Finding My Voice As A Parent: Also See STFU

Alternate post title: Quit effing telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my kid.

Three months in and I’m already over people’s “helpful advice”.

Some advice for advice givers, just don’t.

Commiserating about being tired is welcome, but telling me things that start with “you should” or “you shouldn’t” or “don’t ever” isn’t welcome or helpful. What works for you and your family works for you. All kids, parents and families are different.

Including mine.

Recently someone asked me how I was and when I replied that I was exhausted because Ruby had been kicking me, hitting me and or bumping into me all night {while she was sound asleep}, the woman replied, “You shouldn’t be sleeping with your baby!”

My eyes stung with tears (from exhaustion and let’s be honest, being admonished). I said through clenched teeth – “Well, we are. It is our decision to continue bonding with our newly adopted baby throughout the night. We have made our decision about what works for our family right now and when you are parenting an adopted kid please let me know.”

In case you are wondering, I’m still pissed.

This comment implies I haven’t thought carefully about this (and every other) decision we’ve been making in regard to parenting Ruby. I have been weighing my loss of sleep and the rage that accompanies it (which is a whole other issue unrelated to Ruby) and wanting to make up for those nine and a half months she wasn’t with us {also see: the dark ages}.

I’ve agonized over the “cry it out” people telling me I could train her to self-soothe by letting her sob alone in her crib. Dude, I’m not going to do it.  So stop telling me how well it worked for your kid.

Friends, I’m new at this parenting thing and Ruby is a special girl with lots of people interested in her well-being. In other words, we’re doing this thing kind of more publicly than I’m comfortable with. Usually I like having at least a basic handle on things before I share them with the world. That doesn’t work in parenting. It changes by the moment and so does what works for your family.

It’s a lot like yoga in that way. What works for your body in this moment is what is right for you. Who am I to tell you are wrong because it looks different than what I would do?

I’m working on finding my own voice as a parent. As a natural worrier and as someone prone to deep feelings of shame over being “wrong”, please be kind and thoughtful in your comments about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing.

Nobody likes when you do that.


So tell me, how do you handle unsolicited advice?