First, just because you gave birth does not mean you’re an expert in parenting. I see too many mothers saying “Well, I’ve got three kids and listen to me. I KNOW.” Ugh. Having children does not qualify you to BE a parent nor does it give you licence to foist your parenting “wisdom” on others.
Second, I don’t really care HOW LONG you’ve been parenting. Length of parenting time alone doesn’t qualify you as a parent just as your age doesn’t qualify you as an adult. I’m supposed to accept what you say (in all your imagined wisdom) because you got knocked up when you were a teenager? I don’t think so.
Third, it doesn’t really matter how many children you have or how long you’ve been doing it. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW EVERYTHING. You will never have all the answers, and you will never be qualified to give EVERYONE advice. I have eight children, I’ve therefore had eight pregnancies. Some of them had similar traits, but none were exactly the same. None of the children are exactly the same. If I had just had two children I would really have a shallow view of parenting as it related to those two small individual beings. A whole new world opened up with each new life.
Fourth, don’t give out advice. If someone asks you, then fine. Don’t hop on a soapbox every chance you get and preach how you parent your children to everyone around you. We are not parenting your children.
And, lastly, yes. There are some people who just aren’t getting the whole parenting thing. I have not seen such vast amounts of ignorance, neglect and abuse until I moved to Alabama. Now it’s a daily occurrence. For every intelligent person here that I meet I see 50 who just aren’t.
At the fast food place a mom pushed her two year old into the play area and went across the restaurant and sat at a table eating with friends. The play area had a door. The little girl stood at the door because she was too shy to play with the kids that were there, and was probably scared because good old MOM just left her. She was also getting nothing to eat while Mom shoved food in her face and waved every ten minutes or so.
In an office a family was sitting in the waiting area. The dad told his 4 year old if he couldn’t stop jumping around he was going to cut off his feet. (!!) Later, this child got his finger pinched in a toy. Neither the mom or dad comforted him. Dad said, “Stop whining.” Then, because he didn’t get the love he needed he hurt his little brother’s finger by pinching it in the same toy. He didn’t even get a “I know you got hurt and I’m sorry, but you cannot hurt your brother.” He got yelled at for hurting the brother, and sat in time out, and made to apologize…but still no one comforted him or showed him love. And yes, the mom was all over the little brother when he got hurt.
Recently I read the advice that you shouldn’t argue with your teens about their rooms. Let your house go because they’ll be out of the house soon enough. Umm. At age 13 when “teen” begins it’s at least another 5 years before they leave for college, the military, or whatever. So, to be a “good parent” I’m supposed to relax the rules, neglect my responsibilities as mother and wife, and pick up again when the kids move out? How is letting the kids do what they want good parenting? How is “letting the house go” showing them how to manage a house and family so that they can do it when they move out? What am I supposed to do to be a “good parent”? Sit on the couch for 5 years eating bon bons and gaining weight? Well, that’s what people do here….please don’t pass it on to the rest of the country. SOMEBODY has to raise the responsible, intelligent, and truly wise people who will grow up to RUN THIS COUNTRY. Just let us do it. If we need you, we’ know where to find you. (On your couch, right?)
Parenting doesn’t end with giving birth. Hell, it doesn’t even BEGIN there. But just because you gave birth doesn’t mean that the rest of us want to hear what you have to say. If we know you, if we trust you, if we respect you as a person and parent maybe we’ll ask you for your opinion. Until then, just pay attention to your own kids/family/house/life.
I’m going to go do some LaMaze breathing now and calm down. Thank you.