Shaleen is a proud mom to Leo, a lover of iced coffee year round and the dessert bring-er to every occasion. She blogs over at www.bagofflour.com and she’d love it if you stopped by!
It’s no secret that parents are bombarded with all kinds of unsolicited advice from everyone we encounter as soon as we make the big announcement. Then, as soon as our child is born, the criticism really begins. All my life I’ve tended to worry too much about what others think and unfortunately, this was beginning to bleed into how often I accepted other’s opinions while raising my first child.
Recently I read a post on Instagram from Rachel Hollis, of Girl, Wash Your Face fame. It read, “You’re going to have to make the decision that other people don’t get to weigh in here. That means you will stand up for yourself and understand that someone who’s sitting in the cheap seats doesn’t get to tell you how to fight in the ring. If you’re not out here on the field, if you’re not fighting for more, if you’re not running these miles with me or writing these words with me or making new habits with me or eating this kale with me— if you’re not in the game with me, then you don’t get to call any plays, and you darn sure don’t get to offer negative comments about the work I’m putting in!”
When I read this, I immediately thought about where that advice could apply in my life at the moment: motherhood. People give us grief about all of our choices, from gender reveals and epidurals to formula feeding and screen time. I’ve always felt an obligation to take advice to heart just because someone meant well, or it was a family member or simply because they were older or had more kids than I did. But here’s the truth. Unless those people are actually alongside you raising your child, day in and day out, through the good AND bad, you are not required to take their advice or treat their opinions as gospel.
If someone criticizes my parenting choices, now I ask myself:
-was this person in the delivery room when I gave birth to my son?
-was this person sitting up through feedings with me at night?
-was this person coming over to hold the baby after he was born so I could get some rest?
-has this person helped us when my son was sick?
-has this person watched my son when I was in a bind?
There are a million other variations on these questions, but you get the point. In short, when the times got hard, who has been there for you? Those are the only people whose advice you need to even CONSIDER considering.
Now when the neighbour gives me grief about my son’s thumb sucking, or my aunt rolls her eyes at his sleep routine, all I do is take a step back and ask myself, is his person “in the ring” with me? 99% of the time that answer is no, and if you’re a bit more anxious about other’s perspectives like I am, this might be the answer for you to take your power back a bit. This approach has given me a newfound sense of freedom and confidence as a mom that I haven’t had before and isn’t that something we could all use a bit more of?