Want my advice…?
Woohoo it’s Tuesday! We hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. CoupleDumb actually took a day off and didn’t post yesterday. It was a little weird but we figured why waste a good post if no one will read it. Our day off was spent challenging our 5 year old to Wii games. He’s finally reaching the age where we no longer need to let him win. Sure there are those ‘experts’ out there who say you shouldn’t let your kid win but we all know what they say about opinions.
Lee says: I remember being a new Mommy. We had adopted Jeannie and everyone and their mother needed to put in their two cents. According to some, she was already doomed since she had no bonding with her birth mother. Others were of the opinion that we could have her sleep with us for a couple of years so that she could bond. And still others believed it didn’t matter because it was stupid and crazy to adopt in the first place. Our families were not what you would call supportive on the outset. Paul and I made the decision on our own despite the cries that we had lost our minds.
Once we had her, the advice became different. Then it was stuff like, ‘Have you taken her to the doctor’, ‘You should get her eyes checked’ and ‘Hey, have you two even noticed that her eyes are funny?’ Our eyes didn’t need to be checked and to overlook Jeannie’s eyes would take an eye condition that could only be remedied by a seeing-eye dog. Our daughter saw (this is a true number, not exaggerated for artistic purposes) 17 doctors in one week. We took her to a wonderful pediatrician who then coordinated the best of the best in Los Angeles.
And yet, years later, we still get the parenting advice. I know what you’re saying, ‘Isn’t that what you’re about to do?’ Sure, but this is different. People think they are helping by dispending their golden nuggets of wisdom. People believe that the way they were parented and parenting their kids is the best way. I believe parenting is an intuitive process. We are all human beings and I believe we are all connected. I feel people will parent well if they allow themselves to be themselves. Come on people, kids were getting parented long before the Bible talked of sparing the rod or Spock wrote a book (not live long and prosper Spock but Benjamin). It comes naturally to hold and suckle a child. The other stuff, or the tricks, are things you will pick up from here and there.
I will admit I listened to my Mom. Not on topics such as ‘how to mother’ but the secrets she acquired in her years of mothering like rice water and her magical chicken soup. It’s scary really when parents listen to all the crap out there. I soon expect to see children swaddled in bubble wrap and wearing masks all the time. Maybe Michael Jackson has the right idea and that would be the scariest advice of all.
Paul says: If I take the boys to the store, just me and them, I will always get some woman telling me how to raise them. Realize, I spend a lot of time with my kids. I am what you would consider a participatory dad. Yet I get ‘you should read to them’ (which I do at least once a day) or ‘you shouldn’t feed them chocolate’ (which I do not because I’m not sharing my chocolate). For me, the bottom line about advice is that it should be given if sought. Admittedly, if someone is doing something grossly wrong then advice might be appreciated but I have never held my kids by one leg, upside down, in the store. I reserve that for home. Even with my often poor self esteem, I am certain that I will not screw up my children between getting the eggs and checking out.
BTW: as I am writing this, I am feeding my son donuts for dinner, letting him play with knives as he runs around the house naked. Any advice?