I’m 33 years old and I’ve become a mother for the first time on July 10, 2012.
For the majority of those 39 weeks I like many other expectant mothers, was subjected to countless amounts of unsolicited advice. However well-intentioned, it became rather annoying, often leaving me with a feeling of being robbed of my experience/my journey into motherhood. I get that mothers want to share their lessons learned, but boundaries need to be set, as each pregnancy is as different as the women carrying these babies. The eagerness to give advice often takes away from the joy of learning about and experiencing the abundant, mysterious wonders in carrying a child. Further, uninvited advice can come across as condescending.
Even now that my daughter is a whopping 15 days old (lol), the advice does not stop (not that I thought it would) and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sick of it all by now. I’m the type of person who will ask a question and solicit opinions if there is something I want to know, therefore someone telling me what to do without provocation is beyond absurd to me. “If you want to preach a sermon, go to church” has become my new motto.
If I want to go shopping prior to my 6 week check up, I will.
If I want to spend $1000 dollars on an outfit my daughter will only wear once, I will.
If I want my child’s first language to be Cantonese, it will.
If tomorrow I want to drive myself to get some ice cream, I will.
If I want to stop breast feeding my child, I will.
If I want to home school, I will.
If I don’t want you to hold my child, you won’t.
If I don’t want my child to play with your child, she won’t.
If I don’t want my child to play with dolls, she won’t.
If I don’t want my child to watch cartoons, she won’t.
If I want my child to listen to gangsta rap, she will.
If I decide my child is better off starting a business instead of going to college, she will.
If I allow my child to watch a reality television show, that is my prerogative.
If I want to be a yellow flower in a sea of red flowers, I will.
No matter what outlandish scenario I can think of, the point is that each person who becomes a parent has tough decisions to make as it relates to the rearing of their offspring and I happen to believe most parents do the best they can for their children. While their choices may differ from yours, that doesn’t make them wrong or their decision of lesser quality than yours. Outside of her father, whose opinion I value tremendously, I really don’t want to hear what anyone has to say about the choices I make as a mother for my child. This may sound crass, however if you think about it; who put YOU in charge of telling mothers what to do? Who died and made you queen mother, hunty?!?! Lol! I’m certain that if a roundtable discussion was had, the group could think of some ways in which you could be a better mother, so think about that before you offer your two cents on another woman’s situation.
Ultimately, I’ve decided I will have the audacity to make whatever decisions I deem necessary for me and my family and I won’t allow the input of others to cloud my better judgement or make me feel as if I have to be like other mothers out of fear of being labeled a “bad mother.”
If there is an area in which I need help, I will ask. Otherwise, don’t tell me anything. This is my journey and I ask that you respect that.