This became my motto when I turned 30. Those people who have known me for a while know why 30 was significant and how that turning point in my life is the foundation for my strength, empowerment, resilience, perseverance, faith, and survival! The motto has especially new meaning for me as a mom. This is a slight rant mixed with unsolicited advice (but it is my blog after all)
When we found out we were going to be parents one of the things we discussed was the amount of unsolicited advice we would receive. We agreed to handle it with grace and openness and take what we wanted to use and leave the rest! I was once one of those young, single, child-less people who had A LOT to say about how people handled their children – Silly me! It is very true (and I teach my students this in various ways) that you cannot really speak on an experience or situation unless you have lived it yourself. Hence my less than gracious attitude lately when people criticize our decisions as parents or say our child is misbehaved. This last one really burns me up!
For friends of parents:
- You are the friends, or auntie, or godmother…whatever your role…you are NOT the parent. Be supportive & understanding. Listen. Offer “advice” only when asked.
- Different strokes for different folks – everyone has her own values and norms and she uses those to guide her parenting & make decisions. You can either respect that or get out of the way. Don’t impose your values and norms on other people. That’s rude! J
- Judge if you want to, but be careful about the judgment you might endure yourself.
- Ask yourself “Why do I care so much about this issue that I feel the need to offer my advice?” Is the child being harmed? If not, then what you have to say may not matter that much.
For the parents:
- Take a DEEP breath.
- Be gracious and firm. Listen to what people say, it may be useful, you may learn something & if not smile and move on.
- Be careful not to do unto others what you don’t want done to you – don’t offer unsolicited advice or judge others’ parenting styles
- Immerse yourself in the love and joy of your own family – time flies quickly as I am learning – and in the end….all you got is yourself, your partner, & your child (children). Don’t spend time wallowing in anger over what someone said to you about your parenting style. Go back to #1 on this list.
- Empowerment isn’t just for individuals, it applies to couples & families as well. Be an empowered family!
We’ve been under scrutiny for some of the decisions we make – many of which are small things that shouldn’t even matter to anyone else (for example: we try to stick to a schedule of eating & sleeping – it’s important to us – as older parents especially for our sanity & well-being and that of our child….and I shouldn’t even have to explain it, even in a blog!). Anyway…we just keep doing what we know is best for us, try to smile, breathe deeply, laugh about the advice & criticism at home, and keep loving each other and our Miracle Boy!
I challenge you to live YOUR best life, when you do so you have less time to worry about what other people are doing.
Thanks to our friends who let us to what works best for us!