I took my son Q to get blood-work the other day. Q has begun walking, so he was enjoying the empty office and zigzagging from one side of the room to the other. The woman doing our intake watched as Q took a few steps and then sat. The woman asked if Q was starting to walk and then nodded when I replied, “Yes.” She took us back and began preparing Q to get his blood drawn. Q, sensing something was amiss, began to whimper; it was at that moment the woman decided to say to me, “You know you should buy shoes with treads on the bottom so he can walk better.” I have shoes with treads, I was upset with myself that I hadn’t put them on him when we left the house, but this woman giving me her unsolicited advice was frustrating. Not only was her timing terrible, but it was her tone and the way she conveyed her message. If she had waited until after she had drawn Q’s blood and he had calm down and we were getting ready to leave and she said something like, “When my kids were getting ready to walk I found the shoes with treads on the bottom helped them, just thought I mentioned that in case you didn’t have any of those types of shoes.” I would have been much more receptive to that message. Instead, I am sure I looked annoyed as I mumbled a curt “Thanks.“
I am going to stand on a soapbox here for a minute because I feel some things need to be said about giving advice, sharing your parenting style and philosophy, etc. I am all for getting advice and hearing what other mothers are doing or did. However, the way we choose to give advice and sharing our experience is key.
- Don’t be judgmental. What you say shouldn’t come off as a judgment. I am sure you do think your methods are best, just like all of us do. It is necessary to remember that we are all doing our best, no one got a parenting manual with all the right answers, and everyone’s children and situations are different. Don’t judge.
- Check your tone and think about what you say. Your delivery is just as important as the content. I am guilty of having a tone and a quick tongue. Recently, I have tried to be more proactive in how I convey a message; I pause before immediately responding to give myself a chance to think before I speak.
- Give a compliment. It always feels easiest to point out the negative, see the flaws, and give critiques. Instead, think more about highlighting the good you see a mom doing. Parenthood, motherhood is tough. I cannot stress this enough; we don’t know what we are doing. Give a compliment.
In writing these blog posts about parenthood and motherhood, I want to make another point; I am not saying my way is better, do what I am doing. I am simply saying here is what I am doing or did take from it what you want. I think parenthood and motherhood are fascinating, and I enjoy sharing this aspect of my life. That being said, I believe it is vital that you do what you feel is best for you, your family, and your child. Be confident in your choices; there will be plenty of people who will try and push their views and opinions on you regarding how you parent, stay strong in what you are doing.
You are doing a great job! Keep up the excellent work!