The Worst Parenting Advice

Why I'm letting go of cherishing every moment

I’ll cherish some moments, like this one, but I’m letting go of the pressure to cherish every moment.

I have to tell you, it’s hard to write an article entitled the worst parenting advice. That is because there is a lot of truly bad advice out there. But today, I’m going to talk about something that bothers me.

I think you can break down bad parenting advice into a couple of different categories. One, bad parenting advice that is untrue/unsafe. This stuff is sort of factually objective and can usually be debunked with a quick chat with your pediatrician or a check on the AAP’s Healthy Children website (which I love). Two, bad parenting advice that just completely does not apply to you. Some situations with children can cross over and some can’t. Three, bad parentings advice in the form of judgy comments from strangers. This category is the worst and I have experienced it more than once and it never really gets better.

But today I’m going to talk about the fourth category. Bad parenting advice that tells you how you should feel.

I think, in general, it’s not a great idea to tell people how they should feel about anything. Because the reality is, we all have different emotions. We all experience things differently. We all feel differently and that’s okay.

And today I want to talk about “Cherish every moment” and “They’re only little once.”

It’s not that I think these are inherently bad statements. It’s not like I’m anti-cherishing. No, no cherishing, you must be curmudgeonly all the time! No, it’s not like that at all.

Mostly I object to the “every moment” part of the phrase. I know the people who say it have really good intentions. But can I be honest for a second? The pressure to cherish every moment is intense. There are some moments that I don’t really want to cherish. When my kids are fighting with each other or there is vomit or there is blood – I don’t really want to cherish those moments. And I think that’s okay. I don’t want to cherish how my kid screamed in my face – nobody likes being screamed at in the face.

And I also think it creates this pressure that every moment must be special and magical. Some moments are ordinary. Some moments are just simply moments. Not everything has to be special and big and grand all the time. If all nights are legendary, no nights are legendary. We are not going to remember every single second of our children’s childhoods and that’s okay. We’ll remember the stuff that’s important to us. We’ll remember the stuff that really matters. We will have plenty of memories to cherish when our children grow up and so will they. We don’t have to have every moment in our brains – that would be really overwhelming.

And, they’re only little once? Well, that is true. They are only little once. But! They are also only every age once. Dominic’s only going to be 5 for 365 days (is 2018 a leap year? No? Right?). Allen’s only going to be 2 for 365 days, 365 days that are already half over. I realized this morning that Dominic doesn’t say bressen for breakfast anymore like he did for ages and ages. I don’t know when that stopped, but I realized this morning that it was already over. Every age has it’s unique moments and sometimes, I do miss when they are tiny snuggly babies. But when they were tiny snuggly babies, they didn’t do any of the awesome stuff they do now. Every age has it’s moments, but I still don’t need to cherish every moment of every age.

So I guess in the end, these aren’t the worst parenting advice ever. Nobody’s going to die from this advice. But for me, this kind of advice creates a lot of pressure. And for me, it’s time to let it go. I’ll cherish what I can and what I want to. But certainly not every moment.

How do you feel about the advice to cherish every moment? Do you agree with me or do you think I’m completely off base? 

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