“I’m not a parent, but let me tell you something about raising kids…” Haven’t we all heard this one before? Raise your hand if you are sick of know-it-all non-parents adding their two cents in to your parenting disaster.
Yes, I do realize it probably isn’t best for my son to eat sand. But thirty minutes ago he was diving head first off the couch into the floor, so I feel like we’re making progress. Maybe by tomorrow I can encourage him not to stick Legos up his nose, but for today, I am just happy if we make it to supper with all of our limbs still attached and no one bleeding from the head.
Where I work, we have a handful of girls who are pregnant. The first time moms are nervous, apprehensive and getting lots of unsolicited advice. I get to be a fly on the wall for most of it. I am well known at work for not being the most talkative person in the room. I usually sit quietly, staring at my computer screen and working hard to distract myself from the conversations around me. Every once in a while, one gets going that I just can’t ignore. Lately, this has been the “oh, you’re pregnant? Let me tell you what you should/shouldn’t do” talk.
Let me make one thing clear. I work in an extremely male dominated facility. There are only 12 girls out of over 80 workers. Not counting myself, two are mothers and two are pregnant. So you wouldn’t think the two preggos here would have to deal with a whole lot of “you should be…” or “I don’t think you should be…” advice. But they do. Every. Single. Day.
As if it wasn’t annoying enough hearing it from the well-meaning, but seriously misguided dudes who have had wives that have been pregnant, it is ten times more annoying hearing it from the bachelors and bachelorettes who have neither carried children, have children of their own or seen children anywhere but on Rugrats reruns.
Two years ago, I made the difficult decision to homeschool my son. As a veteran mother, I had no trouble shooting down the less than educated concerns of my 18 year old co-workers who proceeded to enlighten me on the necessity of social education and the lack of my ability to possibly know enough to walk a kindergartener through his A, B, Cs. I simply thanked them all for reminding me why I had chosen to homeschool.
For these new mothers, I clench my teeth in aggravation on their behalf. But, I don’t speak of for them. Why? To do so would handicap them. They will be dealing with this for 18 years at least. They need to learn to fight the good fight now. Learning to trust your instincts and stand up for your kids is something that has to come from within. It is not something that can be impressed upon you from an external force. My telling them to stand up for themselves would honestly make me just one more person, giving their two cents.
And who needs that, really?