Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I Hate My Germ Factory Nephews

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germ factoryAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I HATE my nephews. A strong word, you say? How about despise, detest, loathe? In short, I can’t stand the little brats.

Before I had a child of my own, I merely disliked them. They made me long for those proverbial “good ol’ days,” when children were seen and not heard. A golden age of yore when they had it half right (I mean, I’d rather not see them either, truth be told). However, thanks to their mother and grandmother, who, God only know why, have worked them up to a fever pitch over my new baby, my feelings have escalated to complete abhorrence (yes, I consulted a thesaurus in composing this piece).

When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to look at babies sideways. I actually recall my grandmother yelling “don’t look at the baby!” at me when I dared attempt a furtive glance in the direction of my newborn cousin. I don’t know what she thought would ensue as a result, but it was clearly very dire and not something she wanted on her conscience. I suppose I internalized the message that babies are not to be looked at, touched or in any way interfered with by anyone other than their mother, and it’s hard for me to let go of that early life lesson. Add to that my WASP aversion to human contact, and you’re dealing with someone who just doesn’t want someone else’s kids pawing at my baby, relatives or not. Period.

It was tough for me being a part of my husband’s family even before I had a baby. They’re huggers, which I find really annoying. And there are a lot of them, so the round of hugs takes for-bloody-ever when they all get together. Is there a polite way to say “no, I don’t want to hug you and I certainly don’t want to hug your snot-nosed little germ factory, who brings a new viral strain home from kindergarten on a daily basis.”

I was raised by my grandmother, who loved me dearly but never once hugged me, although she did give me a kiss on the cheek on the occasion of my first international plane trip (no, domestic flights, apparently, did not warrant any untoward displays of affection).

My husband’s family is also loud, obnoxious and demanding, come to think of it (gee, I wonder where the nephews get it from?). Before my daughter was born, I was able to take them in small doses with copious amounts of alcohol. However, that wonderful, liquid coping mechanism is now off the menu thanks to the mystical, magical, surprisingly-ineffective-against-kindergarten-germs breastfeeding. And I’m seeing more of them than I ever had to before becoming a parent.

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