December 13, 2011

The Joy of Parenting Opinions*

With the impending arrival of Baby Boho [seriously. Just about 12 weeks to go. Yikes!] I've started reaching out to friends and family with random questions that I have. The books don't answer everything and I've found that sometimes it's nice to have personal experience from friends that are already moms.

At least I thought that in the beginning.

Holy opinions, people.

While most of the people in my life have been very pleasant and neutral when I ask for some advice, and generally stick to the topic at hand, there have been others that have veered WAY off course, and frankly have been kind of rude about things. The general consensus has been what works for some does not work for all, and do what's right for your family. And I appreciate that. There are some things that I am going to have to be flexible on when baby arrives, and I definitely know that. I am not going into all of this with a set plan and structure on how I'm going to take care of our baby after he/she comes. Because let's face it. Even for an OCD freak like myself who likes to have everything planned out, I know that's unrealistic. Flexibility will be the key word of EVERY day life for us.

But there are some issues that to me seem a little bit bigger. Things that are non-negotiable in our book [because these are definitely thinks both M & I have agreed on] and things I am not willing to budge on. And those seem to be the hottest topics of everything. For instance, Attachment Parenting. I would like to say that if you practice Attachment Parenting and it works for you, that is awesome. Whatever you do to get through the day of raising a child, and whatever makes you and your family happy is totally OK by me. I am not here to judge or cast down on a mother for doing things differently than I would. Because let's face it ... then none of us would ever get along. But this is one of those BIG TICKET ITEMS on our list that we just won't budge on. I don't believe in co-sleeping. I believe in a routine. I believe in set bedtimes. I believe in having a space that my husband and I can call our own [especially since the military takes him away enough as it is] and not sharing that space with our child. I will also admit that I am totally selfish and LOVE my expensive fluffy pillows and down comforters. Not things I want to give up. And I feel that as a parent-to-be that is my right. But damn ... if some people don't get hot and heavy over this issue! Again, if it works for you that it awesome. Seriously. No judgement here. But M & I feel VERY strongly about not doing these things because of how we currently live our life. And this is not something that will change, despite what others may tell me.

I also, believe it or not, LIKE working and having a job. And, once baby comes along, I realize that leaving him/her in the care of somebody else for eight hours a day while I go back to work [because I will be going back to work full-time] will be hard and painful and a difficult adjustment after taking 12 weeks off. But, I like working. And it's what I want to continue to do. So I will make the best of what will surely be a really hard situation and tough it out. Because that's what will work for us. Being a stay at home mom has never appealed to me. It works for some, and I know a lot of GREAT women who don't work and raise their kids. My mom was one of them and I have nothing but the utmost respect for her because the four of us were rowdy! But is it for me? Nah. I have a hard time taking a week vacation, going nowhere and having the freedom to do whatever I want, before I get bored and am itching to go back to work. But to make me feel like I am a bad person for not wanting to spend every waking minute [and sleeping minute!] with my child isn't fair. At all! Because again, what works for some does not work for all.

And good lord, if I hear "you'll change your mind after the baby comes" one more time, I very well might explode. Because on certain things, yes. I might. What bottles we use. If we decide to supplement with formula or not. What type of cloth diaper we decide to go with. Whether the kid naps in the bassinet or the swing. Those are the type of things that I am willing to be flexible on. But what I don't understand is why it's so hard for other people [and again, I don't mean everyone. I have heard both sides of the spectrum through from many, many people] to accept that certain things we won't budge on. Because that's what works for us.

It's amazing how strongly people feel about some of these opinion. I promise I'm not trying to be bitchy [despite the incredibly bitchy mood that I'm in today] but just wanted to comment on how incredible and different opinions are when it comes to being a parent, or in this case, a parent to be. It has made me think differently about how I'll reach out to friends in the future, and how I'll address certain situations with them. I realize that when you ask for advice, you should expect all sides of it, but I think there is a difference between giving an opinion and shoving an opinion down someone's throat!

