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Testing Boundaries w/LeeLee Pitts!

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Totally Mommy Podcast

Episode 8

Leelee is back co-hosting this week (yay!) and shares The Good (her lil man turned 1! And Elizabeth had an awesome baby shower), The Bad (Leelee’s daughter has been out of sorts, Elizabeth’s vulva is no beuno) and The Funny (Leelee’s husband had a colorful description of their daughter’s behavior, Elizabeth needed snack time during a rock show). Then Leelee has some awesome advice (Elizabeth’s is mediocre at best :) to listener questions regarding gender disappointment in pregnancy, dealing with sticky Mother In Law situations, how to handle a “gun situation” with the in laws, and what to do when one child resents the other for the amount of attention he requires. Enjoy!

21 Comments!

Alia says:

I’m SO MAD at you guys!
It is unacceptable that you discussed the consumption of chocolate. You are now making me want to go get a bar of chocolate. :)

Anyway, all joking aside, great episode! Thank you!

Ellie says:

Hi Elizabeth,
I just wanted to let you know that I totally get where you are coming from in regards to not letting your daughter be alone with men other than Andy. The statistics on childhood sexual are so scary! But LeeLee makes some great points as well–it is important for kids to learn how to trust and who to trust.

Having worked in the field of child welfare and now specializing specifically in child development and trauma, I have a couple personal opinions on how to kind of navigate these concerns. I think it is so important to let encourage your child to have healthy boundaries with people–not forcing them to have physical contact with someone if they are not comfortable (“Go give your great aunt a kiss!”) and also listening to them and acknowledging them when they voice their discomfort. Let them know that if they come to you they will be heard and believed, and that it is safe to tell you everything–often those abusing children will tell them that no one will believe them or that they will hurt them if they tell. Also, starting early with the age appropriate conversations about what kind of touch is okay and what is not okay.

Anyway, thank you for the great episode! I am currently pregnant and absolutely loving the new podcast!

Jessie says:

First of all, I love the podcast! (Actually all 3! You guys keep me entertained at work!) I want to speak to the new mama expecting the boy, who was dissapointed. I only have one child (right now), and when I was pregnant I wanted a girl sooo badly. I always thought I’d have girls. Well, when we went in for our ultrasound, our son made it VERY clear that he was a boy. I was so happy – but also dissapointed. I processed my dissapointment, came to terms with it (of course) and now, I cannot IMAGINE life without my amazing 1 1/2 year old boy. He’s wonderful and the best thing that has ever happened to me. I think it’s totally normal, and I can’t help but feeling like the people who say, ‘oh, we don’t care…’ must be fibbing just a teensy bit. ;)

Also, I did want to mention something about the ‘unmedicated birth’ snafu. I had an unmedicated home birth with a midwife (it was awesome!), and I completely agree with LeeLee. It’s about empowering yourself and educationg yourself and finding what works for you and your child. But I do want to make the point that many times medicated births are pushed on women, not just by the ‘you’re crazy not to use medicine’ people, but also by insurance companies (not covering home births or births in birth centers, as was the case with my insurance), doctors, pediatricians (many will refuse to take your child as a patient if they were not born in a hospital birth attended by a doctor), etc.etc. I feel like women who want to make that choice should be able to, just like the mother who wants a planned c-section, or the mother who wants an epidural in the hospital, etc.

Just a thought!!

A says:

Elizabeth,

Though I have no experience with having children and am not planning to have any soon, I agree with you on not letting Baby Oprah be alone with men. I have three sisters and I cannot remember a time when any of us were alone with a man in our childhood. I don’t think this was intentional by my parents, it just happened that way. There was just no reason to.

I do cherish the times I had alone with my grandpa though, like when we would eat ice cream together and he would say, “don’t tell grandma!” and we would giggle. So maybe treat it differently with Baby Oprah’s grandpa. After all, he’s not just some tennis buddy! :)

I don’t agree with LeeLee that Baby Oprah needs to go out into the world to learn who is good and who is bad on her own. What experience does she expect will happen where your child will realize, “oh, that’s a bad guy.”? I don’t see anything wrong with preventative measures here. I doubt she’ll be saying, “Mommy, why don’t you leave me alone with a man?” Baby will learn trust at a young age anyway with her peers in school, on the playground, anywhere little kids go to hang. It seems to me that’s the best place for her to learn that.

But I’m no professional and there’s already one who commented here so I’ll top typing :)

Keep up the great podcasts! You go girl! <3

Masha says:

I don’t think that Leelee was saying that Baby Oprah will figure it out for herself. She was saying that she will grow up seeing who her parents trust to leave her with (e.g. grandparents) and who they don’t (e.g. creepy guy at library).

