I have more friends who are older than I am than those that are younger. I feel that this trend exists because I value those that have more experience than I do. When I was hired into a new department at work, I chose my desk very carefully. I was told that the desk next to Mike was vacant because he was extremely loud and this made it difficult to concentrate. But, his vast knowledge of the systems, and his 8+ years of experience made his neighboring spot my destination of choice. I never once regretted sitting next to Mike, I absorbed anything he had to say and I thrived because of it. To me nothing is more valuable than learning from someone’s hard work and experience. So please do not misunderstand my passion on this subject. I want to talk about advice, not all of it, just one kind–unsolicited advice.
I am so exhausted and fed up with people’s unsolicited advice on how I choose to raise my child. I have grown reluctant to talk to anyone about my choices for feeding, sleeping, diapering, or general care of my child. I dread speaking to other parents about child-rearing because I know it will come down to a fierce defense of my choices. “Oh you shouldn’t co-sleep. That’s so dangerous!” No, I disagree. People have been co-sleeping for millennia. Dangerous is my having this conversation with someone. It infuriates me when people accuse me, however indirectly, of not caring for my child. My wife and I have spent countless hours researching everything baby-care related and will continue to do so.
We have made so many sacrifices for our squish that comments like, “Oh no, you’re still breastfeeding” and, “Your child needs real food” makes my blood boil. I want to ask what information they are siting. Who is your expert you are quoting? My child is chunky and it’s not because he’s starving to death.
We choose our methods because we know what is best for our child. Maybe not your child, but hey, how’s this, “I won’t tell you how to raise your kids and you can reciprocate for me.” Granted, when I was younger, I had my ideas about how I would raise children, and I have judged others for their choices. I was harsh and self-righteous about how my brother raised his kids, so maybe I deserve a little of what I’m getting.
Part of growing up is learning from your mistakes and moving forward. I see how foolish I was and wish those that don’t have kids would keep their opinions to themselves! I don’t care if you’re a babysitter or if your friends have kids–it’s completely different from being a parent. And those that do have kids, shame on you! You should know better. You hate unsolicited advice probably as much as I do.
Again, it’s not all advice or opinions I take offense to. I do value a second opinion when I ask for it. I’m not perfect since everything I know came from someone else, but it’s my turn now. This is my life and I get to make the choices that are best for my family and live with them. So, show a little respect for others and just keep it to yourself.
Now, if I ask for help or advice that’s different. In that case, please feel free to share.