The topic of this blog has been on the front burner for several weeks. You see, since becoming pregnant with my son, I have been bombarded with advice. Some welcomed, some ... not so much and most are unsolicited. I find that people are keen to give advice to a first-time mom, whether or not she wants it. You get advice ranging from what shoe to wear (I was expected to quit wearing any shoe with a heel - like really now), what foods to eat (only eat vegetables and take vitamins - uuuum, all the food groups are important including the junk food group *ROFL*) and what was recommended acceptable behaviour "in my days" (guess what? this is my day now - back off).
Then comes the baby and an entirely new set of advice, especially when you return to work. Some of the advice are coming from people whose children are absolutely atrocious. People who I would never dream of taking advice from and people whose parenting examples I would never deign to follow. They make recommendations that seem so detrimental you would almost opt to believe your child cannot possibly survive unless you "do this" and "do it now". Like seriously, how then did I successfully manage to have my baby survive maternity leave with me as primary caregiver without these advice. Uuuugh! Really now! Sigh :-(
Since beginning my journey as a parent (proud mommy of a very happy, well-adjusted 19 month old boy)I have learnt to weed out the good ideas from the bad ones. Or as my mom aptly puts it "take it all with a grain of salt." I have learnt to follow my instincts and whenever there is a doubt, I ask people I trust for advice; my mom, his paediatrician or other parents that I can rely on.
After all that, let me now say that I can understand where the bearers of these unsolicited advice are coming from. Many of them mean well, even if the advice is ill-timed and unwelcome. As the proud aunt of an absolutely adorable one-week old nephew *grins* I now find myself wanting to give advice (gasp) *bigger grin*. However, I have found that based on my own experience with unsolicited advice so fresh in my memory, I almost always find the will power to restrain myself. Also, I am totally confident that my brother and his lovely wife are going to be great parents and they are doing a splendid job thus far. Whenever I am asked for advice I give it. Otherwise I am content to step aside and watch them find their own way of doing things with their son. The fact is, my hands are filled with my own. I am thoroughly enjoying this ride called parenthood and want them to enjoy their own.
It is nice to share experiences, but hold off on giving advice until you're asked or at least until the person seems to be in need. Being available with a shoulder to lean on, is quite enough.
PS: Every experience is wonderful and challenging in its own way. All the differences/diversities are what make each person's experience uniquely their own. Let us all allow each person their own. Nuff love xoxo.