Finding our best in the age of perfect parenting

My husband and I were driving the other weekend and I was taking advantage of this quality time to let him into my world of stay-at-home motherhood; Sharing the mental load is so important to bridge our otherwise drastically different roles.

I started rambling about my latest reads relating to our three-year old.  I said something to the tune of, “I think we need to be more patient when he starts doing …” 

“I think we are already doing a pretty good job,” he interrupted. “I mean, yeah. That’s interesting. But, don’t you ever get tired of scanning outside research in an effort to keep perfecting everything?” 

Something I thought was helpful became something that made him feel critiqued. This exchange stuck with me and made me wonder how much expert advice was shaping our days. The answer would end up being boat loads, but that’s not surprising. It begged the question, at what point does the stuff that’s designed to empower us teeter on the line of disempowering us?

Out of curiosity and to entertain my husband’s question, I spent an intentional three minutes a day saving whatever parenting-related posts arose while scrolling my newsfeed. Here is what I found from just one day of taking note:

  • There’s always a reason for the way our kids act. It’s NOT random. Get Kids to Listen the Right Way. 
  • Get those kids gardening! 7 Reasons Why Your Child Should Garden 
  • At what age did your kid know their colors?
  • There is zero evidence that weighing our children in school leads to improved health. We are creating a fat-phobic society. Let’s Smash weigh-ins and teach kids body positivity. 
  • Phones and Tablets causing mental health issues in kids as young as two. 
  • 20 phrases to use when your child isn’t listening.
  • Raising Our Kids Near Their Cousins is the Greatest Gift We Could Ever Give Them.
  • Baby Name Regret is More Common Than You Think.
  • How to correct a child’s bad behavior with positive parenting
  • Emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of a child’s future happiness and success. 
  • Raising a Positive Child in a Negative World
  • Don’t let your preschoolers forget how to play!
  • Why Is Your Child Behaving This Way? 

I can’t imagine how long this list actually is when factoring in the fact that I tend to spend more than three minutes a day online. Each resource is interesting and can be valuable, but, is there a hidden cost when expert guidance infiltrates daily moments when we weren’t even actively asking questions?

When picking up my son from school the other day, he asked me a series of why questions. I gave many answers until I ran out of answers. I ended with a, “Well, because I said so, sweetie.” I immediately thought in my head, “Oh! You just listened to a podcast on why that phrase does not work. Don’t say that.” 

Sometimes my internal dialogue is as corrective as that list. And on those days, that might be my signal of too much. As much of an advantage as it can be to parent with access to information, it’s grounding to remember that we weren’t born needing correction at the pace and sheer volume that it is given to us today.

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