Becoming a parent fills your world with more love and joy than you knew ever possible. It also fills your world with confusion, a bit of frustration, and a lot of unsolicited advice. We’ve all experienced it, the time you were told your kid needed socks, shouldn’t be eating that, or needs to behave better. The list of things you should or shouldn’t do is endless. Baby should sleep on their stomach, nope-their back. Toddler should go to pre-k for two years or maybe just one. Your child needs to say “Yes Mam,” or possibly that’s too stuffy. The teenager needs a 10:30 curfew or maybe that is too restricting.
In fact, there’s a whole section in bookstores and libraries telling us all how to do this parenting thing without making our kids into the next psychopath, the next dateline special, or the next Miley Cyrus. People are making millions professing they have the answer to parenting woes. They can’t all be right, can they?
Sure, we all have our “philosophy” even if our ideology sings more to the tune of “Fly by the seat of our pants!” More than we would ever like to admit our styles tend to mirror our own parents. Most of us swore we would be different. But the formative years of our youth do their damage and we end up more and more like our mothers and fathers every day.
The other day my husband and I were at the gas pump. Watching our daughters college fund fill up the tank and the man at the pump next to us had an exchange with his son. It went something along the lines of, “No, you can’t get out of the car right now. You don’t need to.” There was just a beat of time, filled with I’m sure a “Why?” from the child. And what did the father say? “Because I said so.”
The man then turned to us and stated “Get used to saying that. You know, ‘Because I said so.’ is a totally logical reason for your child not to do something. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.” Ah, the famous “Because I said so.” We have a love/hate relationship with the phrase. We hate the phrase when we hear it as a child, but love it when we get our own opportunity.
While I looked back at my sleeping baby girl I wondered when my turn would come to utter those words. Words probably not prescribed by the so called experts but words uttered by so many parental generations before me. So there must be something to it, right? This unsolicited parenting advice made me smile for a change. And I’m sure, someday, I will say that dreaded phrase and Millie will deal with it, because I said so.