Congratulations on your beautiful first child! Let the advice start rolling in. Please know that you’ll figure it all out on your own, and you’ll make your family the way it is intended to be for you. You’ll make all the choices that are right for you. Trust your instincts. Take everyone’s advice and file it somewhere, but you don’t need to listen to it. It’s overwhelming; all of the choices, the “right” ways to do things, and such. Everyone will have something to say – the perfect solution for this, the best way to do that. BUT, in the end, you will know what is right for you. TRUST that. And don’t apologize for it (advice #1.)
Sometimes the overload of information that’s available to you clouds your judgment. You thought you had a plan…you go to look up one thing on the internet, and suddenly your plan is not in line with the “recommended” way. Are you sure? Should you change your plan? But there is contradicting information, now what are you supposed to do? You had friends who said they did it this way, but that one article you read said it’s not the best way. Remember your original gut instinct and desires – those are your right answers.
The best thing (and also the most challenging thing) about parenting is that there is not just one way to do it. Everyone is figuring it out as we go. What works for one family doesn’t work for another, and that’s ok! Give yourself permission to make mistakes and change your course as needed. Don’t feel bad if you made one choice and then learned new information that makes you change your mind. That’s not a failure. That’s growth.
Disregard any information that makes you feel guilty (even if it comes from a professional). You know your baby and your family and what is best for all of you. Come up with a standard, unemotional response for unsolicited advice; maybe you have one already (please share it with us!). Your choices will turn into the right thing, I promise!
And YOU WILL BE A WONDERFUL MOTHER!
A Mom Who’s Been There
About the Author
Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 9 and 7, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).
It is hard to follow your instinct sometimes. I find myself concealing my parenting decisions already because I don’t want to have to defend or explain my thoughts on sleep, crying or pacifiers, etc.
Something which helps me to be more relaxed about dealing with persistent “parenting instructors” is realizing that many of them are coming from a place of fear. They were given horror stories by their pediatricians or in-laws and ceased following their own instincts out of fear they were parenting badly. They become concerned because I seem unaware of all of the dangers waiting to pounce on my child. Seeing me following my instincts may actually trigger a little guilt in them that they didn’t follow their own instincts.
Instead of trying to explain/defend/ argue at them, I just say, “Yeah, we actually talked about sleep scheduling with our pediatrician. The pediatrician thought Baby might respond to this approach best based on Baby’s behavior. So, we are going to try it first and see if it works. I’ll keep you updated.”
Another solutions for me is just to keep asking them for more info about their approach without actually agreeing to try it.
Best of luck, new Mommies!