Finally, my #1 parenting life lesson…

Beware the Know-it-All mommy.

At work, in the community park, at the grocery store – they’re out there and they’re dying to give you unwanted advice. According to these women whatever you think you know about your kid is all wrong. These mommy’s possess a superior grasp of the subtle nuances of effective parenting and they feel compelled to share this information with you – whether you want to hear it or not. They are always the ones who have read every book by every expert and are capable of spouting loads of supposedly authoritative facts and advice at you while having formed no actual opinions or insights for themselves.

The Know-it-Alls are not the middle of the road moms; these women are all about extremes. I’ve found that they’re either incredibly uptight about their kids’ or they’re far too laid back. 

A former co-worker (a high-strung know-it-all mommy) actually told me that her two year old daughter’s tantrums were signs that she’s neurotic and she’s having her seen by a therapist.  Now, I don’t know this woman’s daughter but the few times I have met her she seemed like a typical 2 year old girl to me.  None of the outbursts her mother has described to me sound like anything other than ordinary terrible twos behavior.  I think her mother labeling HER as neurotic is a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

Another mom I met in the local park was the exact opposite of neurotic know-it-all mommy.  This woman was granola-loving, spacey, all organic fibers kinda’ know-it-all mommy.  The first words out of her mouth to me were, “Do your children drink milk from the grocery store?”  Then she shared with me how once a month, she and her equally nutty neighbor book a sitter for the day and drive her Prius to the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to buy unpasteurized dairy products from an organic farmer. She schleps her dairy products home and then freezes them for the kids, all in an effort to avoid having her children drink anything that’s been “altered”.   Meanwhile, as she’s telling me about how store-bought dairy products will destroy my childrens’ livers and stunt their growth, she allows her son to throw rocks at the other kids on the playground. When I point out to her that she might want to intervene with the stoning, she tells me that she’d like to but she can’t because she wants him to learn to deal internally with his own feels of conflict. Of course since it’s my kid who’s become the target of his rock throwing, I’d prefer that his mother guide him through the process externally and immediately.

Because, while I may not know it all,  I do know that allowing your kid to put out another kid’s eye in the name of self-exploration is bad.

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