Let New Parents Figure It Out Themselves Without Your Judgement or Ideas
Our three and a half year old suddenly doesn’t want to sleep in her own bed and is occasionally coming down the stairs at all hours of the night, waking us up by touching our faces. By the time I bribe her with the possibility of an ice cream treat in the near future and get her back to sleep it is 5:30 am. That is just when my wife and I start to hear the faint sounds of our 6 month old moving around through the baby monitor. Some mornings we play an old fashioned game of chicken to see who will sit upright first to get him. Six months in with two kiddos, my wife and I have created some great routines but often the morning can still feel chaotic at best. Before I get my extra large coffee at 8:45 a.m., I don’t communicate much with the outside world.
There is no doubt about it, having young children can be very hard and stressful. And yet, in the future when the kids are all grown up and don’t need us everyday we ourselves will cry like babies. Becoming a parent has been the single greatest experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Having children opens up a new door of love that you never knew existed. Good parenting requires a lifelong dedication to something so much bigger than ourselves. No one knows the stress, responsibility, and worry that parents feel for their children, until they themselves become parents.
Current Parents -Keep Your Mouths Shut
One of the things that makes parenting so hard is that there are so many negative opinions out there about how others should parent. The best piece of advice for new parents is for you to keep your mouth shut. They don’t need your advice, they will figure it out, and figure out what works best.
For some reason parents feel the need to scare other parents when they hear they are having babies. Don’t do this. Don’t pass on your anxiety. I am guilty of doing this myself. Saying things like sleep now, or do this or do that. No, no no. I know it is natural to recall fondly our own experiences raising children but as a grandparent, parent, sibling, cousin, aunt and uncle, or friend you have a greater responsibility to your loved ones who are deep in the trenches of raising little ones. Don’t judge them, scare them, or add to their stress. It will only push you further away from them. If you had an extremely hard time as a first or second time parent and wish that others would have as horrible of time as you did, that is not normal.
Non Parents -Keep Your Mouths Shut
After my daughter was born and before my dad passed away, I thanked him for all of the sacrifices he and my mother made for me as my parent. My dad just laughed and said Jimmy it was never a sacrifice for us, you kids were the best thing that ever happened in our lives. That was great perspective for me. I fully respect anyone who decides that they don’t want to have or adopt a child. That being said, if you decide parenting is not for you than you give up the right to judge me and my parenting decisions. Don’t compare owning a dog to having kids, that is just insulting. You can dress your dog up in cloths and put her in a stroller but she will never come with the stress, responsibility, and worry that parents face every hour of the day.
Coworkers Who May Be Judging — Parents Don’t Care
A lot of parents feel judgement from their coworkers, especially those working with the younger “work hard play hard” crowds. It has always bothered me hearing people talk negatively about parents who have to leave at 4:30 or 5 p.m. to pick up their kids. Now that I have my own children I realize that those kids come first above anything else in my life. If there is a fun work happy hour often times I want to choose spending time with the kids.
People have no idea the amount of guilt that parents and working parents have. When you see a parent, please resist the urge to judge them first and find empathy for them instead.