Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, by Mo Willems
The article is a regular feature in the magazine called Ask Katie. The subhead says Everyone has an opinion when it comes to raising children -- just make sure you keep yours to yourself. Mommy says it is funny and well-written -- and she says OF COURSE no one we know is like this!!
"[We] just carry on looking after our children with a variety of techniques ranging from military-style regimes, to barely-coping strategies. It works. Aside from the odd wobble -- when your child comes up with something totally left-field -- we know what we are doing. It's just a pity that other people don't believe us.
"You may get an inkling of what you're in for before your child is even born, as an avalanche of unwanted advice, ideas, opinions and crackpot theories is proffered. And it gets worse after your baby is born. Why won't people just shut up? Having been subjected to interfering family, friends and complete bloody strangers since I started to show a slight bump, I have formulated my own crackpot theory on this.
"Despite what they might say when under the influence of alcohol, most people don't know how to end world poverty or solve the economic crisis. They simply don't have the necessary experience. But hey, everybody has been a child, which they think makes them perfectly qualified to tell you how to bring up yours.
"So, while powerless to do anything about sub-prime mortgages, they will sound off at great length about how you should put your baby to bed, what you should give your child to eat, wear, play with or think, how to impart discipline and why children today are so spoilt and badly behaved.
"Ask yourself this -- how many times have you been told -- unsolicited -- how to bring up your child and what you are doing wrong? And how many times has anybody told you: "My, aren't you doing a good job"? Exactly.
"Of course, not everyone goes on at great length. But wordless condemnation is just as bad. The accumulated sighs, harrumphs, pursed lips and significant looks that a mother is subjected to can be enough to send her completely off her rocker... Mothers themselves are particularly good at doing this, so take a vow right now NEVER to do it yourself when the grandchildren arrive.
"There are times when we could all do with the odd word of kindly encouragement, but I fail to see why people take it on themselves to tell you how to do your job with such wearying regularity, when you haven't asked their opinion.
"When my daughter was a baby, people told me what she should wear (that is, they didn't like my taste in clothes), when I should pick her up (because that's how they treated their own children)... I even had a complete stranger in a lift criticise the shape of my pram (don't know what her bloody excuse was).
"They just never stop. And they never, ever will. So all you can really do is let all the criticism wash over you and do as you damn well please. Just don't start telling other people where you think they're going wrong" (extracted from Junior magazine, issue 162).
Have a super weekend everyone!!!