Dear Tunester Family,
My big online course launch is behind us and now we can focus on the next big thing: the holidays. And specifically, the feeling that our family judges our parenting choices.
For those of you with a baby, this is a new frontier.
And for those of you with bigger kids – well, you know this is a thing.
Let us start with the much contested and very controversial Thanksgiving. I won’t go into all the pros and cons of it. I have a feeling you’ve done that work already. But I do want to delve into the most important stuff(ing) that might come up this weekend or in the holiday weeks to come.
Even one sly comment at each gathering can make us feel defensive about how we choose to parent. Sometimes they don’t even need to say a word. We just feel it. (Is it all in our heads? Maybe.) But we must have heard the critique at some point – possibly growing up as kids. My point is that it was enough to make us feel that there is a critical thought behind the smile, even if it goes unsaid. Which is almost as intolerable.
Why is this so torturous?
Because it awakens our own inner judge.
The problem with parenting is that there is no right way. We will forever try to find the key to the daughter who eats everything on her plate, the baby who sleeps through the night, the toddler who doesn’t have tantrums at the table, or the son who doesn’t curse at his mama (see prior post). But it just doesn’t exist.
Our journey as parents is to continually DO OUR BEST.
When a family member questions our choices, that brings up all of our doubts.
And they are PLENTY.
We work so hard to understand our kids *and* we are also just children trying to understand ourselves. So when your toddler hits the floor in a mad tantrum, you cycle into your rolodex of what you could be doing better. And what you are doing wrong. When that family member comments on the fact that we are no longer nursing or nursing too long; putting the baby down too early or too late; being too lax or too firm; then something happens. Your inner judge comes to life – and it is ruthless.
So what do we do?
Tell your own inner judge to shut the front door.
Parents, I know you tune in. I know you are doing your best. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes you go to sleep wondering why you lost your temper so easily or why you didn’t allow that one thing, or why you couldn’t have just been a little more patient, more loving and more playful. And that is the work.
I know you are doing your absolute best.
And more importantly, YOU know you are.
Remember this when you are with your family this weekend or in the month to come:
You love your baby deeply. You are working hard at this parenting thing and are doing pretty darn great. You have made decisions based on who YOU are and who your BABY is, and they are good decisions.
If you can truly sit with that, then the comments won’t touch you as deeply. Sure, it will be annoying. Nobody has the right to criticize anyone else. But it won’t be as triggering. Because their judge won’t be communicating directly with your inner judge. In fact, their outer judge will only be communicating with their inner judge, which we can’t do a thing about.
You remember that.
And for that snide commentor? Give them a compliment.
I’m dead serious. I got this idea from my daughter actually. The other day she was having a playdate. I overheard her friend say, “There is a girl in my class and she is so mean to me!” And my daughter said, “Give her a compliment!”
If you want to go above and beyond and want to communicate with their inner judge – give them a compliment.
Tell them you remember how well they parented, how they seem to really connect to your baby; how they seem to have great instincts.
This last instruction is not simple, I know. It would be pretty big of us if we could do this.
But maybe we can try. For the sake of a complicated holiday that reminds us to be better people.
So tell me – do you relate? Are you prepping your retorts for parenting “advice”?
Can you see yourself giving a compliment instead. I’d love to hear. COMMENT below.
Do you have a friend heading into a familial panel of judges? Help them get through it. Send them the link below so they can read this one and sign up for more.
Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!