Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Giving and Receiving

Luke's first birthday party went very well! My parents alone with a friend and her daughter came over to celebrate. I was glad that we kept things small. I think it made everything a lot more fun. Luke didn't really go for the cake, although he did taste the icing. I am more and more convinced that he really likes the most bland food you can buy. (That's funny since I lived on Indian when I was pregnant.)



We all know about receiving advice and how annoying it can be. When I was trying to get pregnant I wanted to hurt anyone who started a sentence with, "Have you tried...." Now that I have a child, it doesn't stop. There is always someone willing to offer their opinion about what or how to do things. Sometimes, advice and judgment meld together in a messy lump. You aren't potty training? He still eats baby food? He isn't solving differential equations, yet?

I've been thinking a lot about this, lately, because I have come to realize that some people view information sharing as advice/judgment. I try to be really careful about what Luke eats and plays with. I check labels, I do research and I'm not a big fan of giving juice to a one year old. I'm certainly not perfect and Luke ate some dirt the other day, which is not on the food plan, but I do the best I can. I have friends who are of the same mind. We exchange information about recalls, chemicals in toys, new labeling laws and anything else that might be useful. I especially rely on the blog world for input, as you have probably noticed. I also have friends who don't approach their parenting in the same way. Well, they are pretty much the opposite. It does bother me sometimes if I feel like the child will ultimately suffer, but unless the child might really be in danger or I am asked, I just stay out of it.

I have one friend who asks for information or advice and then resents getting it. I think she feels really guilty about her choices in life and doesn't know how to process that. I don't think she's a bad parent or a bad person, but I really don't know how to deal with her anymore. I've tried to be really aware of how I answer her questions, but no approach seems to work. This isn't just directed at me. She acts this way towards others as well. It has made me examine the question of whether I can be friends with someone whose approach to parenting (especially discipline) is so very different from mine.

Do you welcome advice or input from trusted friends or would you just have people leave you alone completely? Have you ever had to end a friendship because, as parents, you were just too different?

19 comments:

Kate said...

I have a couple observations about what you're saying.

First, and I think this is interesting and plays into your point -- most of my friends are childless by choice. And most of them are older than me. This has caused problems in my friendships, because, well, they have no freakin' idea what it's like to BE me. And they're certain that if they WERE in my shoes, they wouldn't go around making everything harder and making problems for themselves like *I* do. ;-)

On the other side of the spectrum are my friends with kids who parent differently than I do. One of my best friends parents in a way opposite from me. She doens't let her kids have sugar or watch TV or play video games or be on the computer. I think that's fine, but that's not how WE roll, and I wish she would just respect that and not be judgmental with me for how I choose to raise my child. But alas... she is. And I don't see that changing. It's something she NEEDS to do, in order to help validate her own choices.

It's annoying as hell to me. I can tell you that it has already interfered with our friendship, because I feel I have to limit what I tell her about my life.

But that's okay cuz I have all sorts of online peeps now who are supportive and know I'm just doing the best I can... even if it's not as good as someone else's "best". ;-)

Suck it, judgmental peeps! BWHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Stella said...

For the most part I think it depends on the situation and the person giving the advice or information. I welcome new information but I have a hard time taking information/advice from people who have not been where I have been, i.e. people who do not have children giving me child advice.

There are points, though, where the opposite perspective is important to consider. I think that certain situations and people can give ideas and thoughts on something from a point of view we may not be able to see!!

So glad Luke's party went well!

Fertilized said...

I feel your pain. I think this is one reason I am having such a problem fitting a social network as a parent. The whole judgement thing

darcie said...

I am soo not a fan of getting advice from people unless I specifically went looking for it. It's hard enough to be a parent without having people judge your every move - which they do. It makes me feel inadequate and useless even when I was previously sure of my decision(s). For me personally, I try to live and let live (unless, like you - I feel the child could be in danger).
I don't feel there is any right way to parent ~ what works for one may not work for another...
While I haven't necessarily had any strained relationships...I have had to cut back time spent with people who don't have my same live and let live theory...

Fertilized said...

Happy 1 yr Luke

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I don't offer up advise unless it is asked for. I do ask certain friends for recommendations and advice because I value their opinions and respect decisions they make. I don't think if I asked for it I would turn around and resent the advice given. I really can't say that I would end a friendship over differences in parenting, but if they were putting their child in danger I'm sure I would.

Aunt Becky said...

Good question! I don't have friends with kids (which is weird because I'm not like 16 or something), but occasionally one of them will bust in with something just..asinine.

I'm still mad at my best friend for trying to tell me not to freak out or worry (implying that I shouldn't) about Amelia's encephalocele. Which, hello offensive! Would you be offended by that or am I a weirdo?

