, wed Brad Bratcher on Oct. 10, 2010, and resides in Nashville with her husband and five dogs.

They welcomed their first child, daughter Gray Audrey, in May 2012. She is now 16 months old.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter @JennavonOy, as well as posting on her weekly blog, The Cradle Chronicles.

In her latest blog, von Oy is feeling frustrated and writes a letter to a teen who recently judged her parenting techniques.

Jenna von Oy Blog Gray With GrayThe Cradle Chronicles

I typically try to make my posts light-hearted and comical, but this month I’m offering you a brief look into a side of my emotional spectrum I don’t often share: pure frustration.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to completely upend the sane structure of our happy-go-lucky blogging relationship; we’ve got a good thing going here. But we all get bothered, flustered, disillusioned, or disappointed from time to time (in varying degrees), and it would be dishonest of me to pretend I’m any different.

Contrary to popular belief, being an actor doesn’t deplete you of your human qualities! (In most cases, anyway … I hope.) It always makes me wary when someone tries to convince me he or she has led a life of unconditional cheer and contentment. I mean, I’m a huge fan of maintaining a positive outlook during stormy weather. But never getting mad? That’s just a categorical impossibility!

Sometimes it’s nice to hear folks admit they aren’t perpetually at peace, or that they don’t smile every second of the day — you know, since we are all mere mortals and, consequently, have our moments.

There are minor annoyances that pepper our everyday lives: one of our kids dumps Goldfish on the kitchen floor immediately after we’ve finished mopping (for the third time), the dog chews our favorite shoe to bits (wouldn’t it be great if you could retaliate by wearing his favorite bone in its place?), we accidentally douse our iPhone with hot coffee (a catch-22, since you need the coffee to function, but can’t always function while drinking it), or we forget to pack underwear on a family vacation (thank God bikini bottoms can double as panties in a pinch!).

I’ve dealt with all of those scenarios first-hand, and my response ranged from a smirk to mild irritation. $#!? happens, right?

I wouldn’t say I’m terribly quick-tempered by nature. My phases of anger are generally a slow burn, often beginning with a small sigh and a bit of teeth gritting (which I’m not terribly adept at hiding).

Obviously, there are intensified levels of agitation that can potentially follow, but I try to appropriately reign everything in and keep it in check, whenever humanly possible — this is especially true when I’m in front of my daughter.

That said, lately I’m finding there’s a deeper sense of frustration that stems from motherhood. It is my instinctual reaction to someone’s ignorance and/or blatant criticism of my parenting. Warranted or not, no mother likes to hear someone pass judgment on the thing she works hardest at.

And these days, I would be hard-pressed to find something I work harder at than taking care of, teaching, and loving my child. Which is, in my opinion, as it should be. No one ever said parenting was supposed to be easy … And sometimes it isn’t!

Generally speaking, I’m all for letting off steam in small doses. If you can express yourself in a constructive way that doesn’t hurt anyone mentally, verbally, or physically, it can help to prevent more extreme outbursts.

(And, perhaps, the sort of crazy antics that exile certain young Hollywood ingénues to the cover of tabloids. I won’t mention any names here, as I imagine you are perfectly capable of filling in the blanks all on your own.)

Jenna von Oy Blog Gray My growing girlThe Cradle Chronicles

We all have our little tricks to calming the savage beast within, and I’m sure many of us labor over that task weekly, whether at work or at home. It’s part of the reason I like to write, in fact. Sometimes paper makes a better punching bag than anything I could possibly find at a boxing gym. And it tends to be safer when you’re clumsy like me.

So, with that in mind, here’s a letter I penned recently, following an incident that made my blood boil …

Dear Opinion-offering Teenager at the local-bulk-warehouse-I’ll-refrain-from-mentioning-by-name,

I want to thank you for standing in judgment of my parenting skills today, since you clearly know so much about what it must be like to have a young child.

When I made the decision to clean my daughter’s fallen pacifier with my own mouth before handing it back to her (you know, since I didn’t have an anti-bacterial wipe handy, and don’t carry around boiling water in my back pocket), it was because I knew the nipple hadn’t actually touched the floor.

Truth be told, I’m also not much of a germaphobe these days, since I spend an inordinate amount of time changing diapers and managing wayward baby boogers. I also happen to be privy to the abundant exchange of slobber-laden toys and/or equipment at most daycares and park jungle gyms.

Despite your obvious disgust (or whether or not you agree with the practice), it should also be noted that recent studies even show it’s healthier for a child’s immune system when a parent licks a dirty pacifier before giving it back (check out this link to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you’re curious…).

I know it sounds wacky, but saliva doesn’t always have to be our enemy! More importantly, part of parenting entails the willingness to make sacrifices for your child’s well-being, and everyone has their own level of comfort on that one. If you don’t believe me, ask your own mom about it; I imagine she has something eye-opening to say!

Not to mention — and this may come as a horrible shock to you — but that shopping cart you’ve been pushing around is a veritable petri dish of bacteria. Consequently, on your next visit, you may want to refrain from picking your teeth after tasting the samples. I’m just saying. Nonetheless, thank you for reminding me that, since we are all such models of perfection, we should feel free to provide a running commentary about everyone else’s methods, lifestyle, capabilities, and decisions.

For instance, I’m glad to see your own mother did such a sound job of teaching you to be non-judgmental and courteous with your evaluations. I know, I know, freedom of speech and all… but can’t we all be a little nicer with it?

I rest my case.

Actually, on second thought, I don’t.

