Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stop With The Unsolicited Baby Advice!

Pregnancy and parenthood are two things everyone feels is everyone's business. And maybe on the extreme ends of the spectrum that's true. When a person is obviously beating their kid, yeah, it's our business. When a person is smothering their kid to death or spoiling them rotten, yeah, it's probably our business. After all, we have to deal with the consequences of those kinds of choices as a society. Morally in the worst parenting situations we need to step in.

But what about those choices that are a little less societal? What about those micro choices? What about those choices that above all impact the chooser rather than everyone else? Do we have the right to swoop in and offer ridiculous amounts of advice just because something worked for us with one or two kids in our particular context?

That's some bullshit.

Just like every pregnancy is different, and every birth is different, so is every parent. Every family is different because the combination of people involved is unique. Yes, the extremes are of concern. Yes there are generalities we can make (like how eating balanced food and exercise are generally good for everyone - duh! Of course!). HOWEVER, I am not foolhardy enough to go in and say I know what is best for my neighbor. I don't know their kid. I don't know their parenting style. I don't know how they approach conflict or what they value or what their love languages are. How the hell can I come in and give unsolicited advice and think it will be useful, let alone welcome?!

So, let's make sure everyone gets one thing straight: I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I've already made my decisions about what I can do and what I will not do when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. These choices are based on several things:
  1. Personal preference as it relates to communication, life expectations, personal experience, and values.
  2. Research and conclusions by experts in various fields (which believe it or not, includes childbirth, baby gear, sleep training, breastfeeding, and diapering not to mention half a dozen other things!).
  3. Finances - which will be more limited as I will be staying at home rather than working outside the house.
  4. Space - which again is limited because we currently live in a loft apartment.
So, if you have similar preferences to mine AND experience with a tight budget AND having a baby in a small apartment, then yes I want to hear from you. But if you're living in a 5 bedroom house with a 2 car garage, a maid, and over $200k annually, then please - SHUT UP!

Let's get another thing straight: yes I may be a first time mom. Yes I know I don't know everything that will happen or how every single minute of every day of parenthood will be. That said, I've read about all kinds of things. I've done my research, reading experts and studies. I've seen documentaries. I've visited non-profit sites with all kinds of information about all kinds of things. Add to this the fantastic role models I've had (yay Mom and Dad!), and I feel like I'm as prepared as I can possibly be in the developing world.

My kid will be just fine. Yep. Pretty sure about that.

Keep in mind, I've planned for this. This wasn't accidental. I know I'm in for a ride. I know this is life-changing. I'm prepared for that to happen. I've done it before in different ways. I can do this. This is MY party. It's MY experience. Let me have it. If I need help, believe me, I'll ask. I'm not shy. But please, just wait for me to ask!

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