Question: My sister and I couldn’t be any more different if we tried. It was never a big deal until we both became mothers. She had her son first and now that mine is about 3 (her son is 5) – she feels the need to critique my methods of parenting. I don’t know if she is just trying to be the wiser older sister and believes she knows best because her son is older than mine but I think she is a terrible mom. I look at her son and pity the victim he will be when he gets older because she shelters him from everything. Is there a way to tell her thanks but keep your opinions to yourself?
Answer: I totally hear you and in fact as I’ve become older the difference between me and my sister is becoming more and more apparent as well.
Whether or not your sister knows best, it’s never appropriate to give unsolicited advice and yet, unfortunately, people do it all the time. I know you know this, but it comes from a place of insecurity and a need to be right and in control and superior… Not from a place of love and kindness, but clearly you get that.
The good thing is if you be your truest self as a wonderful mother, your nephew will at least see a different choice in how to be as he becomes older and perhaps the contrast between the two of you is part of his unique journey of growth.
Back to how to handle your sister. First, I would put it in a sandwich and the first piece of bread would be to say that you are thankful that she wants to support you in being the best mom you can be; then the meat and cheese would be something like, I sense we have two different parenting styles and what would work for me is that you refrain from giving me advice about parenting.
And then the other piece of bread would be something like, it would really make me happy to be able to spend time with you and your son knowing we could simply hang out and enjoy life. And while I know you have the best of intentions and you have two more years of parenting under your belt than I do, would you be willing to allow me to parent my way and I’ll allow you to parent your way and will just enjoy the process of motherhood together?
She may or may not have the capacity to have such a straight conversation in which case I would recommend keeping your contact to a minimum at family gathering. I sense if you tell her that if she continues to give you advice that you’re going to choose to not be around her as much… this will only aggravate her righteousness.
Thus, I recommend surrounding yourself with two or three solid mothers who you enjoy their parenting style and be in allowance of your sister and bless her and release her on her journey. Remember, you can’t change anybody and judging them doesn’t feel good to them anymore than it feels good when someone judges us. So take the high road on that one and put your focus elsewhere.
As we evolve, relationships shift, and the closest ones to us are always the hardest. If I can be in assistance to you in navigating your relationship with your sister and also in learning to be an allowance of her while getting on with your fabulous Life and parenting – let’s connect. You can apply for a complimentary strategy session by going to Befertile.com/connect.
Just last night, I was speaking to a client who probably exclaimed four or five times during our one hour call, how good it felt to be totally gotten, totally heard, totally understood, completely appreciated accepted honored and valued…
I would be privileged to provide that for you so you could come to complete rest and what you know to be true, and feel at home in your skin, in your life and on the planet.
Huge love, A xox