I Am A Parenting Expert

Nope. And honestly? I am irritated such people who claim this title.

I will say, that they are allowed to think they are parenting experts for their own children. That is totally acceptable. Someday, I may allow myself to feel this way about my own parenting. Sometime far off from now. Maybe.

But to say that you are a parenting expert, often means that you think you know what is best for all moms, dads, and kids everywhere. NOPE. You don’t. Sorry. You may have some good ideas. They may be useful and help a lot of people. But they are not mom law. There are no parenting commandments carved into stone that I know of.

I am not trying to be sassy or start a fight. Quite the opposite. I don’t seek out confrontation. I would love if we could all just get along. You can come over and brush my hair while I make you drink hot chocolate in front of the fire. As long as we don’t have to talk about natural vs. medicated birth. Breastfeeding vs. formula. Co-sleeping vs. Cry It Out. Rice cereal vs. Baby Led Eating. Strollers vs. Carriers. Home School vs. the Public System. Bacon vs. Kale.

I am exhausted by that list. And it is only the beginning.

I am not going to lie and say that some of those debates don’t get me all riled up, but most often, I bite my tongue when in a public space. Sometimes it is SO HARD TO DO THIS. I take a breath and remember that what is right for me, is not going to work for everyone. So unless someone comes to be and honestly wants my advice? They will get none. Does this make me a pansy mom blogger? Maybe. I am not promising I won’t write about these topics, but it is not my main concern in this space.

There are some bloggers that I follow who have a gift for writing about their experiences with these highly debated parenting topics without sounding like assholes. I admire them. They are not preaching about their methods, they are sharing their story. I like that. I want to read more stories and less speeches.

Personally? I am more likely to keep my breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, home-birth wanting, baby lead weaning, attachment parenting jibber jabber tucked away in my private emails or limited to twitter threads and DMs with friends. Oops. Did I just say that?  😉

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43 responses to “I Am A Parenting Expert

  1. a-freakin’-men! I share, I’m willing to share but I won’t shove it down your throat (unless you’re doing something like dangling your baby upside down in your crazy baby-wearing device, then I might mention it) 😀

  2. YES, I totally hear you. I’m also one to opt for keeping quiet rather than spouting what I “know” when I hear other parents talking about what they do with their kids. What has worked for my family might not work for theirs, and I certainly don’t want them telling ME what to do. So I stay quiet. It’s hard though, since being a parent has made me WAY more judgey than I used to be. Maybe the lessening of the judgeyness will come with time.

    • I find there are certain issues that really push my buttons. I get all ready to spew some crap on the poor person who I think should hear my side, then I hold my breath. Usually, I email someone that I know would agree with me to vent instead. No harm done, and I get to stay comfy thinking I am in the right. HA! Oh, lawd.

  3. I’m totally with you!

    I’m pretty opinionated about parenting…MY CHILDREN. What works for me isn’t best for everyone, but if it works for me, why wouldn’t I do it?
    It’s interesting to watch how indignant people get say on BF versus FF. Hey, guess what? Some of us WANTED to BF longer than we did, but what was best for our babies, was more important. And sad that one should feel guilty about saying their baby is formula fed.
    I always approach my thoughts when people are asking for opinions and ideas with, “This is what worked for me…” and that’s it. I don’t need or want to parent the world, just the babies I have. Well, and when I’m teaching…those kids too. 🙂 And actually I don’t want to parent them either, just teach them and love them.
    Love this post!
    (twitter.com/stephanieg143)

    p.s. Fake Mom is GENIUS.

    • It is impossible not to be strongly opinionated about what works for our own kids. That is our job! Hard to curtail it to our own kids sometimes. “This works for me” is a great way approach the whole mess.

  4. LOVE this. Here’s the thing… I have two kids. They were two entirely different experiences. Yes, I fed them the same way, but one was ready for solids before the other. Yes, I did bedtime the same way, but one slept through the night at eight weeks and the other, well. Let’s not go there, but suffice to say, I had to change my methods drastically between each kid. Things that I never would’ve DREAMED of doing with Luke became necessary for Tommy.
    No one can be a parenting expert. You can be an expert in what works for you, but there’s no saying that that will work for another kid and it’s certainly presumptuous to assume that it’ll work for another parent with an entirely different kid than yours.

  5. This post is exactly how I feel as well. I try to keep my mouth shut. Oh, one question: am I one of those bloggers you don’t like? I’d be very sad. And I’d seriously take a very close look at who I am if you did think I was a tool.

    • Oh, please! Come over here and we will have cocoa and hair brushing. Bring the baby. Baby pile!

      • Thank the good lord. I was seriously worried that I’d somehow offended you, and I was wracking my brain to think of what I needed to apologize for. Because you? The epitome of awesome in every way possible; as a mama, a writer, a woman. I admire you, Megan…I want to view the world as you do, because it’s such a wonderful way to live. Um, okay, enough creepy stalker-like banter. Love your blog. Heart you big time, lady.

