As soon as I announced I was pregnant for the first time, the parenting advice from family and friends started rolling in…
Do this… Don’t do that… Buy this… Oh, you won’t need that… And on and on and on…
And so began the sleepless nights from worrying about how we were ever going to be able to raise these 2 precious little babies… Before they were even born!!!
Then once the babies were born, the barrage of advice seemed to get worse!
I started noticing “mothering & parenting advice” articles and posts EVERYWHERE! So now we were getting advice from people we didn’t even know! Some were written in a way that made me feel all lovey-dovey on the inside, but others made me feel not so great…
But with Chaz around, my partner in this whirlwind parenting gig we landed, I was able to handle it. To brush it off. To feel confident that despite what these articles said, we were doing OK. Our kids were doing fine. There was no need to worry… At least not too much… 🙂
Was it stressful? Of course. Were we tired? Obviously. Did we question ourselves? Sure.
But together, we could do it. As a team.
Oh, how the tides have changed…
Since Chaz died, I am an absolute hot mess of crazy! I am all over the place. I am lost. I don’t know which way is up. I am barely hanging on…
Losing him has obviously affected EVERY PART of my life. So much more than most people realize. Really, you have no idea how widespread a loss like this is felt, until your world shatters down around you, and absolutely NOTHING is the same.
And that brings me back to those “advice” articles floating around out there…
Specifically, the articles that tell people exactly how to parent. That we all need to stop doing this. That we all need to start doing that. That all the parents who do X, Y, and Z drive all the other parents crazy… They aren’t written as suggestions or tips. They are written as ‘rules’ that parents HAVE to follow.
Reading those articles makes me feel like I’m doing everything wrong, that I’m a horrible parent, and my children are going to turn out to be terrible people.
I wish they didn’t have that affect on me. I know I’m overly sensitive and incredibly vulnerable right now. I try to remind myself that they aren’t targeted towards me personally. That the authors don’t know me. And they clearly do not understand my situation.
But still… Each one hurts. And I just don’t bounce back the way I used to. I no longer have my support, my rock, to hang on to when I start to feel this way. So they bring me down… I mean, way down… Like spiraling out of control…
And it takes days, if not weeks, to recover and attempt to regain my footing in the world of mothering. In fact, I don’t think I’ve recovered from one that I read months ago.
So I try hard to just avoid these articles completely. To not even open them. To ignore the headline. But sometimes curiosity gets the best of me. Why does this article keep popping up over and over and over again in my feed? What does it have to say?
And then down I go…
Don’t get me wrong, there are still articles out there that help pull me out of that never ending pit of despair. That make me feel like I’m not alone in my insecurities. I’m not alone in my “flaws.” Each of these provide a grip for me to grab on to, even if it’s only by my pinky finger, and lift me up just a teeny, tiny bit.
But I just don’t read enough of them.
I need to find more…
The roller-coaster of emotions these articles take me on has taught me 6 reasons why I just won’t give parenting advice.
6 Reasons Why I WON’T Give Parenting Advice:
1) I don’t know what I’m doing. Seriously. Absolutely no idea! The girls are almost 2-and-a-half years old, so I’m relatively new to this whole parenting thing. And I have a feeling that each milestone they hit is going to bring on another wave of “newness.” Since I have no clue what I’m doing, I definitely have no authority to tell others what to do!
2) The way others raise their kids doesn’t really affect me. For example, it doesn’t affect me if someone brings their crying 2-year-old into bed with them, just so they can get a few hours of sleep. There are plenty of other examples of this type of thing, like breastmilk vs. formula, cloth vs. disposable, ‘cry it out’ vs. whatever the other option is, attachment parenting, baby led weaning, and on and on and on… If it works, then go for it. It has no affect on me, and really, why should I have any say in such personal matters anyway?
3) I don’t know other parents’ personal situations. Are they dealing with finances, job stress, divorce, single parenting, grief, health issues, etc? Situations that I have no experience with and therefore no idea how they might affect parenting. Kids are different, families are different, struggles are different. And all of that affects what people need to do in order to raise their kids. Parenting isn’t a “one size fits all” type of thing. What works for me, might not work for someone else.
4) I’m not an expert. The only thing I know is how my kids are. I haven’t had years of schooling on the parenting subject. I’ve never done any studies or research on children and parenting. I haven’t even had years of experience with kids! I just know what I’ve experienced with my own kids over the last 2.5 years. And it’s probably not the same as what others have experienced (see #3).
5) I have enough to worry about with my own parenting skills. I just can’t spend energy worrying about other parents’ skills as well.
6) My kids aren’t perfect and neither am I. So how can I tell others that my way is the “right way.” ‘Nuff said.
That’s right, you won’t be getting any parenting advice from me! Even if you solicit advice, I’m just going to tell you what I have done and how it did or didn’t work out for me. Or you might just get a shrug of the shoulders and I’ll tell you I have no clue, but let me know what you find out! 🙂
Because that’s how I feel supported. Not by being told that this is the right way and that is wrong way. But by being given tips and tricks. Things that might possibly be helpful, with the understanding that it might not work out for everyone.
Basically, I don’t like to be told HOW to parent, so I’m not going to tell you how either!
And if you ever hear me starting to talk like that, just give me a swift kick to the leg and tell me to get off my high horse. 🙂 I’ll come down and apologize for thinking I know what’s best for you!
How do you feel about parenting advice? Leave me a comment and let me know!