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When Opinions About How I Parent My 'Work Kids' Become Overwhelming

Don’t we all sometimes get tired of other people’s opinions? Especially when you are a first-time parent and everyone has an opinion on everything, it can be overwhelming. Of course, now I realize most just get excited about babies and want to help, even strangers. Now that I work in a preschool, I see the same thing happen even among teachers. Some of these teachers have their own kids already, some do not, or do not yet at least. Some have one kid, some have many, some already have grandchildren and everyone has different opinions about how to parent these kids while they are under our care. We jokingly call them our “work kids” and ourselves their “work parents.”

Of course, the daycare has rules and a schedule laid out we all try out best to follow, while also trying to follow any reasonable special instructions from the parents that are possible to follow while caring for so many children at once. When it comes to certain things like using pacifiers to comfort them, picking them up every time they cry, or whether or not to give them their milk or food first or at the same time, it seems to be sometimes as much a heated debate as they normally are when parenting your own children. Unless the parents give me special instructions in these cases, of course the assumption is to do what I think is best while following the rules and guidance of my employer.

However, I am often in a room with three other teachers and if the three of them think what is best is different from what I think is best (and it is still within our employer’s rules and guidance), I sometimes may have to give in so the children have consistency at least while under our care.

Since I have become a parent, I have been guilted more than once for spoiling a baby too much, not letting them cry it out, etc. At my job, many even joke I am the first one to pick up a baby and the babies love me because I spoil them. In their defense, this is usually in the form of a compliment and not an insult, but I have to admit sometimes I cannot help it and occasionally I take it the wrong way. If more than one baby is crying at one time, or one baby is crying even though they seem to be changed, fed, safe, etc. while another truly needs my help with something, part of our job is prioritizing their needs and dealing with the most important first. So I do sometimes let a baby cry if they are OK and another baby needs me more, but if they are crying and I can pick them up, I guess I feel why not pick them up?  Unless the parent has told me they are trying to wean their child off of their pacifier or not to give them their milk until I have given them a certain amount of time to eat their food first, I figure just give them their paci and milk when they want it.

When I experienced this guilt parenting my own child, it came from other parents, our own parents, family, friends, non-parents and even my own spouse. The thing is when it comes to everyone except my spouse, I can parent however I want to and don’t have to listen to them. However, I feel that if I want them to keep my child, I should probably give them the freedom to discipline the child how they feel is best or what works best for them personally, unless it is something I am against. In that case, I probably should not let them keep my child unless they are willing to not do it. When it comes to my spouse though, we have to compromise and work together when it comes to the things we disagree on it,  Again, children need consistency.

The same is true for work spouses. To a certain degree, there may be things you all do your own way when others are not around. However, you have to compromise on some things, and sometimes when you do, you realize they may have actually been right about some things, and you and the children reap the benefits.

Photo credit: Liderina/Getty Images