The “advice” trap

Ever wonder why parents – more likely, Mom’s – love to share their stories and struggles about their kids with anyone who will listen? Even complete strangers? Why mom’s tend to gravitate towards the many, many, many online parenting forums and Facebook groups?  I have fallen into this very habit in the last year or so, too.  Although lately I’ve had some thoughts as to why it happens to so many of us.

I’m not saying that these forums and groups are bad, at least not always.  They can be a great place for mom’s to release some steam, share their experiences, and look for advice on their own situations from other mom’s. Especially useful for those Mama’s out there who are first time moms, single moms, or who don’t have many other mama friends.  With the invention of the internet and chat rooms and blogs and Facebook, Mom’s now have a way to make connections with other mothers, and find support where otherwise they may struggle.

But, the downfall I’ve found is that often times we all fall into this kind of trap, where upon trying to find a safe place to talk about our experiences, we put our entire lives out there.  We air all of our dirty laundry to complete strangers.  We feel safe in knowing that we don’t actually know any of these people, so we share far too much about our personal lives.  In doing this we open ourselves up to judgment and ridicule from the very people we were asking for support.  More often than not, I’ve seen someone’s post be misconstrued for sarcasm, or venting be misinterpreted as a cry for help beyond the obligatory “I feel your pain, you’ve got this” response.  Suddenly, your safe place is no longer that.  Even if 90% of the responses you get are positive and encouraging, the other 10% will make you feel like crap.  Your little irony about how expensive baby food is suddenly becomes a soapbox for all the “DIY” mom’s, somehow shaming you into feeling as if you are doing the worst thing for your kid by buying off the shelf instead of making everything from the organic-home-grown garden you should have.

So back to the question of why.  Why do us moms feel that we need the validation from other moms? Why do we tend to ask complete strangers questions about our own flesh and blood?  Why do we rely on others to make us feel like we are being good parents?

I have no flippin idea.

I do know that we all tend to fall into this trap at some point or another.  We all want to feel validated.  We all want our opinions, experiences, and know-how to be important and valued.  We want to feel like we know what we are doing, and that our trial and error can, and will, help someone else.  Truth be told, none of us know what we are doing.  We are all walking around with our eyes closed, trying not to run into the walls.  We are all struggling to find our way as parents.  And, maybe, trying to find this validation from others will shed some light.

Working Mama’s

There are few mothers I know who are blessed with the opportunity (and the desire) to be a stay-at-home mom.  For some of us mama’s we need an outlet for ourselves, and work provides that for us among the other obvious monetary reasons.  For other mama’s their dream is to be a mother and a wife, and those two things provide plenty of work and rewards on their own.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  I love being a mama, and given the opportunity, I would make the most out of being a stay-at-home mom.  However our family, like many, is faced with the necessity of two incomes…so alas I continue to work.

That being said, my situation is different.  I have the very rare opportunity to bring J with me to work every day.  Yup, I work for my Dad.  And when J came along, our agreement was that I would continue to work full time if J could come with me.  Not that I had to beg or anything, this also means that my parents get to see their little one almost every day.  Win-win.  In a way I get the best of both worlds.  I get to be with J every day, all day, and I get to earn a living.  But there are always drawbacks…

For one, even though J is with me every day, I really don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with him. I do have a job to do every day.  And even though he’s in the same room as me, and I get to give him snuggles all day long, he does not have my undivided attention unless he’s nursing for naptime.  Then I have to try and squeeze as much productivity into his 30 minute naps as possible without waking him up with my typing or paper rustling.

On the pro side, I do get to see him every day all day long.  And he gets to see his gramma and grampa almost that often too.  I do love that part.  He doesn’t constantly get sick from all the germies in daycare, and I’m not shelling out 1/2 (or more) of my paycheck every month to a daycare.

Then again, in daycare he would get a lot more social interaction with other kiddo’s on a regular and daily basis.  He’d get to play in a setting built for him, and he’d probably get a lot more focused attention…

But isn’t it saying a lot that I get to be with him 24/7?  Is that enough? Or too much? Or not enough? Or is he missing out?

Ahh, this must be the same battle that other mama’s have on a daily basis as well.  What is really best for my kiddo?  If I stay home, they get me but maybe not a lot of anyone else….but if I work then they don’t get enough of me and too much time in someone else’s care.

One of the many never ending battles that us mama’s face in the lifelong debate over what is best for our children and how to make the best out of whatever situation we are in as a family.  Be it finances, needs, desires…it’s a matter of balancing what is best for the family and what is best for our kids.  I’d like to think that no matter how “perfect” someone else’s situation seems, or how envious us mama’s get of other mama’s, that we are all having the same struggles.  Somehow I find comfort in the fact that I’m probably not the only one wondering if I’m doing the right thing, or doing things right.

 

He does have a pretty good setup in my office though…his “office” space is bigger than mine!

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Pretty sure he’s got more toys at work then at home!

 

 

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Empty shelves and cardboard boxes are the best toys ever!

 

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Water bottle baby gate?

Beginnings

I’m the (fairly) new mom of a 10 month old little boy.  I don’t claim to be an expert on anything.  More so, I have big dreams and not enough time in the day.  I am a Pinterest addict (who isn’t?!) and am quite crafty when I have the time.  I like to learn about and try new things that have to do with my family – although I don’t consider myself to be a “fad” follower per say. Product reviews, meals, new mama missteps, crafts & organization ideas, and anecdotes about my own experiences are some of the things you’ll see here.

My goal with this new blog is to share stories and thoughts about things that most other Mama’s may find interesting, new, familiar, relate-able, or just amusing.

As many of my friends are also starting families, I find it comforting to be able to share in my experiences with them and to hear their experiences as well.  There’s something about power in numbers and knowing that not everyone does everything the same that makes getting through the challenges of being a new Mama less.  I hope that it does the same for you as well 🙂