  6. I am totally an expert.

    on not knowing what the crap I am doing.

    I do often give unsolicited advice on the whole reflux / dairy free issue because I wish someone had told me to have her tested for reflux and allergies way before I did. I just hope I can help another mom get answers and relief since a lot of people will just chalk it up to, “oh, you have a fussy baby. they will grow out of it.”

    having said that, I am much like erin in that what worked for emma doesn’t even work for my other child, so why would I expect it to work for yours?

    we mommas need to sign a treaty … no more mommy wars.

    • I was hoping this post didn’t come off sounding like I don’t like advice from moms. Because I do. I have learned more from moms than books for sure. And I love hooking up mom who need help with other moms who have been through the same thing. Love.
      I am just over the self righteous crap that tends to happen sometimes. Makes me tired.

  7. yes! i also try to keep my mouth shut, with one exception– on my own blog. i DO write about parenting and our experiences with it, but i try really REALLY hard not to come off like an asshole. i know there’s no one right way, there’s just ‘what’s working for me with this kid.’ hopefully i succeed more than fail.

    i certainly have opinions but for the most part i keep them to myself, especially in real life or around family.

  8. This.

    This is why you are awesome.

  9. just FYI, this saves me from writing a future post myself. i have one in my drafts already based on the whole SAHM thing but i think i’ll leave posts like this to the “experts.” 😉

  10. This is tough for me because I LOVE talking about different parenting philosophies and practices. I love asking questions. I love hearing about different experiences. For example, how do you co-sleepers do it? Really, how? Where does the baby sleep? And under the covers or on top of the covers? Anyway, you get the point…I’m curious. I hate “parenting by message board” as I call it, but I think there is something to be gained (ie. support, knowledge) by hearing about others’ experiences.

    That said, I can’t stand preachy, pushy moms, and I think there’s a difference between them and the moms who love to share/ask questions because we love to learn. And parenting, it should be a whole PhD in itself. There is much to learn.

    • I think we are on the same page here. You are talking about being open-minded, curious, and interested in what works for different people. I like to read these stories too.

      I think that the “I am right, you are wrong” mentality is what grates me. This goes for everything in life, I suppose. Another good example of this is in religious debates. Nothing good comes from extremism. We only gain from listening and absorbing what works for us. A little from here, and a little from there makes the perfect recipe for each individual.

  11. Heh. I know what you mean. I find myself more comfortable around moms of many because by the time you’ve been a mom for a while, you know that there is no such thing as being an expert. At anything. And it can be super awkward to sit next to a first time mom who KNOWS IT ALL. But I keep my mouth shut. She can read my blog and figure out how I feel, if she wants to seek it out. Otherwise, I’m not chiming in unless I’m asked directly.

    In the words of a favorite woman (Ruth Bell Graham): “with my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I must have a few friends at the end.”

    Steph

  12. Well posted.

    I agree with Erin above about doing things you NEVER would have with number one to get through life with number two. Case in point, I am posting from under a sleeping 5 month old.

    I am tired of ‘and then I saw this mom at the store and she blah blah blah’ that is ugly criticism of a person someone didn’t have the balls to talk to. Because invariably while ranting publicly about ‘that mom’ someone that made that same choice is reading and getting hurt.

    Good post. Mega-good! 🙂

    • It is amazing that kids from the same parents can be so different. And need such different things. Makes even a stronger point for how different kids must be from family to family. WE ARE ALL UNIQUE SNOWFLAKES. Heh.

  13. Well said. I find I’ve often been way too judgemental of other moms sometimes but I do keep it to myself or, like you, vent away to some other like-minded mom just to get my frustrations out.

    However, I will be the first to admit I have NO IDEA what I’m doing and I’m just GWYG parenting (you need to trademark that or something). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And I’ll go, “Hooray this worked!” on Twitter and “OH MY GOD IT FAILED” on Twitter, too.

    I really wish moms would stop sniping at each other. There are so many issues out there that attack moms as a WHOLE (public breastfeeding, SAHM, etc.) that we need to be more supportive of each other. I really get tired of watching mom wars. It’s so draining….

    And frustrating for those of us who are new to this whole thing.

  14. Me likes. I’d like to passive-agressively send this to many members in my family so they LAY OFF ME ABOUT COSLEEPING AND HOMESCHOOLING THEY AREN’T YOUR KIDS SO GET OUT OF MY FACE GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes. Yes. I like this.

  15. Amen! Do what you do, and do it WELL! No one needs to know exactly why or how you do something. As long as your child is safe, then you are probably doing ok 🙂

  16. Amen, Megan. Amen.

    If I’ve learned anything in my six months as a mommy, it is that I don’t know anything! I’m not calling the shots here. The little dude rules this house and I try to coax him. How could I expect someone else to have the EXACT same situation? Just like with the rest of life, treat people with respect!

