I only just realized that this month marks 5 years since I began telling the internet my thoughts on kids and parenting (also, the internet tells me that blogiversary is a real word?!). When I started, I was nervous about putting forth my opinions (let’s face it, I still am). After all, I only became a parent myself halfway through this experience. Who was I to be giving advice? Who am I still?
After reflecting very little on this question, a couple of things are clear to me.
#1 I don’t know much
I’ve known some kids and families in my time and I’ve done some things that “worked” and plenty that didn’t. I’m not great at changing my approaches, but I’m a little bit open to it. It’s tricky to set oneself up as an “expert” in such a subjective arena. But luckily, I am not an expert. I mostly know the things that work for me & if I think that I’ve stumbled across a short cut, I’m happy to share. But really, I don’t know much.
#2 I almost always want to make life easier for myself
So, I don’t know much and I’m relatively lazy. Generally, the less I can do, the better. I make one pot dinners. I sit on the couch through almost all of nap time. I put my feet up at every opportunity. With that said, my main goals in parenting are not to raise assholes & not to stress myself out. That’s pretty much it. I can put on a grandiose show when I’m working through strategies on calming down or bragging about how well my kid listens, but the real reason that I’m interested in calming down or making my kid listen to me is so that my life will be easier. Parenting is easier when you have a kid who generally does what you ask of them. It’s easier when you have ways of managing your daily stress. It’s easier when your kid knows how to entertain themselves (to an extent). It’s easier when they know how to wipe their own rear end (still working on this one). Sometimes there is hard work that’s done at the beginning, but this is simply so that everything else will be easier going forward.
#3 I try not to give *advice* in real life
Unless someone specifically asks for advice, I try to hold my tongue. And sometimes, I’m even a bit coy when asked outright what my thoughts are on a parenting conundrum. Since parenting is so subjective, what works for one family might not work for another. As an outsider, finding a strategy or outlook that most closely matches a parent’s personality and the needs and temperaments of their kids is a super difficult task. What some people are comfortable with, others would never consider doing. And if a suggested response to a kid’s behavior feels wrong to a parent, they will never do it. It doesn’t matter how good a suggestion is or how “smart” I am for thinking it up, if it doesn’t suit the family in question, then it’s bad advice. The best solutions almost always come from the parents themselves. They might benefit from a little reframing, but only if they feel ownership over a strategy will it work for them. For realz.
I don’t know if I’ll make it another 5 years- or if blogging will be sooooo antiquated by then (is it already???), but we shall see if I learn anything more in the years to come.