Now, I know I probably sound a bit more acerbic than I need to be here, but that’s because I enjoy a little sarcasm from time to time. And, you know, because you royally pissed me off. But, believe it or not, I actually owe you some gratitude. I don’t say that to be sardonic; I honestly mean it. You’ve encouraged me to smile at fellow parents who look tired and frazzled in the Target checkout line, or who are clearly trying their best to quiet a screaming baby on an airplane flight.

I am reminded why it’s important not to judge the father of the little boy who is wearing two different shoes to school, the pregnant woman sipping a cup of coffee that may or may not be decaffeinated, or the mom who forgot to bake brownies for the class fundraiser. Parenting is not an exact science. In fact, it isn’t a science at all. It’s one part determination, two parts chaos, a heaping ton of patience and zen, and an immeasurable amount of love.

I don’t expect you to understand that notion at your young age, but someday you will. Someday, you’ll hear the disdainful tone of a stranger as you wipe your son’s snotty nose with your shirtsleeve because nothing else is readily available. Or the callous stares you receive when your child yells out, “Daddy, don’t tell me to shut up!” in the middle of a peaceful church service. Someday you’ll realize we’re all just doing our best to help our kids grow up to be healthy, happy, smart, independent, considerate, kind, and loved. And we are all learning as we go, so we aren’t infallible.

It seems you still have quite a bit of learning to go yourself, as do I, so I forgive you. I forgive the sanctimonious sneer, the self-righteous indignation, and the loud exclamation of condescension so everyone within earshot could hear it. I understand that your criticism was made out of a lack of experience … experience that, I imagine, karma shall eventually bestow upon you. When that happens, I hope you’ll brush the dust off of this letter, and know there’s someone out there praying for you during your learning curve, despite your prior transgressions. Because you’ve reminded me that we parents need prayers and praise — not payback, or pity, or criticism, or spite.

One day I hope your spirit will be in a place of parental understanding and mutual respect. Until then, I hope you can find it in your heart to offer kind words in lieu of your rude and nasty ones. And if you can’t, I hope you choose to say nothing at all next time.

Sincerely,

A fellow patron at the local-bulk-warehouse-I’ll-refrain-from-mentioning-by-name, who parents to the best of her abilities … whether you like them or not.

P.S. Those dark Ray-Ban sunglasses you were wearing indoors may have been a stellar fashion touch, but they may also have been skewing your perception of reality. Next time try the rose-colored ones. They present a much more forgiving view.

Jenna von Oy Blog Gray Being silly togetherThe Cradle Chronicles

So … I admit I wrote the above letter immediately following said incident, while I was really upset. It sort of served as an exercise in catharsis-through-thought-purging, I suppose, and it worked like a charm! Instead of spitting fire, tripping the kid on his way out, or spouting profanities at him until I was blue in the face, I returned home, grabbed a pen, and quietly expressed my rage in a slightly less brawl-provoking manner. (And that kid is probably none-the-wiser, since I’ll never be giving him the letter!)

In all honesty, I wasn’t going to publish the note/lecture because I worried that too many of you wouldn’t see my side on it, and would jump down my throat. Again, no mommy likes to have her parenting “techniques” criticized.

But then it dawned on me: if you did that, you’d be missing my point here, which is to refrain from judgment, right? So I decided to put it all out there, without holding back.

You may disagree with my methods, and that’s fine; I accept that we may just have to agree to disagree on that matter. If that’s the case, I respect that we have differing stances, and I hope you do too. I hope you understand the spirit of the letter regardless.

In a nutshell, it is about not sitting in judgment of one another. The point isn’t whether or not you feel I should have licked the pacifier and given it back to my daughter — I am sure the thought of that is normal to some of you, and gross to others.

But I’m challenging all of us (myself included!) to keep our snide remarks to ourselves, to pause before considering or calling another parent “inadequate” or “imperfect” and to resist the temptation to put down those who are out there doing their best — just as we are.

I can promise I have tactics you oppose, and I imagine the reverse is true as well. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. But, as a fellow parent, I’ve got your back. And maybe, just maybe, you’ve got mine too.

Until next time,

– Jenna von Oy

More from Jenna’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

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Showing 99 comments

Anonymous on

Way to go Jenna!!!! I don’t blame you for that letter at all!! Many moms use saliva as a cleaning tool….when u have nothing else saliva works wonders!!! Whats a little saliva between mommy n daughter! Grey is adorable and u are an awesome mom!!

Boobymama on

Youll learn as you get older to let things like that roll off your back. Somewhere inside you are insecure about what you did, but you shouldnt be, kids eat all sorts of gross things and even lick playground equipment from time to time, no big deal. Teenagers will get theres someday, never fear.

Erica D on

I love the letter, I wish I would have the guts to say the same thing to people.. No one should ever judge the way one parents.. From an outsider looking in your daughter looks so happy and you and your husband are doing one heck of a job.. As a mom of 4 boys from the ages of 17 to 1 year you do what you need to do and others can go some where else if they don’t like it :)

JD on

I mean this in the nicest way but girl, get used to it. It is truly amazing to me how total strangers feel it to be okay to judge us mothers and have no problem letting us know what they think.

I can 100% relate to the frustration when it happens. Hang in there.

Nicole on

I love it! I have found the hardest thing about being a parent is the criticism of others. Like you mentioned, it is something that I work so hard at and take much pride in and when others criticize my techniques is extremely personal to me. It is even more hurtful when comments come from people you know.

Thank you for sharing.

Ashley on

great blog! I imagine he must’ve never seen a parent do that before. I have many times seen that done by different unrelated parents. Really not a big deal in my opinion to lick the pacifier and give it back.

MommytoanE on

Great blog. It is very irritating when people judge your parenting, without even knowing you. But the worst judgement comes from those you know, trust and care about. There is a lot of judgement out there. Sadly, no one has a right to judge anyone else, for no one is perfect, but they judge anyways.

