My Unsolicited Advice
A year or so ago I ran into a friend that I see every three
or four years. She is my age, with kids
my age so we had a lot to talk about. Of
course she asked me “How is motherhood going?”
I didn’t answer right away, because that week it had been stinky. Not like depression, or spousal abuse kind of
stinky but more like piles of manure-coated laundry, and sick children stinky. Not bad compared to some people, but no
picnic with puppies either.
So, she asked the question, and I thoughtfully considered
what to say. I went the honest route and
said something like “Well it was pretty tough this week. Being a mom is hard”.
Oh dear. A well of
knowledge bubbled up out of her mouth and poured over me. It was complete with a four step program to
be a better mom, a book I needed to
read, and lots of real-life illustrations.
When the conversation was done, I was annoyed. I felt angry that because of my honesty, she
felt compelled to help. I didn’t want
help; I wanted the assurance that I wasn’t alone. I wished I would have said the normal thing,
“Oh it’s tough, but so fulfilling. I
wouldn’t change it for the world.” ( I cannot tell you how often I’ve heard
people say that.)
Gene, naturally thought I over-reacted, (I had) and thought
I need to take in consideration that she meant well (I wasn’t in the mood).
When I love my kids like I should, when I’m living a
disciplined lifestyle, when I try a new discipline technique and it actually works, then I feel like I’ve
found the key to successful living.
Sometimes those weeks happen to me, and while it’s very fun, it doesn’t really
breed brokenness. Usually it starts to bug me when other people gripe about their
lives. I want to yell “just do what I do;
and it will all turn out A-OK.”
Then I get a stinky
week again, and I realize that I am at the receiving end of both wonderful
weeks and stinky weeks.
In contrast to the friend above, our close friends have a live and let live mantra. So much so that when we first had children I
was trying to figure out sleep patterns and how to get babies to sleep through
the night. Ignorantly I asked about
crying it out vs. rocking to sleep.
Well, I was met with “Do whatever you want”, and I was frustrated
because I didn’t know what I wanted. That’s why I’m asking ok?! (Also I was ignorant to the fire-storm an
innocent question can raise, and my wiser friends knew better than to even
My advice is this: Do not give advice to anybody, unless
they ask for it.
ask, they truly want it. Give it.