Over my six years of parenting I have run in to my fair share of solicited and unsolicited parenting advice from all sorts of different people. I like to assume that these stranger in the grocery store line have the best intentions when telling me how my child would keep on their shoes in the store if I only followed their tried and true method of parenting. I usually, for the most part smile and nod and then go back to my barefoot child with sandals thrown in the shopping cart and go about my day. Because in the long run, I’m going to parent my kids the way the need me to parent them, and the way that works the best for us, not anyone else.
But lately, I’ve been receiving very pushy advice from friends and strangers alike about my three-year-old. The problem is that he’s not potty trained. It doesn’t help that he’s big for his age, already wearing clothes meant for four and five-year-old kids.
I get it. I know he shouldn’t be wearing the biggest diapers I can find that are only carried at one store because not even Huggies makes diapers this big. The truth is, I would love for him to be potty trained. But he’s just not there yet.
When you come to a parent and start dulling out advice on these things it can be daunting. I know that eventually Atticus will be potty trained, I mean, I can’t find diapers any bigger so, it must happen eventually. But I don’t need you reminding me of it, because when you’re a parent you already feel judged about every decision you make. The thoughts are constantly running through your head that people are looking at you and watching how you’re talking to your kids and how you’re acting and how much screen time you’re giving them, and how many toys are all over your floor when they show up to your house unexpected.
In reality, I know my friends and family, and probably most strangers I see are not paying attention to me at all. I get that most people are too stuck in their own business to notice mine, but I also know that people love to tell you how you’re messing up as a parent. It’s really the only thing I know you can be where people think they need to inject their own two cents in at every turn.
And so, to those people who want to help, and to those who just want to push their own opinions on me while I carry a crying toddler out of the children’s museum, I would like to say thank you, but I’m good. When I need advice, and I often will, I will ask. I have no qualms with calling my mom or a friend with older kids when I’m having a problem, I have no idea how to solve. And if the advice I receive doesn’t work then it’s back to the drawing board. That will be my problem to solve, not anyone else’s. The same goes to any other parents or future parents in my life, if you want my parenting opinions, I will gladly give them to you, if you ask for it. I’ve made a big effort especially after having my second to only be helpful to other parents, and I think the biggest part of that, is not to interrupt their day by telling them their doing it wrong.