There have been many pros to being a parent later in life. We are more financially secure, for one. We are more established in our careers, which give us (well, me) greater flexibility in terms of work, hours, and being able to work from home and take time off as needed. We are also more patient (mostly…), more grounded, and more stable in our marriage than we were, say, 10 years ago.
We also have been able to watch and learn from our friends and family members who had children before us what we want to emulate and what we’d do differently. But therein lies the rub…
It’s difficult enough to be a parent—especially a new parent—particularly when it comes to advice. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what you should and should not do. And everyone seems to be extremely comfortably in sharing that.
And it is even worse when you are 10 years late to the party. Since so many have walked the path before you, there is almost a blanket belief that, naturally, you will do what they have done. Or, worse, you have parents or aunts and uncles who make blanket statements that, of course, you will do what this person or that person has done.
Which then leaves you in the uncomfortable position of saying, no…we choose a different path. And if they start to argue with you or question why, you suddenly are put in the position of disagreeing with one person’s choice (by default) in an effort to explain your own.
A couple of examples:
We chose to allow Kennedy to sleep with us. I cannot tell you how many times I was “shoulded” on about this topic. “Don’t pick her up…Let her cry it out…Never let her sleep in your bed…”
When I explain that we disagree with that, and while I can see the need for that if you have more than one child, with an only, we prefer this way. When pressed, I explain that I believe a child is comforted and ultimately more secure fundamentally when her basic needs are met (i.e. comfort and security). By default, I am then telling the other person that they don’t hold these same values then if they let their child cry or not sleep in their bed, etc.
Screwed either way.
Another…we believe in three meals and two snacks. We aren’t tyrants about it…it’s just our choice. Others choose the grazing method, as it works for them. I personally disagree, but I am allowed to. I am sure others disagree with the three meals approach. No harm, no foul either way.
But when pressed to explain why, I inherently have to give my reasons against grazing, which is then construed as putting it down. It can then appear as if I am being judgmental versus simply having a different opinion.
Again, screwed either way and such an uncomfortable position to be placed in.
Here’s the deal. All parents makes choices about child-rearing based on experience, personal needs/wants in their insular lives, and gut instinct.
I don’t care what the books say.
I don’t care what he or she or her cousin’s boyfriend’s mother did…If I want to know, trust me I’ll ask.
Unless I appear to be in crisis, you can assume I have it under control (or at least think I do!).
This (whatever THIS is) is working for us. We have actively chosen this course. We likely discussed it and feel this is best for us, our lives, our child, our family.
We kindly request that you keep your should to yourself.