Sunday, August 14, 2016

Passing it On

One of the girls' teachers is pregnant with her first child. It's exciting for her and it's exciting for all the moms. All of us are, at least it seems, done with having our own babies, and it's fun to to reminisce about pregnancy and newborns.

Sometimes, we can probably get overwhelming. We were sitting around one day, talking about newborn sleep schedules, and it was the kind of conversation that makes people think that moms are insane, as well as terrifies new parents because there is JUST TOO MUCH to think about.

Giving and getting advice from parents in the "been there, done that, this is how you should or shouldn't" way can feel incredibly patronizing, even if it isn't meant that way. I may think that I'm just telling a simple story about what I did five or six years ago, but to someone who is feeling bombarded with advice, they're hearing me saying that "this is the only right way to do it."

I'm still getting it now! One of the advantages of most of our activities is that they're very vertical. Lots of ages and stages all in one place, whether it's dance or gymnastics or our homeschool co-op. A shared anecdote about teaching reading or competition schedules turns into a story from a "been there" parent, and I feel like yelling that I know what I'm doing.

Even if I don't.

Stop telling me what to do!

Even though you weren't.

This gets even more intense around subject that people can find polarizing, or that people feel really passionate about. I have a mom, who I get along with very well, but who is absolutely anti-homeschooling. I made the mistake of complaining after a tough day to a group in which she was included, and I got a lecture about how amazing teachers are and it's important to give them credit.

I know how amazing teachers are. I was one. I taught with some who were OUTSTANDING. They deserve every single ounce of credit they get, and plenty of credit that they don't get. And honestly, this particular mom may have just been contributing to the discussion. But to me, it felt like a personal slight because I know she does things very differently and has been very vocal in the past.

Feeding. Schedules. Discipline. Car seat safety and which seats work best.

As a "been there, survived that" parent, you want to pass on successes and failures, if for no other reason than making one decision a little bit easier. I try to remember that, both when I'm getting the story and telling the story.

Try to remember why I'm telling the story. Try to remember why I'm hearing the story.

And know that passing it on is how every generation learns and grows.

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