Any parent will tell you, every single person has an opinion on every single thing a parent does, thinks, says, heck, even dreams. It is pretty much impossible to get through an entire day without someone dolling out some advice you didn’t ask for when it comes to how to be the best parent for your kids.
Most of it is obnoxious. But every once in a while, in a very very rare while, you are blessed with a unique gem that is worth listening to.
Here are a few of those gems that were bestowed upon me that I’m so glad I listened to.
“Join a chat board with new moms” – Natalie
I will forever be grateful to my friend Natalie for recommending that I join the “February Moms” group on a chat board we both frequented back when I was planning my wedding. Chat boards are less of a ‘thing’ these days, and most similar online communities have gravitated to Facebook, but, so did my February Moms group. There is nothing harder than experiencing things as a new (or soon-to-be) mom and being unsure if they’re supposed to be happening that way.
Never underestimate the value of commiseration. No matter what your unique circumstances are, complicated pregnancy, screaming newborn, child with special needs, on and on and on, I can guarantee you there is a community on social media filled with people who understand. Or, who will direct you towards one they know of. Find your village. It’s out there. Thanks Natalie for helping me find mine.
“Give her a bottle, it won’t kill her” – My mother in law
They were the words no new mom struggling and totally committed to breastfeeding wants to hear, but you know what? As I struggled with postpartum anxiety and a colicky baby, I fought that advice far longer than I should have. As it turned out, giving in and taking that advice ended up being the only reason I got any sleep and regained the semblance of sanity I found to get me through the hard months. I was 100% committed to breastfeeding. My mother in law reminded me to be committed to my own health and well-being too.
“Just wear her” – Jaime
It hadn’t even occurred me to try. But my child cried and cried and needed to be held. One day, I was complaining to my friend Jaime that I was sick of only having one arm free all the time. “Take my Beco!” her soft baby carrier. She wasn’t using it and said I was welcome to give it a shot. It was life changing. Yeah, you have a screaming baby stuck to your chest, but you have both arms free! Even if your baby isn’t screaming, actually, especially if he or she isn’t screaming, baby carriers are the bomb. Baby wearing was definitely a game-changer for me.
Buy pjs a size up
Honestly, who cares if they’re swimming in them for a while and wear them until they’re a size too small? I get about three years out of every set of jammies I buy. It’s pretty much the only time I can get that kind of longevity out of clothes. I know they’re not going to destroy them before they grow out of them so I milk that one genre of clothing for all it’s worth. Buy your PJs a size up from what you need. You’re welcome. And thanks for the advice mom!
Don’t stress about showering them regularly. Dirt don’t hurt. – Seasoned family members
The first time I took my daughter to Newfoundland to meet her family, she was 18 months old. One night, I was stressing near bedtime because she was having fun, but she was a disgusting dirty mess from a messy dinner and tons of outdoor play time. She NEEDED a bath. I mean, we were still making sure baths were a part of the bedtime routine as it was, but I would have forgone the bath if it wasn’t for the extreme dirt that she was covered in. My husband’s aunt was there and gave me a knowing look, as did my husband’s cousin, who had two children of her own. “Skip the bath,” they said. I was all ‘but she’s so dirty!’ “Dirt don’t hurt,” they said. My daughter went to sleep dirty that night. She survived.
It was the first moment in my parenting journey where I chose not to stress the small stuff. It was more than just letting her go to sleep with some dirt under her chin.
It was separating what I thought was vital, from what actually was.
Have you received some gems of advice? What were they? Let us know – I’d love to hear them.