How about you? Do you have any situations where something has been forced on you despite your feelings on the subject matter? Or have people always typically been very kind and thoughtful when offering advice? Have you veered away from asking for advice from other parents, like I will likely start doing? Or have your experiences all been great that you can't wait to ask more questions?


Julie @ Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life said...

I really don't like asking for parenting advice from people anymore. Well that isn't totally true. I guess it depends on the person. But in general. You are seeing early on that almost everyone has an opinion about everything. I have even gotten into a stupid argument over sippy I mean it never really does end. There is always something to debate. You just have to stand your ground and say, "This is what is working for our family, butt out."

Jessa said...

I did such a mix of this and that and it was different with each kid. I think people forget that asking for advice is different from asking people how it must be done. There's just no one way to this parenting business. Both of my kids were so different that I did a lot of things completely different with them and they were only 22.5 months apart.

Tsoniki Crazy Bull said...

I am sure I asked my Mom and Grandma for advice on specific things ("the baby won't nurse and my boobs hurt, what do I do") but that's it. I raise my kids how I raise them. *shrug*

I did have friends ask me and comment about how laid back I was/am about parenting. That is a funny statement because I was a controlling/bossy firstborn/older sister. I grew out of that controlling-ness as I got older (though just tonight one of my brothers called me bossy) but my Mom has said she worried about me having kids because I was so controlling.

Anyway, to my friends I always say do what you have to do. They are your kid. It's nice to know that cabbage on the boobs will help, but I don't need anyone telling me how to raise my kid and attempt to make life decisions for me.

I raise kids how I was raised, which I think was pretty darn good ;) but I know I raise kids different then my MIL did. And because of that I never asked her questions! I helped raise my nieces and nephews (in the sense of being there when they were born, and being young at the time, babysitting, being a close family, etc.) so I have always been fine around kids. Maybe I always knew what I was going to do with the big decisions. I nursed because I was going to, but when JW was born I couldn't nurse and then asked for bottle suggestions and formula suggestions and wow he only ate one ounce is that really enough questions. People gave me tons of "advice" during that time. That proved that I didn't want advice, I just wanted an answer to the question I had. LOL

Heather said...

Yes I agree, people get very opiniated about raising children. I normally keep quiet and keep my opinions to myself. Smile and nod works for me.
About going back to work: aah, I really don't want to but we have to pay the bills. This is the reality unfortnately.

Anonymous said...

It is so true how rude some people can be when giving (sometimes unwarranted and unasked for) parenting advice. After a while I learned to laugh about it. My favorite was when someone would say "Oh just wait until the baby comes (fill in the blank)". D and I still laugh when we hear people say "just wait" about something.

Also, asking for advice doesn't mean you have to take it either. :-)

DanL' said...

I don't ask, I just do what I want and don't care if people judge me for it. Unless I have questions about a specific product that I'm not familiar with. Because of T working nights people assume that we keep our kids up at all hours so they can see him whenever. We do quite the opposite. They go to bed at 7, regardless of when dad wakes up that day. Because I need those few hours at the end of the day for just me and to be a wife, and so I can reboot and do it all again the next day. At our Christmas party last weekend you should have seen the looks I got from other wives of guys on T's shift. They couldn't believe that I dind't keep the kids up until he leaves for work like the majority of them do. Or that they don't sleep in our bed. Or that I was induced with all three of them (that's always a hot topic). At the end of the day my kids just need to know that I love them and that we do what works for our family. You're a great person Brittany and you'll be a great mom too! ...and I hope that I've never made you feel that that way. Sometimes I get mom tunnel vision.

DanL' said...

Also, I know you're that your not questioning whether or not you'll be a great mom. I just wanted to say that I thought you would be because I hadn"t said that yet. I'm always worried about how my "tone" comes acrost in writing.

Sunny said...

Most bizarre parenting advice I was ever given: Don't kiss your baby's cheeks, it will give them acne. TOTAL HORSESHIT. Best parenting advice I wish I had gotten: trust your instincts, YOU DO know what is best for you and your baby. xo