I have always been ‘the smart one’. In school, I was a choice pick for group projects, my classmates knew I would do my share (or more) of the work. The smarter kids were happy to have me because I’d pull my weight and the slacker kids wanted me because they knew I’d pull theirs. At all of my various jobs I became a go-to person because I was able to learn the ins and outs of a position, understand how it worked in the big picture, and I could help others in a way that didn’t make them feel small or stupid. I retain information like a sponge, and therefore, I know stuff. Lots of stuff-important stuff, random trivia. Sometimes I can come across as very knowledgeable because I know some key pieces of information, but I am in no way an expert on anything.
At times, my ‘smarts’ would make people come to me seeking advice, either work related or personal-life related. I am fortunate in that my mom has taught me how to allow people to come to their own conclusions. By listening to someone, then repeating back what they have said, I’ve been lucky that those asking me for advice are often able see their issue in a new light and come up with their own solutions. I am rarely tempted to actually advise someone to take a certain path.
Since I have become a parent, I am running into difficulties with not offering ass-vice. With my previous desire to never advise for fear of leading someone in the wrong direction, this is a strange new development. I have to remind myself to bite my tongue more often than not now.
This is particularly difficult because my best friend is pregnant. She’s due in September with what we are pretty sure is a baby boy. She lives with us because her situation isn’t ideal. I’m dangerously close to loosing the tip of my tongue with as hard as I have to bite it when she talks about her situation with the baby’s father. She’s making choices I don’t agree with, but it IS NOT MY PLACE to say anything. I am not her. Her life and her choices are her own. But damn it to hell, I think she’s wrong about many of the choices she’s making.
Then there’s the actual parenting issue. My BF seems to think I am all-knowing when it comes to child rearing. I’ve been saving items for her-some things that my baby has grown out of, other things that I simply didn’t like or find useful. If I ask her if she wants them, she asks if I liked them and bases her decision on my answer. Take the baby tub for example-I used it once and hated it. So, when I asked her if she wanted it, she said no, because “If you didn’t like it, I won’t either.” Cue me pounding my head against a wall. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean she won’t, but I can’t convince her of that. She watches me with Baby Cakes and I can tell she’s making mental notes. I’ve chosen my method of parenting (mostly attachment). So she’s chosen attachment, purely based on the fact that I’m doing it. I researched and cherry picked bits and pieces of different things, as well as just going with my instincts and some advice from my mom when I chose my parenting style. She’s just going along with what I do because somehow, since I’m ‘the smart one’ I must know best. I feel like a walking piece of ass-vice without even opening my mouth.
It is a tricky situation to be in right now. Part of me wants to jump in and tell her exactly how I think she should handle her relationship with the baby daddy. Another part of me wants to hide my parenting opinions and choices so she chooses her own path. I feel so conflicted and frustrated. I’m either biting off my tongue to keep my opinions to myself or sounding like a bibliography hoping she’ll seek out her own resources and not just listen to me.
Such a fine line to tread, offering support versus ass-vice. I would feel differently if Baby Cakes was an adult and a functioning member of society. But since this is my first baby-raising endeavor, we have a blind leading the blind situation going on here and I’m not comfortable with it. My way is most decidedly not necessarily the right way, no matter how smart I seem to be.