Delenn said...

Happy Birthday Luke!!!

I don't get advice (oh, yeah, from my MIL, which I ignore)...but I think that is mainly because I have a 10 year old--people can see I kinda already got this parenting thing under control.

On the other hand, Michael is a special case because of his ADHD, etc. So, I do get advice on how to handle his issues, etc.

And I will be the first to admit that I give advice--but only when asked!

Fitting in with other parents--its always a struggle...

Artblog said...

happy birthday Luke, so cute :) (It's Dan's next week :)

I have given up a friend because she was just an idiot but mostly because we were so different, don't miss her at all or her "advice" in the least! I haven't got the patience to hang around people who ultimately drive me mad, life is too short and I have enough pride to get by :)

xxx

Karyn said...

Even if Luke didn't eat the cake... he sure did look cute posing with it!

seussgirl said...

I welcome the "for what it's worth, this is what I do" approach; that leaves me open to deciding whether that's how I want to do it. That's how I try to impart "advice" to others. Like giving registry advice - "this is what worked for us, but because of x, y, and z, you may choose something different."

Happy Birthday!

lifelemons said...

I definitely welcome advice from my close friends! Especially when they have already gone through the same thing.

Courtney said...

So glad the birthday festivities got off to such a great start! Happy first birthday Luke!!!

I am open to advice from trusted friends, but I usually listen to whichever direction it is coming from. The people-pleaser in me knows that some people just need to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) so I hear them out if it will make them feel better. Then I promptly do a brain dump of the information. :)

Dreamer4agift said...

Happy Birthday, Luke:-)

As far as advice, well, I don't take it well from ppl who've not been anywhere near wearing my shoes. Like going through IF, I could not STAND for ppl who already had children (w/o trying of course) or who had never wanted kids to give ME advice...still erks me b/c I have a couple of ppl that refuse to give up the whole "I told you if you just relaxed..." statement, despite the fact of my m/c...At any rate, I don't have my child here right now, still incubating:-) But I will admit that I find it hard to accept advice from anyone else other than my blogger friends or my mom. I have some friends who annoy the crap out of me with "just wait" statements or comments that make it seem like I won't know what to do in certain situations. I guess I do better with HOW they approach it, instead of forcing their un-asked for opinions.

I DO have a best friend who I completely disagree with how she acted while she was pg and some stuff she's done while raising her 2 kids...but they're not life threatening, so unless I'm asked, I just give an ear to listen when she needs it. Plus, I try to make sure an encourage her on the things I think she's doing great at.

MrsSpock said...

If I ask for it, or if it's from a trusted friend- sure.

If it's from someone who is is all "judgey" about my failure to birth naturally, breastfeed successfully, make my own babyfood, and keep the TV off 24/7- then nope. Luckily those people are few and far between.

La La said...

Sorry, I don't really have any advice for you just yet...we are still sort of making up our own minds on all of those things.

I CAN sympathize about how annoying unwanted advice can be (my mom is the QUEEN of that - she thinks every converstaion my husband and I happen to have within her hearing rage is an invitation for her input).

Happy first birthday Luke!!

FattyPants said...

I welcome most advice I get, although some of it is met with an extreme inner eye roll, like the person who told me 10 months was old enough for suckers. Can you feel how hard my eyes are rolling? I think most advice is given with good intentions, but there seems to be a fine line between advice and criticism in some situations.

And happy birthday luke!

Amanda said...

Happy belated birthday, Luke!!!

I guess the advice thing doesnt really bother me. Sometimes I solicit it because I am very unsure and insecure about whether I am doing the right thing as a new mommy. But there have been a lot of people who wanted to throw in their two cents about a lot of things they didn't really have a clue about in our situation. They wanted have wanted to tell us how we can make Brooklyn gain weight...how we can make her sleep through the night....how we can "make her" learn to sit, crawl, walk, whatever. They don't get that there are medical issues there and that if there were a simple way to fix these things, her doctors would have already told us. I know their intentions are good, so I just tune most of that out, even though it does irritate me at times.

K.Rock said...

I know I'm a little late responding to this, but as you know, time is in high demand these days. I was just thinking on this last week. In just a matter of a few years, most of my friends went from being single bar-hoppers, to settled down parents... and we're finding that we just don't have too much in common any more. From some of these friends, I seek out advice while with others, I definitely don't even want their opinions, but will politely keep my mouth shut if it is offered otherwise.

I, too, have found so much more support online. I joined a message board just to have a place to talk to without worrying about what I should or shouldn't say to some of my friends. It's an odd transition to make, to say the least.

And happy belated first birthday to Luke!