  17. Good work. I like this and I agree. We will all have different ways of parenting our children to the best of our abilities and the thing that I love the most about our online “community” – we share the success and failures and it is safe, open and lovely. Mommy wars suck, they’re a drain of energy and God knows newborns do that job well enough! I say, embrace the diversity, it’s such a resource, if not for you, for a new mommy somewhere!

  18. Good for you for saying it. I can’t tell you how many times I have written a comment, only to delete it, or a tweet, or whatever. There are very few (if any) parenting issues that truly only have one right method. It is best to remember that and do like you, and only answer questions when asked.

  19. I have so wanted to comment on this since I read your post, but I haven’t had the time! Anyway, love what you and so many others have said here.

    As first time moms, we are just figuring it out. Like you’ve said, I learned a lot more from my mom friends than from the books, but the books were nice to go to when I felt like I was bugging them yet AGAIN! 🙂

    I have found that for me, a little bit of everything works. I am comfortable in my decisions and I think that’s what’s important. We have to be, or else we become one of those crazy people. What has worked for me so far, is to experience it all, so that I know what works. I’ve now experienced breast-feeding, formula-feeding, co-sleeping, baby in crib, baby-wearing, stroller pushing, making baby food, buying jarred baby food, etc. I have to find out what works for me, in order to make those decisions on what kind of mom I am. And like Erin said, every baby is different so if I have no idea what it will be like if I have another. I’m hoping to have it all figured out by then but I probably won’t! As far as sharing my knowledge with others, I just like to word as “Ask me if you have any questions!” I don’t tell anyone what to do, but just be there for support. It’s all you CAN do.
    Just have one minor thing to your post-I don’t feel that co-sleeping and cry it out are the opposites to each other. We let Elise sleep in her crib every night and do not let her cry it out. I just wanted to mention it to make sure you weren’t saying that if you don’t co-sleep, you’re letting them CIO. I didn’t think you were, but wanted to make note of it. It’s definitely a struggle some nights to get her there, but a little bit of both has worked out well for us. Well said Momma! 🙂

    • I love that you are openminded about different techniques. Finding what works is all that matters. As far as the co-sleeping and CIO, I was just saying those were two different extremes. Crib sleeping is awesome. I know it doesn’t equal CIO. I wish crib sleeping worked for us sometimes. We may transition there at some point. Co-sleeping just what happens to be working now. Thanks for your comment! We need to get together sooooon.

  20. I found your blog a couple months ago, I don’t remember how, and have kinda “lurked” around for a bit (I’m sorry!). But I felt I need to come out on this post and say thank you for this- even though I’m not a mom, yet 😉 . I’ve found blogs that insist that if you don’t breastfeed, co-sleep, baby lead, ap, etc, you’re a bad mom. And that is terrifyingly intimidating. I have found blogs that take the opposite stance and if you do the aforementioned things, you’re a hippy who won’t let your kids be their own people. What? That doesn’t make any sense to me either. Some people don’t understand there is no “mom law” like you said and have no problems expressing to you what they think, no matter how mean. I’m all about people having opinions, but if they are going to belittle me or others and not help me “learn”, I don’t want to hear it. I want to learn all kinds of mom stuff from people- I think it’s more helpful than books- which I guess might be setting myself up for disaster if I don’t ask the right ones. But for those like you and other commenters here who realize what works for them might not for others but still have a “way” they like to do things, you make it easier for people to be less afraid and intimidated to step out and want to learn and ask questions. So again, thanks.

    • Thanks for reading and de-lurking! I totally get what you are feeling. I lurked a lot of mom blogs before having a baby, and was often intimidated. But when you do have a baby, your instincts kick in. You will figure out what is best. Confidence is key, and surrounding yourself with a network of women who respect you and each other is most helpful. Good luck on starting your family! 🙂

  21. As an addendum to what I said earlier, I also meant to say, that sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned, which is why we need to keep an open-mind about everything and not bash others who do things differently. For instance, I didn’t want to give my baby formula, but when she wasn’t gaining weight on breastmilk alone after week 3, my options were limited. And I also wanted a natural (or so I thought) birth but getting induced with pitocin and an epidural was what I got. I think we need to be open minded and go with the flow and things will come naturally, and we’ll be a lot happier! This is what I’ve experienced SO FAR. More to come as baby E ages I’m sure! 🙂

  22. yeah, to all of it. i think i am even touchier about older kid stuff than baby stuff. sure i have had people say, “well i want all the drugs in childbirth because I FOR ONE don’t have anything TO PROVE! HA HA!” and had to sit there feeling uncomfortable but unwilling to get into it, but it doesn’t offend me all that much, i just figure, hey, that’s kind of sad that she is so closed-minded, her loss. the “well MY child would never act that way because i parent the right way!” stuff feels worse to me. like they think i am a bad parent and that’s why my kid is “bratty” rather than me parenting my heart out and my kid is just really spirited. they have no clue. they have no idea what it is like or what he is like or what he responds to or how miserably the things they are suggesting to me would fail in our situation. phew. it just doesn’t go away. you become the expert on your kid and family and needs and you find the stuff that works for you guys, whatever it is.

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