To all of my friends with children, I’d like to apologize for all of the parenting advice I have suggested over the years. Now that I am a mom, I understand how unsolicited advice can be very unhelpful, or even hurtful. The biggest challenge with parenting advice is this: every child is different and every parent is different. So what works with one child and one parent, may not necessarily work with another. Of course as a new parent we do often ask other parents for advice and guidance, which can be very helpful. Yet, I believe that we would be best to save our comments about other parents’ styles of parenting to ourselves. I have been guilty of expressing my unsolicited opinions to many friends – especially over the past 10 months (now that I am a mom too) and I commit to holding back my advice and opinions unless asked.
For example, my DD is adorable according to most people. Yet most people don’t see her when she’s not – when she’s really tired or hungry, or when she’s cutting a tooth or has a little cold. Or even when she’s just missing mommy (see previous post) or daddy. And in those moments, she can be very difficult to deal with. We’ve tried to just let her cry it out, but that doesn’t seem to work for her. The last time we tried it was in the bath – for some reason she currently has a new fear of the bath (loves the pool and the shower) and starts to cry as soon as you put her in the water. She cried so hard (I was trying desperately to wash her) that she vomited her dinner into the tub. That took less than 5 min. And it’s not the first time that’s happened. So, unfortunately for us, letting her cry it out to fall asleep just isn’t going to work for our baby.
I find that many of the comments and advice are very judgmental, as if I’ve done something wrong as a parent because of a certain behaviour my child has. Yes, I agree that children do need to learn how to fall asleep – it’s a skill – and in my mind, my DD has learned a lot and come a long way since she was a 3 month old who didn’t know how to nap. Yet I still get comments about how she doesn’t go down easily or nap very well compared to other babies. Who cares? Really – this comparison between babies has got to stop! We have to be understanding of the different challenges we all go through and accept that it might be different for someone else’s child!!
The bottom line here is that parenting advice is best left to the so called “experts” because at least with a book or a website, you can choose to read it or listen to it. Unsolicited advice from friends, not that welcome. Sharing stories about how you got through challenging parenting situations – more than welcome! Giving advice when someone asks for it – even better. And remembering that we are all individuals with different personalities and parenting styles, most important of all. Share your stories below!