I think everything in life tends to be judged. From the spelling Nancy who says that you spelled a word wrong….not realizing that you are doing it one handed, while distracted because a toddler is pulling at you and you are trying your best to do two things at once. To the teenagers in a store who judge you without being parents, or heck half of them don’t even babysit! Its insane.

Sadly the teen in question in your letter, probably has no problem lick locking and swapping spit with his array of girlfriends/boyfriends. Not realizing that the paci licking is the same concept. People are judgemental. Open letters that you never send, do help tho. Greatly. I have written many in my day.

Great blog!! Ty for your post.

Xan on

I also recently read about the benefits of using saliva to clean a pacifier, and I was pretty surprised that was even a common practice. To be honest, the only time I had ever seen or heard of that being done was on a NYc subway a few years ago. The baby kept hurling his pacifier onto the sticky subway cart floor and the mom kept picking it up, sticking it in her mouth and then back in his–again, and again, and again, and yet again.

No one said a word, but I kid you not, the half dozen or so people who were watching stared with their jaws agape! It was a sight so crazy, even hardened New Yorkers like myself were stunned. :)

Don’t be so hard on the teen. The gross factor was partly that she saw you put the paci from your mouth into your baby’s mouth, but also the sight of an adult putting something that had just fallen on the floor (even if it didn’t touch) in a heavily trafficked area into their mouth. Though, chances are, that kid probably adheres to the five second rule at home!

Virginia on

Amen! I wish everyone thought this way. Every parent has the right to raise their children how they see fit without the opinions of everybody who thinks you are wrong. The people who posted nasty comments on marla sokoloff’ s blog about saying no and discipline need to read this blog!

If you don’t like to be judged and given everyone’s opinion on the way you do things, don’t judge others (even when you don’t agree). You may not agree with the way I do things and I may not agree with the way you do things, but it does not mean one way is right and the other wrong. What works for one person may not work for another. As parents we need to love and support one another on this crazy adventure called parenthood!

Kelly on

Way to go!!! I remember as a kid we would be out and my momy would lick her fingers to get dirt off our faces. I am still here , it didn’t kill me. I am not a mommy but I am an Aunt who has baby sat all five of my nieces and nephews and have done this many of time . I feel my spit is a hell of alot cleaner than the floor it just came off of. I would rather get sick than any of them….P.S I thought I was the only one that this , thanks for being on my side

Katie on

I’m not a parent and I’m a mild germaphobe. To me, that sounds a little gross. Someone picking up a fallen pacifier from a dirty floor, then putting it in their mouth, then putting it in their babies mouth… it sounds unsanitary. Knowing me, I would probably have extra pacifiers on hand (lol).

I read an article online where a heavily pregnant British woman was refused a glass of wine from a bartender. She states she was embarrassed, eats lots of veggies and has a glass of wine every one to two weeks. The woman found an article online that says its ok to drink once in a while and its good for the baby. The bartender said he/she couldn’t serve her because of their conscience.

Again, you have people defending her right to drink while pregnant. Then you have people supporting the bartender.

It all comes down to different parenting styles.

EKo on

Ugh, this chick needs to wear less makeup.

Kristen on

Hrm, I read the article and all I could think was “of course you cleaned the pacifier with your own saliva. Who wouldn’t??” But…I’m a mom so, what do I know. :)

I wonder how tactful I would have been, had this been me in the store. I wonder if I’d have been inclined to ask her if she thinks about the “ick” factor related to some things she may be willing to put into her mouth.

Oh no, I would never mean that…

No, I meant, would she ever share a straw with her friend, drink after her mom, eat a bite of food off of her boyfriend’s fork. Or consume anything else of her boyfriend’s…

Germs are okay, they’re actually good for us but yes, judge the mom who licks her baby’s pacifer while you are pushing a shopping cart and sneezing into your hand.

bekah on

That upset you?! Thicker skin get one. A teenager disapproving of something you do bothers you so much you need to run to your blog and cry about it you really need to grow up and toughen up.

Anonymous on

Wow! I love that letter! As a mom of three children under two years, I too have actually done that exact same thing. I used to be a germaphobe, but as you stated, its hard to be with young children around.

amanda on

good job jenna ! theres nothing wrong with a little saliva ! ;) you are a awesome mom who is doing her best ! i myself became a first time mom 6 months ago and i still cant believe some of the things i hear ” don’t hold your baby too much , you’ll spoil him! ” bite me ! he’s only little once ! :) you keep doing what your doing ! don’t listen to the judgmental people , they obviously arn’t willing to remove themselves off their high horses .

shana on

My husband and I licked our son’s pacifier many a day 18 years ago. Guess what? Our son is beautiful and thriving. My baby brother thought we were clueless and did not know how to raise a baby. We heard how awful we were as parents for the first five years from him. Guess what? 18 years later my baby brother just licked a pacifier and is now constantly asking our advice.

Don’t judge…you may be there some day. Now our advice gets him through his days. Funny how life works. As parents we just have to love, hope, and pray we get it right or at least in the ball park. Our son is beautiful and smart, and soon off to college (already accepted to his first choice school). Love them every day and appreciate the little victories. They are HUGE.

mary on

I’m sorry but that was gross

lovethisfam on

I love reading your blogs. I am a foster parent of three with one adoption almost done and who knows what on the horizon as far as the others…I can say judgment is always coming my families way. I think people believe since these children are not “mine” they can offer “advice” anytime they see fit. The worst offenders are the people we have known for the longest time….So it was nice to read about someone else being judged. LOL I hope you continue to write as I truly do enjoy reading about your parenting. Our little girls are close in age and I look forward to seeing more!

