As busy parents we often spend way too much time worrying about what other people think about us and the choices we make. I am a great believer in doing what is best for you and your family and letting other people do what is best for theirs. This can of course be difficult if the people disagreeing with you are particularly vocal or are closely related to you in some way, but if it is important enough, be strong and hold your ground. You know what is best in your personal circumstances.
I once told a colleague that I was going to have a massage on the weekend. At the time my children were very young and I was working full time. Her reaction was almost outrage. She basically told me I was being selfish and should be putting my children’s needs before my own. I began to question myself. Perhaps it was self indulgent, maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about how great it would feel to lie quietly with my eyes shut for an hour, not having any obligations to anyone or anything.
Luckily I told this story to a friend of mine and she had the complete opposite view. She knows how much trouble I have with my back and how busy I was with two small children and a demanding job. Her question to me was ‘So how long do you think you will be able to keep up this pace if you don’t take some time out for yourself once in a while?’ She told me that if I had a nervous breakdown I would not be any good to anyone. That helped me put the whole thing back into perspective. I did need to do something just for me and at that point what I needed was a massage.
Of course there will be times when another person’s perspective will open our eyes to things we could be doing differently. Learn from these ideas and use them to help you become the type of parent you want to be. However, when someone else’s views don’t match your own parenting philosophy, file their advice into the rubbish pile and go on with your life.
My advice: Have confidence in your own opinions and don’t waste any of your precious time worrying about other people’s.