One thing I’ve noticed in the ten years since I’ve become a parent is that parents really like to tell other parents how to be parents.
Some of this advice – while not solicited – is well warranted. Some of this advice is passed on from well meaning place.
And some of this advice is simply given to give the giver a sense of serious superiority.
The common thread I have found that connects all of the advice giving and parenting banter is the continuing need to justify what has been said. To back up where the wisdom comes from. To validate. But why do we need the validation?
I say we don’t. I believe that we can change the tone of our conversations with each other by simply eliminating a few key phrases from our vocabulary. So here – in no particular order – are the 3 phrases I believe parents need to stop using:
Don’t get me wrong I love my kids…but…
I am pretty sure all parents are guilty of saying this one. And guilt is the driving factor behind it. We shouldn’t feel the need to add this preamble when we want to talk about how tough being a parent is – because it is tough. And it’s also human nature – however wrong – for us to want to share our negative experiences more than our positive ones.
When it comes to the ups and downs of raising children I totally understand why we want to share the negatives more. It’s because we crave understanding. We need others to say that this too shall pass. We need to gather hope from other parents that have been where we are.
I think it’s time we owned up to that need with out adding the caveat about loving our kids. For the most part we know that the good outweighs the bad here. That we didn’t make a huge mistake having kids. So drop the preamble and let’s get right to the part where we tell each other its all going to be okay.
It’s not that I’m complaining but…
Stop right there because I know where this one is going. You are about to complain. And I for one believe that you should never lead off a complaint by saying you are not complaining.
As parents – hell as people! – we have a lot to complain about. There is always something that isn’t going our way. Someone that is letting us down. And so please…feel free to complain about said things. Let me commiserate with you. Let us suffer in this together.
Let free your complaints…and let’s start calling a spade a spade.
I’m not saying I know better but…
Let me guess…you do it differently and find it works better for you. I knew it! Parents, can we just stop with this one? Like really.
I don’t mind you sharing with me how you might choose to do said thing – be it sleeping arrangements or food prep or breastfeeding or discipline or whatever – but please don’t be so naive to think that your way is the best way for everyone. Just…no.
Parenthood is a club with millions of members. There is no crazy initiation ceremony required, there is no application review process.
This not-so exclusive club has members from all over the world and from all walks of life – and sometimes the only common thread we have between us is that we produced offspring.
So let’s stop the sugar coating and the prefacing of the things we say to each other. Parenting isn’t easy…and none of us are doing it perfectly. But if we can own our imperfections and find support in each other it’s going to make the experience a lot more enjoyable.
I’m not saying I know better…but…