Anonymous on

I don’t judge other parents. We all do are own things because we are all different, as are our families. I find it interesting that many agree on here and other posts, but when it comes to a celebrity that you don’t like then they can be judged. Why….are they less of a person, less of a mother, have less feelings, deserve less in life? Regardless of what I think of someone or think i may know, I am not going to post “hate” or “filth” about them.

Jill on

I think the letter was great, and I constantly do the same thing…as the Mom of a 2 year old you are running around constantly and no matter how well you think you plan to have water, tissues, extra pacifiers it doesn’t work…so rather than have a potentially screaming child in the store..licking the pacifier is NO big deal…

NW MAMA on

parents supporting parents, that is what it is all about.

We do the best we can and watch our children grow up and go from there.

What you did was fine, and people need to be more supportive of one another, because we all live here and exist as humans in this crazy wonderful world.

I used to dip my daughter’s pacifier in the water glass after she would spit it out onto a table or floor, (granted the nipple never touched anything) and continue to drink said water, always got crazy looks for that one. But you move on and go about what you know works for you and your family. My daughter’s are 25 and 20 now, and grew up to be just fine.

Love your posts Jenna, keep them coming!!

Erica on

This blog post was WAY Too long. Your unsent letter was WAY too long. Seriously? I can’t believe I just took the time to read all of this. And I am that mom who uses her own mouth to wash off my baby’s pacifier. But I kinda think you should write about more interesting topics. And get to the point. Your first 13 paragraphs are about a whole lotta nothing.

JessB on

I saw a Mom do the same thing on national talk show years ago while President Clinton was holding her baby. Can’t remember if it was on Ellen (think so) or Oprah. But I remember thinking at the time, wow that is a cool mom. She was just super chill and just did it to calm her crying baby while on national TV with the former President holding her baby. So I think you’re fine doing it at a box store :) Love the letter you wrote!!!

sara on

I cannot you believe that you have time to write this ridiculous and lengthy letter. Do you really care about what this person thinks? Do what you want with your pacifier and your kid- no one is stopping you.

Andrea on

Love this, thank you for saying what many of us feel inside. As a mommy of five ive gotten all sorts of things said to me from wow you gave five kids or looks when my girls are crying and im trying to do the best to take care of it. Parenting as you said is not a science and each of us try the best we can. I applaud you and hope you continue such a fantastic job.

Nicole on

Can People filter the comments? Some of them are very rude and disrespectful and I don’t think you deserve that just because you have a blog.

Kristin on

My son was never on a pacifier, but when he would drop his cup or bottle onto the ground I would always put it in my mouth first to “clean it”. Besides I wouldn’t trust any wipe, even if it is natural or not to go directly onto something that my son was going to stick in his mouth. I would wipe and then lick if that were the case. BTW I was the biggest germaphobe before my son was born.

Anonymous on

Absolutely 100% the truth!!!! So glad you posted this!!!!

J on

Just ignore the nosybodies, especially punk teens who have something to say about everything. My son had baby shoes he loved to chew on when he was tiny and not once did they touch the ground but some nosy woman kept following us around a store clucking her tongue talking about how gross it was. She didn’t know our lives so my husband and I laughed at her complaining.

aeromel78 on

I don’t find anything odd about what you did, but then again, my own mom did some pretty gross stuff when we were kids LOL!. She would actually prechew certain foods for us when we were really little, because she was always afraid we would choke. As an adult, of course it sounds a little gross to me but, honestly, kids don’t know any better.

Besides, kids become plenty gross on their own as they get older and your daughter will put way worse in her mouth than a saliva covered pacifer. When I think back now to the number of times I ate a snack that fell on the ground (the GROUND mind you, not the floor) because I knew I wouldn’t get another one, well, let’s just say I turned out OK and Gray will too!

Stephanie on

I commend you for being able to hold back and waiting until you got home to vent your frustrations. I don’t think I would have been able to keep quiet. I would have given that kid a piece of my mind without hesitation. Until that kid is a parent themselves, he/she should keep their opinions about parenting to themselves. I also read that study about using your own saliva to clean your child’s pacifier. It is much cleaner than using the water from a public bathroom sink or a public drinking fountain. So Jenna, keep doing what you’re doing. A mother always knows what’s best for their kid.

Carrie on

With all due respect, if you think the blog is too long, don’t read it!!! My goodness, really?

Anyway, great post – like it or not, we’re human beings, and sometimes the criticism gets to you, despite your best efforts to let it roll off your back. Now, if you’d actually gone back to the store and given him the letter, that would be way over the top. Lol.

Anonymous on

Nicole – “filter the comments”???? People already does that. Do you expect them to only post the sugary sweet positive ones? Get real.

Laura on

This is awesome! Perfect! As the mother of a 13 month old, I have those moments too! And as you mentioned, I think we need to all band together and support one another instead of tearing each other down. Agree or disagree with the particular method, but support. I have found myself in the past year, appreciating so much more the struggles parents go through. I find myself smiling and offering encouraging looks to parents with crying babies on planes or in stores instead of just secretly wishing they would be quiet! I find myself smiling at more babies when their mother looks frustrated – just to give her a break for a couple of minutes in the grocery line when she doesn’t feel like she has to be entertaining her baby. And if I disagreed with your pacifier method (though I don’t), I would have just smiled and moved on and thought, like you said, “she’s doing the best she can”. You are awesome. I love your posts – makes me feel like there’s someone else out there who understands what I’m going through!!

