Last night DH and I were discussing an upcoming holiday co-worker dinner thing that we have to drive to Hickory for on Saturday night.
We’ve offered to take our friends with us, and that means that Baby Michelle will be coming along!
Being as Baby Michelle is the closest thing we’ve got to family in the baby department ((My siblings with small children all live on the West side of the country!)) We’ve adored watching these new parents raise this baby, seeing her grow, gain a personality, smile, laugh, and straighten herself out stiff as a board in rebellion and SCREAM!
We know that culturally, the way we raise children may be different. For instance, Harriet’s mom came over from Africa right after the baby was born, and has stayed 6 months ---spoiling baby Michelle completely rotten and just left last week to go back to Africa, leaving mom and dad with a 6 month old baby that won’t sleep through the night, screams to be picked up at all hours and has to be held all the time.
So, DH tells me last night…that he and Michael have plotted and planned, and that I need to take Harriet aside and tell her that the baby needs its own room, and time to scream and not be picked up all the time.
I laughed and said…. “But this is not MY responsibility! I don’t want to butt in here. I mean, if she ASKS for my advice, I’m happy to give it, but I’m not going to tell her how to raise her child or what she should do unless the opportunity to talk about possibilities comes up. I’m not going to START the conversation, and I’m not going to tell her what to do.”
I know they are frustrated with lack of sleep and Michelle screaming her head off several times a night to be picked up. Michael is about falling asleep on the job ----the other night he did put Michelle in her crib and let her cry, and she eventually fell asleep. Then Harriet came home and she woke up and Harriet picked her up immediately. This makes DAD the bad guy…LOL!
So my question is…..where would YOUR boundaries be, as a friend. I feel like I need to wait until she gives me a lead in and wants some advice. And I’d never say “You need to get that baby in her own bedroom and let her bawl herself to sleep” ---I’d have to preface it with “When my boys were little, we had the same kind of situation with the first one and we had to let him cry and get used to entertaining himself --- and it took some time, but it was worth it.”
I just can’t bring myself to tell ANY parent what they should or should not be doing with their children ---babies or grown up ones – of any age!
So help me out here……what would YOU do? How can I be a good supportive friend without coming across like a know-it-all? I want to help, but how much help is too much help?