Parents, Stop Parenting Other Parents

It never ceases to amaze me how people ignore or completely throw out the idea of social norms when it comes to parents. Fellow moms and dads, so-called experts and relatives don’t hesitate to offer advice and seem to love to tell people how to do their job as parents. It’s weird to me. I mean, you’d never go up to a married couple and say, “Hey! You guys should limit each other’s screen time and also, only use positive words when you converse.” So why is it cool to tell another parent how to do navigate their own relationship with their child?

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see an article, infographic, or status update on Facebook that tells me I’m doing something wrong as a parent. This week’s list: don’t give your kids Red 40 food dye, don’t have an epidural, don’t let your kids wear a coat in their car seat, don’t spank your child, don’t buy your kids gender specific toys, and don’t let your baby cry it out. Don’t, don’t, don’t. So many don’ts.

Why are we so fixated on telling each other what we shouldn’t do? Why are we so quick to point out what each other is doing wrong? Is it so we can feel better about our own decisions? I hear it or read it everyday. We are policing and parenting each other rather than focusing on our own kids and our own struggles. The rules that you have in your house won’t necessarily work for mine. The rules for my kids may make everyone in your house crazy.

Parenting is the toughest job I’ve ever done. The worst part is I won’t see the main results of all of my hard work until years down the line. I’m constantly worried that I’m screwing it all up without all of the criticism from other people. I don’t need the help.

You had a natural childbirth sans epidural? That’s impressive. I gave birth to an eight pound baby after my epidural wore off and I never want to do that without drugs again. I felt no magic and awe that you speak of. I felt pain and wanted to die. But, I respect your crazy. Please respect mine. Don’t tell me I’m a bad mom and drugged my baby for selfish reasons. I was a better mom, more quickly with the juice. That’s just how I work. And you work differently. That’s cool.

The same goes for every other argument. My girls love pink. We buy pink toys. Your boy likes pink? Cool! Get him the pink stuff too! Need to let Junior cry safely in his crib so you can pull yourself together? You do what you need to do to survive, fellow parent.

In 2015, let’s shift how we talk to each other about parenting. Instead of all of the “don’ts”, let’s shift to building each other up with the positive. Our kids aren’t going to be the ones who say “Hey Dad! You did a great job teaching me how be a better listener. Thanks for that time out.” So, I’ll do it. You should too. When we see our parent friends and even random strangers doing an awesome job with their kids in a tough situation, tell them. Let’s build each other up in times of triumph rather than seeking all of the things we see each other doing wrong. Cuz let’s be honest, we’re all messing this up in our own unique way. ALL OF US.

We should probably just start crowd funding our kids’ therapy now, right?

Tagged: parenting

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