Be Your Own Mami: When Your Parenting Style Is “Wrong”

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One thing I have realized so far in my travels through motherhood, is how huge of a blow it is when someone tells you what you are doing is wrong. As if navigating the ever-changing, challenging channels of raising a little human is not enough, there are those good-(or poor-)intentioned souls whose comments make you question your choices, your visions, and can sometimes even leave you feeling depressed, hurt, angry, or isolated.

It can be especially difficult to hear this from the people you are closest to: your family. Particularly when you know that all they probably are saying, beneath those sharp words, is that they want your life to be easier, and for you and your baby to be happy. They frequently don’t realize that what they are saying is scratching away at your motherly confidence, or creating a rift between the two of you.

Here are some things to remember, when you find yourself facing opposition, to help you hold steady even if you don’t have the support you need:

  1. Over the years, there have been changes in scientific knowledge and awareness regarding every aspect of life. What happens frequently is that the nay-sayers are just not well-informed. The reference material they are utilizing, whether it’s old information, or their own personal experience, may be outdated or misguided in some way. This is okay! People learn new things all the time, and it doesn’t mean they’re stupid, or that they need to be told they’re wrong. A simple solution to this is to have some favorite credible reference material of your own that you can suggest they read, and educate themselves a little more. If they turn you down, offer to give them the highlights. If they’re not interested, find contentment in knowing that you gave them an opportunity to grow as a person and expand their understanding. Their choice to take that opportunity or not doesn’t make what you believe and practice any less effective or legitimate.
  2. Do research. Sometimes, people may give you information you didn’t already have, and perhaps it is something that will improve your life or the life of your little sweetie. It’s okay to admit to yourself that you have some learning to do; that’s what life is all about! Check into the advice you get, and see for yourself if you want to integrate it into your parenting style. Everyone’s experience with parenting is just a little different, because each parent and each child are a little different. It could be just the thing you have been searching for, and it could be a dud, but being a parent means making decisions, so feel good about your informed choices!
  3. Change the dynamic of your conversation. Become the conductor. Let the person know, after they have given you some advice or criticism, that you have made your decisions based on the information you’ve found and that they were made with your sweetie’s best interest in mind. Tell them that you are open to advice and suggestions, but that you will ask them for it when you have come to a bump in the road, and are searching for guidance. If they continue to press you, inform them firmly that you are comfortable with your methods of parenting, and that perhaps later would be a better time to talk. End the conversation on a peaceful, non-adversarial note. Not everything works for everyone, and it’s perfectly okay to remind others of that.
  4. Be your own mami! Everyone needs and deserves the time and space to decide how to live their lives, and to learn for themselves. We all make mistakes – it’s how we grow in the biggest ways. Just follow your internal compass and common sense as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to stick to doing what you feel is best for your child, family, and self.

What are some conscious decisions you can make to improve the feeling you get when in a conversation that is testing your patience or confidence? How can you boost your knowledge of the decisions you make to keep you focused on what feels right to you, even when you don’t have much, if any, support?

 

Encouraging Empowered Mamis Everywhere To Do What They Do

 

 

Mami

Mami is an artist, aspiring entrepreneur, and first-time, full-time mother. She enjoys long walks with Mr. Sweetie, good food and cooking, her family and dear friends, writing, arting and crafting. She doesn't know everything, but wants to learn, and loves to do research and share what she finds. She thinks life is like a box of puzzle pieces: you keep trying until it fits, because every piece has its place. She owns and operates whatever she sets her mind to, and knows that the sky is only the limit if you haven't left the ground yet.

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