What Should You Do with Mommy Advice?
- Tabitha Panariso Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 21 Nov
From the moment I announced my first pregnancy, I prepared myself for the advice that I knew was coming and that would likely never end. It started with how to ease nausea quickly and what to bring to the delivery room but quickly transformed into how to potty train in three days (or less!) and the best way to discipline my child. I got advice from my mother, my mother-in-law, my boss, my neighbor down the street, and the grandmother who shops at King Soopers. It was everywhere. And it was unavoidable.
I decided that the best course of action in dealing with all this advice was to ignore it.
But it wasn’t just advice I was ignoring.
It meant that I was also ignoring one of the more significant hallmarks of motherhood; the village. This village was comprised of strong, resilient women who had decades of wisdom and experience; and who had treaded the very path I was on, many times before. These women were wanted to share their experiences with the intention of offering hope, not casting judgement. These women were were actually trying to spur me on, not hold me back. Many of these women were deeply rooted in Christ and weren’t speaking from their own hearts, but from His.
Eventually, I knew I had to change my perspective. And actually, I think that many of us do. God uses His people to edify one another, to encourage one another, and to hold one another accountable. With that knowledge, ignoring advice might not always be the best strategy, or the most biblical.
Instead, by changing our perspective, we can ultimately change the way that we react to all mommy advice given to us – without compromising our faith, our integrity, or our relationships with others. All it requires is for us to filter through the advice given and then, give it up to God rather than just turning our backs to it. But, even more specifically, it requires us to:
First, listen. And this means really listening - without offense, without forming a response or a reaction, without pomp or pride and without insecurity or guilt. Needing help or taking advice is not an indicator of our well-being or our identity. We know who we are in Christ and because we stand firmly in Him, advice need not shake us or uproot us. We can remain neutral in the midst of another person’s perspective because ultimately, it is not their perspective that matters.
When someone is offering their opinion and we’re finally listening, we can then be completely present to hear not just their words, but also their heart. Then, we can look to understand. This gives us the opportunity to search through the individual’s intentions and their message with godly discernment. Questions we might ask ourselves include:
What is the heart behind the message?
What is the tone that drives the words? Is it one of fear? Or hope?
What parts of the message are resounding with me? What parts feel disjointed?
How does God’s word line up with this advice? What would He say if He were part of the conversation?
Then, we can take the opportunity to pray about it and make a choice.
It seems that in today’s society, we’re driven more and more to take the stance of independence – to avoid community instead of embrace it, to do what feels right rather than process through what is right, and to smirk in the face of any person who has an opinion otherwise.
The kingdom of God, which includes a beautiful village of mothers, insists that we bang iron, or bottles and pacifiers, against iron. We’re to challenge one another and build upon each other’s successes and failures – because God works through people; to ignore people might mean we ignore that which God is speaking through.
Tabitha Panariso, along with her husband Ethan, are passionate followers of Christ- living through, and finding God in the glorious and mundane moments of life. Tabitha heaps authenticity and a hope-filled Kingdom perspective upon those who visit her blog and also has contributed to (in)courage, The Influence Network, and Thryve Magazine. She is also a regular contributor and the managing editor at Colorado Springs Moms Blog. Tabitha and Ethan currently, and will always, reside in the mountainous state of Colorado where they find any and every excuse to escape outdoors with their son and daughter.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 21, 2016