Being a parent is a state of mind, and it is usually – out of your mind. From the first few blissful moments with your newborn, until the moment they start their own independent life, parenting makes you realize that caring for another human being is the most challenging and rewarding task you have ever been trusted to do.
Luckily, you are not alone in that task: an army of family, friends, well-meaning neighbors, teachers and caregivers will try to be a part of it too, and their help will oftentimes save you. But it will also, inevitably, be a source of unnecessary frustration.
If you are not the epitome of a perfect parent (you know the mythical creature that never seems tired, grumpy or irritated) but are somewhat leaning towards disorganized side, then you are more than likely to be volunteered all kinds of advice from all of the caring hands around you. I have some sneaky little tricks to share with you that will help you through the many mini-breakdowns that await you:
Relatives and elderly neighbors: they will always have useful advice, usually put in a way that implies that you are doing everything wrong. Well, maybe not everything, but almost everything. Most of them simply do not understand that times have changed and that the challenges that you are facing may be completely unknown to them. Of course, there will be a lot of sound and meaningful advice as well. The earlier you learn how to spot it and ignore the unnecessary the easier it will be and fewer awkward situations you will be in. Just ignore.
Parenting books: read them, enjoy them and forget about them. According to parenting books, every problem that you have with your child is easy and can be fixed with several simple techniques. Most of those wise techniques will fail when you try then with your child and will only make you feel like a failure. Learn about child development from them, but understand that children are also individuals and there is no one-size-fit-all way of dealing with problems you may encounter during your parenting adventure.
Kindergarten/school staff: trained to care for children professionally, you will entrust your little treasure to their care, believing that they will know what to do. Some will, but be prepared to deal with people who simply ended up having a wrong job. In majority, they will not have enough time/energy to dedicate to your child only, which means a lot of misunderstandings and frustration. This will lead to them preaching you about your child, while, often not understanding anything about your child. Always remember: you know your child best.
Your friends: if your friends also have children you will end up in a variety of situations, but beware of the competitive friends: the species that uses every opportunity to measure their child against yours, and always to your, or your child’s disadvantage. Of course, they will be more than willing to share their ample and amazing skills and experience with you. Avoid them in the beginning, you will be too tired to deal with additional peer pressure.
Childless work colleagues: they will always be very vocal about not understanding what the special thing about having children is, and how they would never have children themselves. This will particularly be difficult in moments when you are suffocated under a pile of tasks, chronically tired and sleepy, and wondering if having children was a wise decision after all. They too (or most of them) will eventually settle down. Around half will probably be the most annoying parent specimen, utterly obsessed with their offspring. Just pay little attention to their comments, most of them will anyway pas over to the dark side.
In most cases, the advice will be well-meaning and helpful, but if it is not – just smile and carry on. And if the children are impossible – just send them to their room. It always works!