Monday, January 08, 2007

Buzz Off

by Something Blue

If you want free advice, have a child. Out of the woodwork, childless experts start popping up. “You need to say ‘No’ with more authority.” “You should be putting your children to bed earlier.” “All television will permanently harm your child’s development.”

I nod and smile politely while I internally visualize myself scratching their eyeballs out. When did they become a Pediatric Specialist? Did their cousin Sally-Lou with her fourteen children share this great piece of advice over tea and biscuits? Have they been devouring parenting advice books to provide an air of superiority whenever my child has a tantrum? Maybe I should chalk it up to one too many episodes of Dr. Phil.

From what I recall of life pre-children, I offered tips on the hottest new albums, not whether my friend’s child should be wearing Pampers or Huggies.

The media dishes up big servings of parenting propaganda. Before we embark on parenthood, we make observations to prepare ourselves for when tiny bundles of joy grace our lives. Well-intended advice givers forget to take into account that every child is different. What works for some, doesn’t work for others. Having a child does not mean that a strict regime is mandatory to achieve success in becoming a future -insert parent’s dream here-. They believe that if little Emma doesn’t go to bed at 7 P.M. every night, she will never become a doctor. If Connor watches “Blues Clues” he will never become CEO of a leading corporation. They are doomed to become delinquents, destined for a life of crime.

Once a Childless Commanding Wonder breeds, do they follow their own advice or do they forget their ideals that they shoved down my throat? I have a sneaking suspicion that these people have a harder time adjusting to their new lifestyle. It can be hard to rid yourself of preconceived notions. Rules were made to be broken.

That’s why, when the moon is blue, I will allow my children to fly high on a sugar buzz. I’ll even let them have an extra sweet treat right before bedtime. This rare occasion only transpires when I have invited an Expert over. The look of horror in their eyes is completely worth it.
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Jana is a Prairie Girl turned City Mommy. She lives among dust bunnies in an under renovation house with her two daughters, senile cat and Peter Pan syndrome inflicted husband, Colin. She escapes her chores by dashing to the office to do behind the scene things in the music industry.

13 comments:

metro mama said...

Amen.

Great post - except I can think of a better title that ends with the word "off".

kittenpie said...

This is why it was so nice sitting with you the other morning. My neighbours are lovely, but they are all about no sweets and no tv and, well, I say everything in moderation. It's nice that someone else knows who Bob and Dora are and thinks it's okay. (although I totally agree with Niloc that the shouting gets a bit much on Dora - that's my big pet peeve, too!)

Petra said...

You asked what they do when they have children? They apologize profusely for being idiots and ask for help. At least that was the experience a friend of mine had with her brother. He was constantly saying "I'd never let my kids do X." After his son was born, he said to his sister "Sorry I was such a jackass! Help!"

Ali said...

this is why i adore you so much. we are so alike ;)

Lisa b said...

Ha it must be totally worth it to see the looks on their faces. I cannot wait until my childless assvice givers have kids of their own.

ewe are here said...

Yes! Oh yes!

I will never understand where the childless get off thinking they know more than parents about raising kids. And I agree; these are the same people who struggle mightily when their own children come along.

Mother Bumper said...

So well said Something Blue. Some of the advice I've received was so out of line and unwanted and come to think of it, some from non-parents.

crazymumma said...

Oh I love this post. I especially have loved the looks of horror I get when I tell people we allow our children to stay up past midnight on special occasions. Or, when an 'expert' watches me cave to the obscene demands of a toddler meltdown....
Today for instance, the girls wanted this toy they had seen advertised and it was only available with a Macdonalds Happy meal. We do not, for our own reasons eat Macdonalds, well, maybe once a year. So today, post christmas, right after school...they asked so nicely and off I took them to Dufferin mall. Happy Meal, Happy Toy. Joyous Children.
Parenting does not come with a guidebook, tho sometimes I wish to hell it did.

nomotherearth said...

Absolutely. There are people in my neighbourhood who actually reach down and pull The Boy's thumb out of his mouth while he's sucking it. Rude, or what?! And, hey, I have a kid who sleeps through the night because of this "bad habit". Judge not unless ye know of which ye speak. I like sleep

Naomi said...

I like your post, and what you are saying. The essence being that people should make their own decisions about their children, and not judge others.

I have my own post brewing about this very topic, from the other side. I'm the parent who's kid doesn't eat sweets or watch tv.

That being said, I still get comments from strangers. Seems like no matter what choices we make, someone will criticize.

something blue said...

I completely agree Naomi, what works for one child doesn't work for another. If those strangers want to help raise our children they can have the 1 to 5 AM shift.

Pattie said...

I really liked this post, Jana. mainly because I think most of us relate so well to what you are saying. There have been so many times someone has offered me unsolicited advice such as why I let them run around with barefeet sometimes to why they are not wearing a sweater when it is a bit chilly outside. I always just smile and then ignore them. What is wrong with letting them watch a little tv? Or have candy and sweets once in a while? I think there may be some brainwashing involved in the parenting circles.

BOB said...

Beautiful!

I was childless until the age of 32. I was such an expert on how to raise children before I had my own. Now I rezlize how difficult it is. Rewarding but difficult. If you have never raised a child keep your mouth shut! Trust me, you have no idea what's involved!