Having twins on our first rodeo was pretty brutal, to put it gently. The first year with the girls was a fuzzy blur of diapers, formula, and laundry with lots of baby crying sprinkled in. So as our youngest daughter turned 8 months recently, I found myself thinking about how much easier this go around was compared to our first.
As tough as raising two babies was, it offered some valuable shifts in my parenting paradigm and perspective. With the twins, we saw just how different babies could be due to their genetic differences. Despite having received identical upbringing, our girls could not be more different in their behavior and character. Witnessing baby V grow-up, only further imprinted on me just how unique each baby can be.
Apples to Oranges
This “Aha!” moment of parenting helped me realize that there is no singular approach to parenting. What may have worked for your grandparents, parents, friends, and colleagues may not necessarily work for you.
With three kids, I have witnessed a plethora of differences between raising twins and a single baby. As well as how different two kids can be, even when they go through everything together. A child’s unique predisposition coupled with the even more unique family dynamic creates an infinite set of permutations to consider.
So when it comes time to compare notes on parenting, please do so with an open mind and a compassionate heart. Just because someone’s child is developing differently than yours doesn’t mean one of you is doing it right and the other wrong.
At times it can be hard to listen to advice coming at you from friends and family; it is even harder when it comes from complete strangers! I admit it… I’m human. I’m not perfect. I judge. Sometimes.
But I have never, ever thought of walking up to a strange parent and begin offering them advice on how to best deal with their child. I have, however, witnessed others that are apparently not nearly as bashful as I am.
The interactions are almost always painful to watch, as often a parent struggling with a child now has to divert attention to listen to a complete stranger offer their sage advice. Even when there are no children involved, I’ve witnessed a stranger insert themselves into a random conversation they overheard.
In the end, I urge anyone considering offering unsolicited advice, especially to parents, to remember that opinions are like armpits – everyone had them and most of the time they stink.