I saw a blogger do a teaser on Instagram about how she’s made this tough decision about her child that she knew was going to get a lot of backlash.
Her click bait worked. I was curious.
What could it be? Vaccines? Spanking her child? Not enrolling her kids in school? Encouraging her children to bite strangers?
I had no idea.
I obviously clicked through.
It turns out she decided to keep her summer birthday little girl home another year instead of send her to kindergarten. She clearly gave it considerable thought, sharing an in-depth post with her pros and cons that I absolutely thought would be helpful to any parent in the same situation.
And, at the end of the day, it sounded like they made the right decision for her daughter.
The thing is, my opinion — and all of her readers — are completely irrelevant.
Who am I to have an opinion on their daughter and their parenting?!
Who are any of us to decide or weigh in on such a deeply personal decision and situation?
At the same time, I’m trying to balance my role as a blogger/content creator and mom. If you put yourselves out there you have to be ready for opinions, like it or not. I get that.
I struggle though because there’s a difference when people over-share every parenting detail and ask a million questions in Facebook groups (intense!) vs. sharing parenting insight and intel in the hopes of helping others through the journey.
Not wanting advice reminds me why we didn’t tell people our children’s names before they are born. I wasn’t seeking opinions. 😉
The fact that she worried about backlash is sad.
And, it’s a shame because her story is important.
I am incredibly grateful she shared their journey because these are real conversations and struggles that we as moms and dads are having. I’ve heard them and I’ve had them. We all always want to do the right thing by our kiddos.
The truth is that she likely worried because people have criticized her parenting or something else before.
The idea that we feel we have a right to judge, criticize another mama for doing what she believes is the absolute best for her kid is not OK.
That decision will impact no one else, at least not in a meaningful way.
A few weeks ago I shared in this post the phrase, “Don’t let someone in the cheap seats have an expensive opinion in your life.”
A very smart, insightful reader (hi Sharon!) reminded us that this goes both ways. She mentioned Brene Brown’s “man in the arena” TED talk (watch it here) about not giving weight to people who are not in the arena with us. The thing is, Sharon shared, she is equally careful to not give her opinion if she is not, or has not, been in someone else’s arena.
BOOM. Think about this. It’s so good. And, it’s advice I have taken to heart.
I’ll confess: while I rarely if ever give unsolicited parenting advice, I do often think I have good ideas that other people or small businesses would find value in knowing. Like, literally 10 times a day I want to make a recommendation or share insight with someone. Funny enough, I think it’s why I started a blog and also plays into my PR and marketing background (and obsession with watching Shark Tank and The Profit, alas I digress).
But, as Sharon so eloquently pointed out… did anyone ask for my opinion?
I’ve stopped myself at least five times thanks to Sharon’s wisdom.
The point is…
I am incredibly grateful for moms and dads who put themselves out there, with meaningful, accurate and insightful content that can hopefully make me a better parent.
If I don’t like or agree with their perspective, I close the page, unfollow or move along. I’m not in their home — or their arena, so to speak — nor are they in mine.
Plus, I can imagine we each have enough going on in our own arena. Let’s remember to keep the focus and positive energy where it belongs.
Join the Conversation
JessicaSeptember 29, 2018 at 4:31 AM
This is such a lovely read, so well written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this dear.
Jessica | notjessfashion.com
SharonSeptember 26, 2018 at 7:32 AM
You just made my day! I was having a tough morning and reading that you thought I was smart and insightful just put a little spring in my step for the day. Thank you!!!
Kimberly SmithSeptember 26, 2018 at 7:12 AM
Love the arena analogy & it’s so true! I’ve often received unsolicited parenting advice from well-meaning people and I’ve also been one of those to innocently give it without being asked. This is such an important reminder for us all!
OanaSeptember 26, 2018 at 5:25 AM
Very well put! The arena analogy is something I need to consider because it would really benefit my (mental) health. Thank you for sharing!