Kate on

Well said! It’s hard to believe all the energy wasted on judging and criticizing others parenting. We all have our way and we all make mistakes. I’m a firm believer in doing what works for you!

Dawn on

Ohhh, besos to you, Jenna! If you need the encouragement, you are fine, momma. A little mom spit is required from time to time. And someday, sweet Grey is going to have her know it all moments just.like.this. Yes she will….because all of our kids behave “exactly” like we swear they won’t….”my kid will never behave like that”. And that’s ok, because like dropped pacifiers, we can’t control everything they say or do. You are doing just fine, lady. :)

CinciTina on

Love it! I’ve been told countless times by my own parents, and my husband’s, along with “well-meaning” friends, everything I’m doing wrong, only because it’s not the way they would do things. I’m a traditional mom, using fairly traditional parenting methods, but I also know what works for my daughters. I’ve also had to learn to let go of the germs, clean off a pacifier or the nipple of a bottle with my mouth when either one is dropped, or let them chew on a toy before I’ve had a chance to wash it. Thanks so much for writing your blog and letting us know that other moms go through the same things!

esmama12476 on

Just hang in there…I can relate…Many people never learned the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything At All!” Parenting is difficult enough without sideline commentary from strangers who have never spent a moment in our shoes.
Life is short and people like that are ignorant. Yes, it is frustrating and I have been there…just remember you are a great parent and no one person’s irrelevant comment can take that away. Although in the moment, the frustration and anger is understandable.
Keep smiling…we’re all in this parenting thing together. No one is perfect.

Bugsmum on

I love this!! Such a great blog and letter. I’ve been the recipient of some very scandalisied looks and comments while parenting in public. The best reaction was the lady who crashed her trolley into a display of paper towels while she was gaping horror-struck at me after over-hearing me ask my tantruming 2yr old if she wanted me to pop her into the freezer with the peas to help her cool off. Haha.

Keep doing your thing hun because you are doing great!

Seasoned Mama on

I have been criticized and criticized and then criticized some more for my parenting and it doesn’t bother me because I am confident in my choices and methods. People will always have opinions on how you parent and even if they like your outcomes, they will continue to criticize your methods. You have to find this ironic and comical. I’ve done an excellent job raising my children who are impressive by everyone’s account. I had a young mom seek me out for advice and after I spent a long time sharing with and encouraging her, she told someone else I didn’t know anything about raising children. They thought I’d be upset but I was amused. Who would tell anyone with great results in any area that they were clueless about it? Just laugh…then suck the germs off your child’s pacifier…and laugh some more. And for anyone who thinks the pacifier in mama’s mouth is gross, they should see all the moms who stick a finger down the kid’s diaper to see if it’s changing time…(go ahead, vote me down on that one but it’s true).

stacey on

Oh god, Virginia is back.

Lisa on

While I applaud her for not attacking the teen, and coming from a mom who has cleaned plenty of things with saliva, I just can’t get the image out of my head of a guy in work boots who stepped in dog poo and then walked through the store and said pacifier landed in a track, aka Murphy’s Law.

Sandra on

It doesn’t matter if its a teenager, a mother of none or a father of 20, any time someone takes issue with you parent skills you will get offended. Now I am the type to say “FU” on the spot before I could get my brain to catch up with the mouth, but I am glad you handled it the way you did. People tend to think that having the freedom to say anything you please means you can say it to anyone, but I always tell people that you can say anything you want as long as you are willing to accept the consequences that come after.

susan on

What was the disgust you speak of? There’s no description of what the teen said to her if anything.

It sounds like you were upset with yourself for something else. How could you possibly know what this person was feeling if you didn’t ask them? Sounds like you’re the judgey one. And I’m with you on the saliva thing, but being so angry at someone for doing nothing is quite nasty.

Mom of 6 on

The longer you are a parent, the more you relax and let this stuff slide. I recommend reading Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…

Think of all the time you wasted being angry, writing a letter,carefully wording this blog to express your anger… let it go. Get over it! This is a teenagers natural reaction (you didn’t even say what that was- did she say “Ew…gross!” to you putting something off the floor in your mouth and giving it to your baby… In a way you are judging someone elses parenting, and their baby right now. Take your own advice. Stop judging others for their opinions, let it go and move on.

Sam on

Well said! It’s so irritating when people judge you for every little move you make as a parent. As a first-time mom myself, I am learning there are so many ways to approach every single aspect of parenting, and no matter what you do, there is someone out there who thinks you are doing it wrong. That all being said, you bet your a** I’ve cleaned off a paci a time or two (or more) with my mouth before giving it back to my baby. He’s healthy, I’m healthy and he’s happy because he has how beloved pacifier, which makes mama very happy!

sabrinarina on

I never comment on here, but this made me smile. I can’t stand when people without kids jump to judgement about things they don’t know and it actually took me back to my pregnancy when I had a short bottle of coke (68mg of the 200mg of caffeine that my doc said I could have if I need it) which was my first sip of caffeine in the 14 weeks that I had been pregnant and a 17-year-old know it all had the nerve to try to take it from me (mind you I was working 12 hour night shifts in a hospital at the time and this was my first sip of caffeine in 14 weeks).

LAla on

Seriously? Any time you sit down and begin a diatribe with “Dear teenager…” walk away from the computer. Not sure who needs the talking to here, but I do know you shouldn’t give two spits what someone, let alone a teenager, thinks of your parenting skills. Start toughening that skin and demonstrate resilience to the idiots, not frustration. You’re letting them win.

