Monday, June 16, 2014

The best non-advice I ever got about parenting

The dang Huffington Post always sucks me in with their headlines: "The 4 Things You Must Never Say To Your Daughter" or "The 7 Ways To Make Sure You Have The Perfect Child", or something along those lines. Whoever they have working for them to write those headlines deserves every penny. I always find myself clicking through to read the wisdom promised to be shared in the article they've posted.

The funny thing is that I have never finished reading one of those articles or blogs and really felt like I have just unlocked some secret about parenting that is going to alter the course of my life forever. They are entertaining. I relate to a good deal of them, a least a little. Earth shattering? Life changing? Not hardly.

Actually, some of the best parenting advice I ever got was from someone that was basically telling me to ignore parenting advice, in general. Here's what happened:

Right after S and I found out that we were pregnant, we went to S's friend's child's birthday party. Soon, all of the attendees found out that we were expecting, and the advice starting FLOWING. Now, I didn't want to be rude, so I politely listened, smiled and nodded. I even thanked most of the people that offered the unsolicited advice - most of which directly contradicted anything said by the person before or after.

I was beginning to feel slightly overwhelmed, and then, the sister of my husband's friend pulled me aside. I fully expected to get another dose of parenting wisdom, since she had just had a child of her own a couple of years prior. Instead, she said something that I locked on to and haven't let go since.

She leaned in, looked me in the eye and asked, "Jeannine, do you have a couple of really good girlfriends?"

Confused, I said, "Of course, I do. I have some of the best friends in the world."

Smiling, she sat back and said, "Good! Have they have kids?"

Still confused, I replied, "Yes, some of them have."

Smiling even bigger, she asked, "Do you like those kids? Did they turn out pretty well?"

Now, totally confused, I simply answered, "Well, yeah. Most of them are great!"

She slapped her hands on her legs and stood up, satisfied with my answer. "Perfect. Then, ignore these people. Listen to your gut and your girlfriends. Call them when you want advice, and don't get bogged down in what anyone else thinks, especially perfect strangers at a kid's birthday party. Keep your circle small, and you'll be fine."

I laughed and let her help me up out of the chair. I understood. We started to walk back towards everyone else at the party, and then, she suddenly turned with an extremely grave look on her face. She had one final thing to share.

"Oh, but they are dead right about Kegels. Those things are SERIOUS!"