Choosing Your Village

Who do you take your parenting advice from? By Elise Willson

It takes a village to raise a child right? Well apparently every man and his dog would love to be considered ‘in’ my village!

It’s a wonder of humanity that when people’s opinions of themselves seem so low, they’ve never been so quick to ‘enlighten’ me and my world with their own opinions on raising my little ones.. Don’t worry, this is not a whining article about telling people to mind their own bloody business but actually my reflection on the absolute importance on not doing this parenting gig alone. We canNOT devalue the importance of accepting and asking for help, while at the same time being VERY careful about who you actually take advice from, and ‘accept in your village’.

In every single area of life you will have people jump in front of a moving train to make sure you know their opinion. I will never ever forget the moment for me when I was gushing to a group of girls about my recent, incredibly romantic, whirlwind 5 days spent in the UK meeting and falling for a Prince-William-eat-your-heart-out Englishman, that one lady piped up with a ‘oh but honey, you surely don’t expect it to last over long distance?’ …The patronising, shut down of my cloud nine euphoria simultaneously burst my happy bubble and very nearly caused a bitch slap I hadn’t produced since grade 8.. Glad to say I now have the ultimate ‘told you so’ with that sexy Englishman being my happily wedded bedfellow for six years now! But I still often refer back to this moment when I need reminding that while everyone is entitled to their opinion, you are just as entitled to not give a damn. Do T-Swifty proud and Shake it Off!!

Cheesy quote coming at you.. REMEMBER:

 ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the greatest things you can do for your family AND yourself is to pick and choose whose opinions are valid in your life! Every single day we are constantly bombarded with contrasting and conflicting advice and as a parent (or anyone for that matter) this is incredibly overwhelming. I even found that the simple differences in what each midwife would advise me was overwhelming at times. Of course, it is a ridiculous notion to wish that every medical professional would adhere to exactly the same philosophies.. Differences in opinions, approaches and treatments are what keep the medical world advancing! BUT, it can be pretty damn confusing at times (let alone when you introduce Dr Google into the picture).

Before you let the big scary world of parenting advice knock your socks off… I honestly recommend sitting down with yourself (and a glass of vino) and identifying a few people in your life who…

  • Are honest about their parenting choices, mistakes and triumphs! Honesty is unfortunately both crucial and rare… Remember though that constantly whining about ‘the little brats’ doesn’t make them honest, it probably just means they’re negative.
  • Are a couple of steps ahead… Or at the same stage. They say pregnancy is contagious.. Once one friend bites the bullet, it can be a little weird how many jump on the baby bandwagon… but there is A LOT to be said about not going it alone… I know for me, having a freakish amount of my friends producing babies at the same time was (and is) an ABSOLUTE LIFESAVER!!!! So many phone calls, texts and catch-ups have centered on ‘did yours do this?’ ‘what did you do when…?’ and most of all ‘how long does this stage last????’
  • Have something you envy! Ok so envy is a bad word, I mean in a ‘role model’ sense of the word! If you know someone who seems to absolutely own an area of parenting… Find out their secret! Watch, listen and learn! Do you want the smashing post pregnancy body they have? Let them fill you in on the 4am starts and green smoothies they drink all day! Does their marriage seem to be miraculously thriving in the newborn days? Listen to how they speak to their partner, and vice versa!

Baby Bean

Bonus tip: Don’t focus on celebrities! It’s totally ok to ‘look up’ to someone famous but this can only go so far! Choose parents in your circle, your own parents even (if you’re lucky enough to have ones that instilled in you more than a fear of ever starting a family… Happy to say I’m sickeningly close with my folks) or build a closer relationship with some parents you admire… And if you’re looking around you thinking ‘I wouldn’t take parenting advice from anyone I know’… Then I give you my strongest permission to change up your friendship circles a bit!

You will hear advice every single day of your parenting life… and so much of it will be well meaning… (this post in itself is advice on taking advice, the irony is not lost on me) … but do yourself a favour and identify those few people who can be your ‘go-to’s’ . You and your family deserve it! It’s going to be tough regardless, but having those few people whose opinions you trust inexplicably will carry you through some big hurdles.

I’m sure I’m not the only one! Who else has struggled with knowing who to listen to for advice? Do you have an amazing parenting guru? Or do you find yourself swayed and convinced by every strong viewpoint (I know I definitely used to)?

Be open about not having all the answers, and protect your little ‘village’ by being selective about who you listen to for parenting advice! I promise you, it makes it so much easier!

xxx Elise

Meet Elise

Elise Willson

“Wife to someone ridiculously handsome. Mum to a sassy, hilarious little girl. Past pro events planner who you now find in my loved escape of both exploring the inspiring and FUN world of kids interiors and fashion, while writing REAL, relatable and (hopefully) humorous posts on this incredible and overwhelming parenting gig!” @_baby_bean

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