Jan from Houston on

As the mother of grown kids and grandma of 2, I wish I had a buck for every “snotty” comment I heard about any variety of things I did as a working mom on the go from leaving my kids with a stranger (now we all it day-care) to feeding my kids less than home-cooked meals. Most of the comments came from either childless people or clueless teenagers. While I overheard the comments from the peanut gallery/line at the store, by people who supposed themselves to be great authorities on child-rearing, I wonder what they would have said if I had turned my wrath on them and told them I was a pediatric nurse in the throes of managing a disintegrating marriage as well as being the sole provider and a full-time mother. Jenna, you done good girl, you done good!!!!!

Carol Anne on

This teen should know that a mom’s spit is the cure for everything! To wipe off grubby faces, to clean wounds, and to de-germ binkies that have fallen on the floor! Once she becomes the all perfect and knowing parent, she can have her own blog and share her nuggets of wisdom.

Jone Loyd on

Boom! Well said! I parented to the best of my abilities and was not nearly as diplomatic as you! Baby screaming? Gave her a breast even though she had just eaten. Schedule? No way. Keep it up! You are doing great! No kid ever died from mom spit!

lester on

She’s clearly insecure about what she did. Acts like she’s taking the high road with this letter, however she slams the poor teenager lots of times. What a shitty person she is.

C.S on

As a high school teacher I can tell you, this is what teenagers do: they judge. They feel they have all the answers. We were all there once.The fact that you let a teenager, who you acknowledge probably has no parenting experience, ruffle your feathers so much should say something. Relax. They didn’t call CPS or request a manager for intervention. Things are going to get much, much worse as your child gets older, as you have teachers, coaches, and classmates’ parents weighing in.

tmp on

I don’t know that I would have spent so much time on a remark an inexperienced teenager made in regards to what I did to clean my child’s pacifier. However, if writing this letter made her feel better then great. More than likely, I probably would have chuckled to myself and shook my head and said to myself ‘wait, just wait…your time is coming.’ He obviously had no idea what it was like to be a parent or an older brother, etc.

Jennifer on

I am TOTALLY judging you. And I find you guilty of rawking SO very very hard. :-)

sue on

Your letter says it all, and many have commented previously..

I just want to say the Pic with you and Grey with your tongues out is A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E! Her expression is priceless.. Love it!

Christina on

This is ridiculous. All of it, the judgement she received and the excessive anger felt. Given this persons age and educational level it would have been more appropriate to blow it off as such. She spent her whole afternoon angry and writing about it when she could have been spending it with her child, although, that sounds like a judgement…That being said, I would/did put my daughters paci in my mouth after it had been on the floor…AND nipple down. In fact if someone had said that to me I would have rubbed it in the bottom of my shoe and stuck it in my mouth and then my child’s. Don’t waste your time on ignorance.

Josh on

It makes me sad how many people missed/ignored the whole point of the blog entry.

Brittany on

Nice burn Six!!!!!! What a smart lady!

Ashley on

I understand the point of this blog but she does ooze insecurity if you can get that upset over a teenager’s comment. Seriously, teenagers aren’t known to be the wisest people. Regardless if she/he was a teenager or grandparent who made that comment, you can’t let anyone rile you up if you know you are doing your dang best. That’s life in general. People will ALWAYS judge one thing or another about everyone else’s lives but we need the confidence to know it’s our lives to life and own. Who gives a hoot what some stranger says? I don’t.

lee on

Please don’t judge me for noticing how poorly written this blog post is. It is repetitive and full of grammatical errors. That said, I did not miss the point you were trying to make ” which is to refrain from judgment.” Unfortunately, the irony of you trying to spread this message whilst attacking the character of an unidentified child (teenager) is in poor taste and invalidates your objective. I think, if you brush up on your writing skills a bit, you have potential to become a good writer. As a mother of four I would be interested to hear more of what you have to say.

Good luck!

Jenna on

I’m guessing she is just grasping at straws for something to blog. Not a fun post. Maybe she should give it up. @Nicole, Seriously? Filter the comments? Has a teenager hurt your feelings at one time also?

Lori on

I don’t judge you, and wish you the best. Parenting is tough, and many times I am assaulted by my own doubts about if I am doing it right, so I know no parent needs others’ criticism on top.

Now, two things – you need to just ignore that kind of stuff. Many times I get all sorts of advice from all sorts of people, from my mom (“When you were little nobody used car seats and everybody made it just fine” – well, at least everybody she immediately knew), to my childless sisters, to acquaintances, to total strangers.

The second thing, I’d recommend you to be careful with the parent mouth cleansing method. There are some bugs that your mouth can’t wash away, and a baby is at a much greater risk if they catch a disease. A friend used this method until her baby got a stomach infection. The baby almost died, the diarrhea and vomiting caused her severe dehydration. She was in the ICU for a week. I wouldn’t wish this ordeal on anyone. As the AAP journal you linked states, the benefits of cleaning a paci or spoon or whatever with your mouth to avoid allergies, is that you pass germs to the baby. You just want to avoid passing really nasty germs to the baby.

Cecelia on

Before I had children, I knew everything about parenting. I had my first child and realized I knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. I wished I could go back and apologize to all the frazzled parents I criticized when I saw them at the market or or in a crowded airplane. But, can’t do that, so I make faces at the toddler in the seat in front of me and reassure the mom in the checkout line.

You just don’t know, until you have your own kids, how much a kind word of support helps a harried parent.

And, yes, we all do the best we can.

Sara on

I cannot believe how many rude people there are on this site. What is the point of tearing someone down who just wanted to share an experience she had. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Giveusabreak on

I completely understand your frustration as well, as a mother of two young children. I know it’s hard, but try not to let that stuff get to you. Parenting is hard enough without having to put up with the ignorant and annoying remarks and reactions to things (that really aren’t a big deal) you have to do just to get yourself through a shopping trip. Best of lick (sorry couldn’t help it).

