Having Kids Doesn’t Automatically Make You A Parenting Expert
Yesterday, on an essay in Yahoo Shine, a professional parenting writer wondered if she could consider herself a parenting “expert” since she only has one child. I don’t think the number of children one has holds any bearing on whether one can be considered an expert or not.
I have been writing about parenting as long as I have been a parent, and have been a professional parenting writer most of those nine years as well. I have been a parenting editor at one of the most-viewed women’s lifestyle sites online, have been quoted as a parenting expert in national magazines, interviewed for that same expertise on national and local television and radio, and have contributed to many parenting websites on babyhood, big kid, single parenting, and now tween issues.
But something has always felt itchy to me about seeing the comma followed by “parenting expert” next to my name. It’s because all of these tips and advice and interviews and anecdotes come from very limited experience. I have one child.
I don’t think having one child makes her any less knowledgable than someone who has 10. I would be more inclined to listen to this woman, simply because she is uncomfortable calling herself an “expert.” When it comes to parenting – I don’t think anyone is really an expert.
The only thing I am an expert in is not being an expert.
I make my living writing about parenting. I write roughly 20 stories a week about the subject. I also have two kids of my own. I think it is safe to say I am constantly consumed with parenting. There is still no way in hell I would call myself an “expert.” I would like to say that I am an expert at raising my own child – but honestly that’s not even true. What works one day, magically fails the next. Every time I think I’ve got something down, a new curveball surfaces.
The only thing I have really learned about parenting so far is that no two kids are the same. I’ve also learned – from the incredible community on this site – that everyone has insights about child-rearing, even those without children. I would be more comfortable sampling the advice I am given here on a daily basis than buying a book by a so-called “expert.” So I would say to this woman, don’t call yourself an “expert.” Call yourself a mother. Call yourself a writer. That’s good enough.