Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Suggestion Box? I've got a place for your suggestions...

I wish parenting came with a pretty little suggestion box. You know, you leave the hospital (new baby tucked into the lastest, side impact resistant, composite infant carrier) and on the way through the front door, a little old lady who raised 15 kids, grandkids and great grandkids gives you a handmade, glitter covered, "SUGGESTIONS HERE" box.

Oh, that'd be helpful. I've got a place for all your suggestions all right.

 I read today, another mom's blog. She was discussing the fact that as parents in the world today, we have a never ending stream of information to digest, filter, and then apply to our own situations.

And she commented on the fact that, as every mother out there knows, someone you love, someone who loves you thinks, "they're doing it all wrong". 

Every other day another study comes out. Don't co- sleep with your kids, it fosters dependence. Co- sleeping with your kids fosters a greater sense of love and self worth. Don't vaccinate- it could cause Autism Spectrum Disorder. Don't vaccinate and you'll be the cause of the next huge pandemic of pertussis (and for MY record, just shut up and vaccinate your children). You'd better be breastfeeding, because the formula could have been made in China with ground up paint chips. Don't breastfeed- wait, no I've never seen anyone say that. But you get the point.

No matter what you choose, every single choice you make as a parent is up for scrutiny by every single person you know. And admit it, you do it too.

I do it. I disagree with some of the choices I see other parents making, thinking to myself, "Oh, God, that's going to bite them in the ass five years from now." But generally, I also know that there are things that I do that might rear up one day and nip my own ass. So, I don't point out 'mistakes' (as I see them) to other parents, because I wouldn't appreciate other people pointing out my failures as a parent (which, I am here to tell you- I don't have. My children are bloody angels).

Because I know how sensitive a mom can be, even when I have a suggestion, I try to make sure the other person understands that I believe it's ONE way; but, I know my way isn't actually the ONLY way. But yeah, I think my way is the best- that's true.

And I try so hard not to judge you for using your own way. Time straightens most all kids out. The way we get a kid from point A (in the here and now) to point B (five years from now) doesn't change the outcome. They will get there, and they won't still be pissing their pants (or being awake all friggin' night long).

I know that there are a thousand ways to sleep train a baby. Or to stop a baby from biting. Or wetting the bed. It goes on and on. I've been lucky to find what works with my children- and it's been different for both the older ones so far. I imagine that it will be different yet for this baby. So, please feel free to share your suggestions with me- IF/ WHEN I BLOODY WELL ASK FOR THEM (or if I don't- you can still tell me, I'm sometimes not smart enough to ask for help when I need it).

With that said, I cannot abide being given advice by people who do not have children of their own.  If you haven't raised a child, from diapers to kindergarten (I also don't want advice from you momma, because it's 30 years out of date- but you did a fantastic job with moi. Love you.) don't share your advice with me.

I heard for years from a childless friend that my older daughter is "bad". She's not. She's energetic, lively, passionate, friendly and loving. Sometimes she's mischievious, but she doesn't have a malicious bone in her entire body. This same friend spent years telling other parents the same thing- that their children were 'bratty', 'too noisy', 'too messy' or all around poorly behaved.  In fact, to listen to that friend, every child under the sun was wretchedly behaved, and should probably be put down for the good of all Mankind.

I don't have an answer to all of the things we were told we did wrong (by this friend without children) but what I do know is that if I took to heart all the criticisms, 'pointers', unsolicited advice, and general helpfulness, I'd believe what this person said. And I'd hate my children as much as she seemed to.

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