Rayn on

Right Jenna!! My sister and her boyfriend did the same for their daughter when the pacifier fell, but when it went nipple down they broke out the other one. I also believe no one should judge some one’s parenting unless they are not doing it. Seriously, I have been in restaurants and parents are letting heir children run around almost tripping waitstaff & not even trying to have them stop. That side, 99% of the time though don’t judge. Most parents are doing the best they can. Plus, if you’ve never had a child you have no idea what comes with it & have no knowledge of what it takes to be a parent. I’m with you Jenna, all the way!

Guest on

I understand why she was irritated. That said, she really needed to get to the point. I had to skim/skip over lots of paragraphs to get to the heart of the matter.

MidwestMom on

Does anyone remember her character on Blossom, I think the name was Sixx? Anyway, she walked just like Jenna wrote this blog, a mile a minute, never ending, and with the same cadence.

My two cents – I’m not licking anything off the floor (or close to off the floor) and neither is my child. No one is that busy. I guess the baby will have to wait for a clean binkie because this way of “cleaning” is not the answer.

I for one applaud the teen.

Judy Beeksma on

Absolutely stunning post…loved it! Judge not, lest you be judged…Matthew 7; verse 1

Debra on

C’mon are you telling me that tiny incident works you up to the point that you go home and pen that work of art? lol. That in and of itself speaks volumes about your own personality.

PS. Why does your daughter have a pacifier @ 16 months of age? I’m not a new mom, I’m an old one with 4 kids who are grown. My advice to you is: wean her off the pacifier and grow some thicker skin. There are dozens if not hundreds of things that are much worse that happen in our lives. Good God.

Sandie Studd on

I have 6 children and 7 grandchildren. Been there and am still doing it. I have often verbally thrown up on paper because it turns out that it’s a great vent that prevents making something bad worse. I personally think it’s a healthy alternative to what I hear many people do.

The thing about teenagers is that they really do have all the right answers. The problem is that the questions are all wrong. It’s a developmental thing that should correct itself in about 10 years. It’s just a stage they go through growing up. I was just happy they went to bed alive some days. Ahh, success!

P.S. When it comes to raising teenagers, remember that they only give what you take. Mine didn’t give me much. You will never be their “friend” (until years beyond this point) but you will always be their Mom.

Lame on

Your written argument (with a teenager!!) was beyond ridiculous. Passive-aggressiveness and making fun of your opponent’s style does not equal a good or rational argument. Just shrug, smile, and keep going like the rest of us. I’d argue that you have such thin skin BECAUSE you are an actor, but seriously, what was the last successful thing you appeared in? Blossom?! Give me a break.

Jennifer on

I love this blog. I feel judgement all the time by others and sometimes it just plain hard to ignore and upsets me. I say Yay for your letter and think you should give it to them and possibly the store manager. When working with the public in that manner you have to keep your thoughts to yourself on some things. Parenting is far from easy and until you are a parent no one will understand what its like. YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

Anonymous on

I would have handed the pacifier to the rude lil snot and asked him if he’d like to do it because maybe his was better than mine:…actually when I would have been done tongue lashing him he would have cried all the way home to his MOMMA! lol great story Jenna!..really enjoyed reading…

priss on

@Katie, you completely missed the point of this blog. It isn’t whether you think Jenna’s parenting method is gross or not, the point is don’t pass judgement on a parent doing his/her best, which is exactly what you did.

The parents that are the most worried about germs and follow their children around with Lysol and Purell are actually doing more harm than good. Their kids are the ones that get sick more often than the ones with the stronger immune systems.

Monica on

Oh give it a rest!!! I used to be a nanny and I have licked many pacifiers in my life time ,and its perfectly normal,and healthy, and good for you Jenna! I like Her!

Zeze on

While I understand your frustration, i’m not sure why you felt the need to write an open letter to a teenager. Sounds like you need to grow up.

4mom on

Wow! I loved this. It is exactly what we all put up with every day if we are parents, sometimes from our own parents or in-laws. I use saliva, my shirt sleeve, my shirt tail, and even my fingers and then wipe it on the back of my pants. I have been puked on, peed on, pooped on, and bled on. As far as I am aware that is life and we just have to deal to the best of our circumstances. I am an ignorer. I can ignore anyone or anything without even trying. I don’t care what people think because most of them let their dog lick them on the mouth and we all know what the dog licks. I think your reaction is warranted and in no way do you sound insecure. You sound mad and you had every right to be!

Terri White on

I not only understand you but I agree with you. I actually had someone make a nasty comment in a store one time and he had no children, I told him until he had children he could keep his mouth shut. Saw him several years later and he looked and me and said I am so sorry then proceded to get after his youngest (which he had 3) like I had gotten after my youngest (I have 2) that night.

My biggest bravo to you is that you learned the saliva thing the first time around and I didn’t get to it until my second. You are a great mom with a beautiful baby!

Terri White on

BTW, I was ALWAYS told growing up that mom spit is the ONLY heavy duty NATURAL all purpose industrial cleaner

Kat on

Wonderful letter.. and OH so true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ms M on

Hands up to you Jenna, these YOUNG people these days that have babies at very young ages themselves really don’t know anything, they need to stop look and listen… stop drapping your child in gold and leather which they will grow out of anyway. You need to listen to those who have experience and know what they are talking about before you voice YOUR opinion. Sometimes you have to step back and learn and then speak.

Pilar Kline on

I understand your feelings about not wanting to be judged, however, it probably would have been a better choice to go into a restroom at the warehouse store and at least rinse off the pacifier.

