As a young mom, I often get lectured by all kinds of people who think they have enough parenting experience or knowhow to tell me how to raise my daughter. Honestly, many do have that credibility and I'm more than happy to learn from the best, but others, well, do not. I know most people just want to be helpful (usually) and I appreciate it most days. However, there are things, as a mom in her 20s, that I'm tired of hearing from other moms, regardless of their intentions or how much motherhood experience they have under their proverbial belt.
When I was pregnant, I was in my sophomore year of college. I had people from my family, my church, my clubs and organizations on campus, my professors, and even my friends give me unsolicited advice. After I had my daughter, it only got worse. The insurmountable amount of information I received came in waves, and it was difficult to determine which suggestions were helpful and which ones were, well, not. I quickly learned that I had to stand firm and just ignore any unwanted advice but I can't lie and say it was easy, because it wasn't.
Even though I learned to implement this technique and it has served me well since, there are still times that I receive unwanted advice from other, older, more "experienced" moms. I know I'm not alone, so if we could all just collectively agree that the following things won't be said to moms in their 20s anymore, that would be awesome.
"I Was Your Age, Being A Mom Was The Last Thing I Wanted"
Um, well, OK then? I understand that my choice to become a mom at what many may consider a "young age" isn't a choice everyone would make, but subtly shaming that choice doesn't do anyone any good. Maybe some people my age aren't ready for children, but others, like myself, definitely are.
"When My Children Were Little, The Doctors Told Us To Do This..."
Things have changed and science has evolved and what was recommend over the years based on research has, well, been altered (and usually for very good reason). I would much rather listen to what the doctor is telling me now, than what your doctor told you five or twenty years ago. Besides, each child is different, who's to say that's what will work for my child or what she even needs? This is especially true as you are just figuring out your child's medical status (as in they have ADHD, asthma, or something else that could require medicine).
"Oh, I Remember That Stage All Too Well"
Well, then, um, a little help?
"They'll Grow Out Of It Soon, Don't Worry"
I know that. Really, I do. Scholastic has even written books and articles on how children truly do grow out of stages like "mine, mine, mine" and "now". Hearing it, though, doesn't make going through those phases any easier. I mean, the knowledge that something will change, but isn't going to anytime soon, is almost agonizing.
"When My Children Were That Age, They Were Allowed To Sit Forward Already"
I remember sitting forward without a booster seat too, and in the front seat no less. Does that mean I'm going to ignore updated safety warnings and precautions? Absolutely not. Children are encouraged to remain in rear facing car seats until they are at least two or three years of age. My daughter will be following those safety suggestions, thank you very much.
"I Would Never Have Done That With My Kids"
We are different people, so good for you, but I'm going to do what works best for me and my family. Just because it is something you chose not to do, does not mean that it is "wrong" or "bad" or that I shouldn't try it. Every child is different, every parent is different and different parenting styles may work better for some children. That's fine if you would have done something else, but this is what I am choosing to try and I think we'd both be better off if we just respected and supported those decisions.
"My Children Never Acted This Way"
That's great for you! Not all kids are the same. I wouldn't expect that your child would act exactly like my daughter. If all children acted the same, life would be awfully boring. It's a pretty cool thing to watch how they all act, interact, and think differently, isn't it? It doesn't mean that one is bad and the other is good or anything. It simply means that they are different.
Plus, you're out of your mind or you're lying if you think there's a kid in the world that hasn't, at one time or another, thrown a tantrum. It's normal, people. It happens.
"This Is What I Did And It Absolutely Was And Is The Only Thing That Will Work"
I may keep a particular suggestion in mind, if what I want to try does not, in fact, work. However, just because you parented that way and feel it is the best way to parent, does not mean that my way is wrong or that it is automatically doomed to fail. In fact, it may even take a few tries before I find the best way to parent for me and my daughter. It may be your way; it may not be, but I will choose what I deem best for my family, not you.
"How Do You Have Time To Do Everything You Do And Spend Time With Your Child?"
Just because I'm a busy mom who has work, college, and other organizations I'm a part of on campus, does not mean that I neglect, ignore, or do not spend time with my daughter. In fact, it's the exact opposite. She is my first priority (always) and I never cease to make room in my incredibly busy schedule to spend time with her. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it exhaust me? Absolutely. But what part of being a mom isn't exhausting? And to me, it's all worth it for time with my daughter.