Masha says:

I understand that you and Andy want to do everything possible to protect your daughter from predators, but I think that Leelee explained very well why there are better routes to take. I can’t imagine the conversation in which you would tell your daughter’s grandfather that he can’t be alone with her. When my cousin’s first son was born, I had no idea how to interact with him, and I was too embarrassed in front of other people to make the silly noises and faces that kids respond to so well. Luckily I started babysitting him and because no one else was around to see me being silly, I was able to relax, go goo-goo and ga-ga and bond with him. Because I had so much time one-on-one with him, we now (he’s 4) have a strong bond. I wouldn’t want your father-in-law to miss out on forming a similar relationship with your daughter.

Another thing to consider is that it’s not only men who commit sexual abuse. The media tends to skew its coverage of molestation by women (e.g. a female high school teacher ‘seduces’ her student but a male high school teacher ‘assaults’ his student), and we tend to interpret the actions of an adult male around children differently than the actions of an adult female. When a woman is hands-on with kids, we consider that nurturing and caring, but when a man is hands-on with kids, we consider that troubling.

Perhaps a better idea is to do everything possible to foster an environment of openness, and as Baby Oprah grows up, show her that you listen and believe what she says.

Megan says:

Masha, you are so right about not only men commit sexual abuse. A friend I am really close too was abused by two women (at different times in their lives). They were afraid to say anything for two reason. One because who would believe them and two because they felt that everyone would assume they asked for it.

I believe the best way to combat sexual abuse especially from family/friends is to keep non-judgmental communication lines open with your child. Explain to them what is appropriate and what is not and that no mater who the person is if something inappropriate happens they need to come tell you.

Megan says:

To the women who feels guilty about having a boy yet wanting a girl. Honestly, I wanted a girl too and ended up with a boy but now I couldn’t image having anyone else in my life. We do all the things I would have done with a girl but I also get the fun of the rough and tumblely too. I think it’s totally normal so don’t stress yourself out about feeling guilty.

Jennifer says:

Elizabeth,

I understand your concern about leaving Baby Oprah alone with a male. I wonder though, would you feel differently if your dad was still alive? Or would the rules apply to him too? I wouldn’t leave my child alone with any man except for my dad. My husband’s dad is deceased but if he were alive, I would be fine leaving my baby alone with him. What about if you had a brother? Or if Andy had a brother (Andy may have a brother, I am not sure)? I think you may feel this way because, while you have close male friends, you don’t have super close male relatives. I would feel the same way you do, if I were in your situation. Love all the podcasts!

Ben says:

I wonder not only, if you were having a boy, would you be comfortable leaving him with a woman who wasn’t you, but are you going to be comfortable leaving baby Oprah with women?

Because as was pointed out, women do sexually abuse.

Trust me.

Elizabeth says:

Understood, and that is an interesting question. My answer is that because we are having a girl and 94% of sexual perpetrators for girls are men (90% of those men are people the family knows, either family or friends), I do feel about 94% more confident leaving her with women to care for her… I’ve given this issue way more thought and definitely want to discuss this further next time Leelee is back on!

Masha says:

I think both of your episodes with Leelee were very interesting; I think she would be a great recurring guest/cohost. I think one of the fun things about Totally Married is that we’ve been able to see your and Andy’s ongoing jokes and to get to know you both well, and it could be cool to have a similar situation with a recurring guest on Totally Mommy. I also love the dynamic of having a different cohost every week, so I think the ideal would be to have lots of new cohosts but then bring a few extra special cohosts back frequently :)

Erin says:

I can’t wait to keep listening to this podcast over the next few years to hear how your thoughts and feelings develop around all these facinating parenting questions! There are so many opinions I had before having my two children that have radically changed – and many that have been vehemently confirmed! -and I really look forward to your reflections Elizabeth.

I have a really different opinion on the “not letting child be with any male other than father.” My husband is an active co-parent of our children, as are many of our male friends, and I think there’s a sad double-standard in action where men who care for children are immediately looked upon with wariness. Our children have been babysat by other fathers in our circle, had play dates with Dads in charge, etc. I guess the key difference here is that they are trusted friends, part of our “village”, and usually more than one adult is around or playdates are short. I wouldn’t be as open with, say, the parent of a kid from kindergarten who I’ve only met once.

Congrats on this podcast, Elizabeth. I love the other two, but to be really honest I didn’t think there’d be much in Totally Mommy to interest me. Sounds odd as I’m a parent but sometimes once your kids are past certain stages you completely lose interest on thinking about that time (eg labour, feeding, sleep, potty training, etc). I was so wrong! Your openness, humour and excellent guests so far have made this so interesting and have made me reflect on this incredible adventure called parenthood.

Sarah says:

Hello Elizabeth.
I just wanted to share my perspective on your plan to keep Oprah only in the care of women. I was raised by a stay-at-home Dad and my parents were stupid protective of me (a neighbor 2 blocks away was rumored to be a child molester). I was never alone with men, even grandpa (who I ended up having no relationship to speak of) and was afraid of all of my friend’s Dads. And my discomfort with men lingers to this day. I have never been comfortable being alone with men that are not my age. Be it my father-in-law or professional consultant I feel very uncomfortable being alone with them. I completely agree with Leelee, you will better serve Oprah by raising her to be open and feel empowered. Good luck.

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