This past weekend was full of family, friends, love and laughter. There is/was no better way to spend my time. We were blessed with an abundance of small children excitedly exploring a new house. We got to meet our newest nephew and celebrate our three year-old niece’s birthday. The kiddos who were here ranged in age from 4 months to 23 years ( and one of the best parts of the weekend is that I had all three of mine under one roof!). There. Was. No. Better. Way. To. Spend. My. Time.
Stan and I have the oldest kids by far on his side of the family. We were well-versed in parenthood and all of pitfalls and pride that goes along with it before the next grandchild came along. Zach was 14, Lucas was 11 and Claire was 9 when we welcomed the first of four new cousins. So we have a very unique perspective in this family of ours. I get to pitch in when needed, sit back when not and just enjoy.
So, I sat watching and listening to my sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law talking about their roles as mamas and daddies. It brought back so many memories and feelings about raising our three. What we did really right and what we did horribly wrong. What I’d like to do over and what I don’t miss. Where I screwed up and where I flourished. The stories…all of the stories of my kiddos’ childhoods strolled through my memories as I sat watching and listening.
I think I’ve told you before that I no longer feel my kiddos’ stories are mine to share. This blog has shriveled because of it. When I do tell their stories I ask first, making sure they’re okay with being part of my narrative. But when I sat with the little ones and heard their parents telling stories about others interjecting with unsolicited advice, it hit me…that’s what I need to do here. Make this a blog of unsolicited advice. Unlike direct forms of unsolicited advice, this blog can be read or ignored, depending on how you feel about my bit of guidance for the day.
Today’s piece of advice. Ignore unsolicited advice. I’m shooting myself in the foot here, I know, but hear me out…you have to parent in a way that’s right for you and your family. As long as there’s no abuse, you should feel free to parent in a way that feels right and natural to you. Some say co-sleeping is a the worst idea out there. Others think that 12 Hours by 12 Weeks is a horror show. There are benefits to both ideas. You just have to go with what feels right for both you and your spouse as you learn to navigate all the roles of parenthood.
Years ago, when one of my sisters-in-law was in the throes of baby-hood, diapers, wipes, lack of sleep and pumping breastmilk for her baby, she received a very unsolicited piece of advice from a (I think) well-intentioned soul. She needed to stop pumping right away, they told her. It wasn’t good for her, they said. She told them it was the best for her baby. It’s taking up too much time, they countered. She was at a loss for words when she and I talked about it. I told her she had to do what she felt was right for her and her baby. And to ignore the (possibly) well-meaning piece of advice.
New parents and old all get bombarded by unsolicited advice at so many stages of their kids’ lives. I chose and still choose to ignore most of it and do what I feel is right for our family. I know we haven’t do everything right, and we are by no means perfect, but I do know my kiddos are pretty okay even though I ignored what others have told me to do when I haven’t sought their counsel.
Oh, for the love of my children…
Welcome to my newish blog. You’ll still hear stories about me, my family and stories I get permission to tell. But for the most part, I’ll take what I hear and observe and craft it into well-intentioned, unsolicited advice at every turn. If you want to interject on something you see or hear, send me a message and we’ll spin something together!