(Because it is the week of my son’s 2nd birthday)
Everybody loves parenting advice… said no one ever.
When you are pregnant everyone loves receiving parenting advice… strike that… Everyone loves giving advice… almost always unsolicited. It must either be the feeling of connection or possibly the sadistic nature we all have deep inside . “Don’t wish your time away” … “they’re only little once” … “ You’ll never sleep again…” Are classics in the bag of “good advice” you may receive or give if you have ever had a small child.
But is this advice really helpful? Are we really focusing on the right things?
Having a newborn is no joke. Having a newborn with colic is a joke. No it’s not really but when you utter colic in a sentence it is always followed with.. Oh yeah I hear that’s no fun. (Again, unsolicited feedback)… The past year I have had a permanent scab on my tongue for the amount of times I have had to bite it. But now that I have survived a year it’s my turn to dish out… so ready or not here it comes-
“You’ll never sleep again…”
The most common and most unhelpful. That is like dumping a container of salt into a gaping wound. Do you think anyone wants to hear they are going to be an insomniac forever? It’s awful, it’s cruel, and who cares if it’s true… Can’t we lie and say- they will sleep? Give these poor folks a chance at some sort of hope? I mean they could be in the small margin of parents that do have “good sleepers” (whatever that means).
“They’re only little once..”
Does this mean that they aren’t as good when they get older? I resent this statement. I believe this harvests an obsession with babies and not the whole person. BABIES GROW UP TO BE ADULTS… who would have thought? Let’s focus on the full life trajectory and maybe we will raise babies that grow to be adults who are well adjusted– just a thought.
“Don’t wish your time away..”
Time is precious… this is true. But there are moments you will want to wish away. Times when your baby is crying uncontrollably, nights when insomnia overcomes, and moments of complete brokenness. Wish these moments away– hell’ repress them because they are painful… but in these moments find something to hold onto – baby in your arms, the feeling of your sheets even if it’s for a moment, and how your body feels when it’s whole.
Unsolicited advice sucks- all the cliches are true… But maybe what’s best is that we should just keep our thoughts to ourselves.
Abigail teaches 5th grade science and math to her fabulous kiddos in Cincinnati. She earned her BA at Judson University in Chicago-land and is working on her Masters in Teaching at Miami University through the Ohio Writing Project. She has a passion for integrating writing and reading into all contents. She loves coffee about as much as her husband and baby son… and is a self-proclaimed lifetime learner. Catch up with daily happenings and ramblings on Twitter @mrsablund via email Abigaillund@foresthills.edu or check out other writings by Abigail https://movingwriters.org/category/abigail-lund/