No Kids? Giving Parental Advice? Please stop!
We’ve all heard the advice before. “It’s easy, all you have to do is,”…. “she would sleep through the night if you just,”…. “he wouldn’t act that way if you simply….” Unsolicited advice from kid-less people that have no idea what its like to be a mom 24/7. Are these tidbits of advice mere speculation? Have they just pulled them out the sky? Sure, they have may have babysat recently or remembered what strategy worked 20 years ago on their baby brother. But until they have a child of their own, and deal with the day in and day out exhaustion of being a parent, they will truly never understand my struggle.
The fact is, I really don’t blame them. Believe it or not, I used to be that advice-soliciting bystander who didn’t know what I didn’t know. Before kids, everything seemed simple. I remember thinking, “it honestly can’t be that hard. You want them to behave? Oh that’s an easy formula.” Before kids, I had it all planned out. I would never know of these motherhood vents because my child would be sleeping through the night at 2 weeks. My child would definitely never talk back or have the audacity to mumble under his breath. Do they know who I am? And certainly never tantruming in public! Oh no, hunty. That is grounds for some severe consequences and repercussions! Let’s just cut to the chase, my kids would be pretty much perfectly behaved at all times. Why? Because I’m a no-nonsense person and I’ll be a no-nonsense mom!
List of things my imaginary children did:
- slept all night at 2 weeks
- always behaved perfectly
- never talked back
LOL! The joke is on me!
I’m embarrassed to have uttered or even conjured up those ridiculous pieces of advice. Oh how reality truly set in once I had kids of my own! My children are definitely not the ones I signed up for in my early know-it-all fantasy. Who knew kids could be so unpredictable? Like, really? Or that the discipline method that worked last week expired and is no longer effective? Who knew that 3 different kids with 3 different personalities may just require 3 different discipline techniques? I want to reach back, grab my former self, and shake me until I understood that motherhood is totally unpredictable and not as easy as I thought. And I can throw my perfect little list goodbye!
I had no idea that getting my kids to sleep through the night is comparable to brain surgery, and that I would be desperately looking for the nearest glass of wine to get my entire life together! Or that dealing with a mouthy teenager would make me want to pull my hair out. Not to mention, if I catch my 2 year-old on a bad day, he just may forget who I am and lay down in the grocery store, kicking his feet in the air. Mommying is so freaking exhausting! I want to reach back and tell my former self, “You. Have. No. Idea.” I spent many days pondering my very being and how I ended up off-course from my pre-parenting fantasy. The truth is simple: children are unpredictable and so is motherhood. And I’m not perfect! So for non-parents that feel the need to donate their know-it-alls, please cut us some slack and stop! It’s all love though!