Thursday, October 4, 2007

Can we get some PRACTICAL advice for a change?!?

I was going to post about something else entirely, but this article pushed one of my buttons, and I need to vent!
Thank you, NBC and the Today Show, for giving me more completely useless advice!! This is exactly why I have canceled all my parenting mag subscriptions. Not to mention there's more to "mommy blues" than separation anxiety, which is all this article really talks about, not "mommy blues" at all. And the advice isn't just useless, it's WRONG! (Particularly if the issue is separation anxiety, rather than "mommy blues.")
If the issue is separation anxiety, the frank way of putting it is "get a life." The less judgmental, less attacking answer is to recognize that you are still someone outside of being a mother, and to explore those other parts of you. I've taken up a new hobby (knitting), I read fiction, go to the theatre, talk with my friends, escape into television and movies, think about career options...I even got my Bachelor's. And I know that my "me time" makes me a better mom. Having the girls at my college graduation made it so much sweeter because I knew I was showing them by my actions that it's never too late. Escaping into entertainment turns my mind off for a little while and lets me relax, which we all need to do sometimes. I learned to knit because my older daughter wanted to know how, but now I love it as a relaxing hobby for me to do while still accomplishing something.

Now, in terms of "mommy blues" that are more about the aggravating, stressful daily activities that sometimes get us all down, I have many issues with their so-called "advice":

  • "Talk about your feelings." Like I posted about yesterday, sometimes this doesn't help. And sometimes, the more you vent, the more you feel "unheard." Yes, it's a good place to start, but if talking to your partner or a friend isn't working, then there's nothing wrong with going to a therapist for help. Sometimes we do need the guidance of a trained profession.
  • "Follow the anti-depression diet...get plenty of sleep." Okay, really, how realistic is it to tell mothers of newborns to get plenty of sleep?!? Heck, even with school-age children, I don't get more than 7 hours of sleep most nights. And then, guess what? I need coffee in the morning to get me going again...usually, all day long. And as much as it would be nice to always eat healthy and right, don't you think that advising people to do so who aren't might make them feel guilty, thus adding even more depression to their plate (forgive the pun)? And sometimes, a glass of wine really hits the spot!
  • "practice the attitude of gratitude" - great, now people who feel miserable about their lives might even feel guilty about not appreciating what they have. I think a more reasonable way to put this is to revel in the good moments. As mothers, our children usually give us them just when we need it the most!
  • This one's my personal favorite "start a support group." Yes, because that's all we need - more stuff on our plate! And what are single parents supposed to do with the kids? I actually tried this one, to start a single parent group at work...and learned the hard way why there aren't more groups for single parents. None of us have the time! Not practical advice at all. Instead, go web-surfing! Check out some mommy blogs that will make you laugh or sympathize or just find someone else that is going through what you are.

Not that I'm an "expert" or anything...but I certainly felt a lot better when I stopped letting experts influence me!

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