Shannon on

I cannot tell you how many times one of my kids has tossed their nuk to the ground in a store. I have many times picked it up and swiped it with my own mouth before giving it back to my child. Sometimes, you just have to make do. Who really gives a hoot what some silly teenager thinks? They think they know it all, but we know they have a lot of learning and maturing to do.

Good job mama! Give yourself a pat on the back….you’re the only mama your baby has and she loves you regardless of how you muddle through parenting ;)

Kim on

Seriously, unless you witness a child being actually injured..keep your opinions to yourself! I don’t know why total strangers think it’s okay to tell others how to run their own business..and it’s not just with kids!

wendy french on

im and so proud of you for not only standing up for yourself but for all us mothers. no im not a new mother but im a mother of 4 kids who are mostly adults now, youngest is 16 but I did those exact things with there pacifiers and using my shirt to wipe their nose etc. I loved the letter and your little girl is beautiful. I watched you all the time on blossom. keep doing what you are doing and everything will be fine.

Kim on

Confused by this whole exchange at the store that made you write this letter. It doesn’t say what the person said to you. Whatever it was make you so upset you wanted to curse at the teenager till you were blue in the face? Seriously?

I agree people should mind their own business about others parenting methods unless the parent is putting the child is an unsafe position. But your letter seems very judgmental against the teen and defeats the whole meaning behind it.

Brandi on

Well said…and very funny.

Anonymous on

Some people have an issue with visual triggers of idiots who put dropped objects in their mouths. It has nothing to do with your parenting.

And the sunglasses crack? My sister had sensitive eyesight and had to wear shades inside a lot.

Miss Judgy McJudgypants.

Midwest Mom on

“Seriously, unless you witness a child being actually injured..keep your opinions to yourself! I don’t know why total strangers think it’s okay to tell others how to run their own business..and it’s not just with kids!”

I could NOT disagree more. There is verbal, mental, and emotional abuse that kids suffer all the time. They will only get the help they need if adults around them speak up. Clearly this blog was NOT such a case. But, overall, people need to speak up more, not less, about how kids are treated. Good parents will understand where a concerned person is coming from and not immediately jump to taking offense. The reality is that there are a lot of bad parents out there.

guest on

Putting a used pacifier from the floor into your mouth IS gross. That teenager had every right to acknowledge that it was gross, because IT IS.

You are putting every germ from the bottom of every shoe that’s walked on that floor (and every surface those shoes have walked on all day), all the residue from every sticky, icky thing that has dropped on that floor, right into your mouth. Then into your kid’s mouth! Way to go, super mom!

A friend of mine AND her baby both got strep throat, and the pediatrician told her it was from cleaning the baby’s pacifiers in her OWN MOUTH passing germs back and forth and told her 1st thing she needed to STOP doing that.

So I’m sorry it makes you mad when you do something gross in public and someone else calls you on it….maybe you need to try and see what others are seeing. They’re not wrong just because they’re not mommys and you complaining about something like this is just ridiculous.

Marlo on

As you hone your mothering skills you will realize that The Teenager you scorned is also someones baby. I never went anywhere without extra binky’s. Honestly, it was nasty.

wrkingmoma on

A guy also at a unnamed-bulk-warehouse-store also corrected me for using my “spit” to clean my daughters yucky face/nose. I too didn’t have a wipe handy and she’s was “cleaning it” herself so I did what I could. He felt it necessary to correct me. I told him unless he was smuggling wipes to carry on shopping and leave us be. He was speechless and he was an older man who should have been a seasoned parent. So sad that he felt the need.

Diane Ford on

I’m glad you got that off your chest. I don’t take criticism very well either. I have often used saliva to rub this and that off my childrens faces. Usually I lick my thumb and wipe off the spot of whatever is on a cheek, forehead, nose, chin…..some times it is chocolate, but not always. When strangers make wise cracks , I usually consider them rude and I shake it off. When a friend gives unwanted advise, I usually say “If I want your opinion, I will turn you upside down and shake it out of you”. Enough said!

m on

why on earth would you even care what a teenager thought?

teens are clearly young, immature and have a lot to learn.. yes and sometimes rude. a firm comment to the teen directly would have done a lot of good moreso than penning a passive aggressive letter that this kid will probably never read and therefore miss a chance to learn from this situation. this is a kid who obviously has no understanding of what it means to be a parent so why did this bother you so much you had this reaction? and really doesn’t it go both ways? maybe this kid hasn’t been parented themselves very well, you don’t know why the teen was being bratty either so why judge them back?

I’m not a parent, but as an adult I can’t understand why this affected you so much .. except maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep. just let it go, I’m sure you have bigger fish to fry.

Gudrun Geirsdottir on

Nothing wrong with you licking the pacifier, and I totally agree with you on people should not judge at all.
On the other hand I don’t think it’s right of yourself either, to state that people don’t understand what you did until they love someone so much. That is a parental arrogance. I am so sorry for saying this, I do not mean that you are arrogant at all, I just think that some things you wrote in your anger, are well, written in anger, and therefore judgment towards that teenager and what he meant.
It is so easy to misunderstand written words, so please know that I think you are a wonderful person, mother, actress, blogger and a lot more. I think only good of you, and of course I was not there in the shop when it happened, so I obvipusly don’t know 100% how you experienced this.
Thank you for your wonderful blogging, it is truly good and beneficial to read, and the pictures are beyond wonderful, so much love there:)

arlene on

Jenna – I love your blogs and this is only the 2nd one I read. you give a whole new twist on point-of-view that just has me saying “Go Jenna!”. Love it! I certainly will be following your blogs from now on. Great job. Baby Gray is so beautiful! keep sharing photos.

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