Everyone's got an opinion, right?
The moment you announce your pregnancy the entire world suddenly feels the urge to share all their tried and tested tips and advice. It doesn't matter that you're an adult and have, presumably, gotten through life so far relying on your own common sense and life skills. Now that you're expecting a baby you are clearly an idiot who needs to be schooled on how to parent a child the "right" way. (That means THEIR way, if you hadn't caught on yet.)
In one ear and out the other I say. Smile and nod if you must, but then let it go. People want to be helpful, or they just want you to listen to them. But, they are pretty much always full of shit. Really.
Speaking from experience and after a highly scientific online poll of mommy friends, I give you:
1. Sleep Now Because You'll Never Sleep Again or Sleep When the Baby Sleeps.
Both of these extremely popular pieces of advice are completely and utterly useless to pregnant women and new parents. Let me break this to you gently. There is no such thing as a Sleep Bank. You cannot rack up hours of sleep like overtime and save them for later, sorry. You can certainly enjoy your sleep when you can, because it will definitely change once your baby arrives. Linger in bed on weekends, revel in the fact that barring life responsibilities, you can sleep when you want. And then, get ready to be put through sleep torture hell for a few weeks, months or...yes, years. And sleeping when your baby sleeps? Sure, because showering, eating, cleaning, and all those other things we need to do will magically be done once we wake up, right? Love this idea, but in theory only. Most parents can't seem to make it work.
2. Enjoy Every Moment.
Every single moment? Like, each and every minute? No pressure, right? HA!
I totally "get" what people mean. And isn't it always a 60-something-year-old grandmother saying this? So I know it comes from a place of love. BUT...
The problem with this advice is that if every person parenting a child were to be totally and completely honest, they would admit that no, they are not enjoying every moment. Parenting a child can be hellish, and long, and SO trying. There are days when you feel like you might just crack and pack your bags for a weekend away and not tell anyone where you're going. So telling someone to "enjoy it while it lasts cause soon it'll be a memory" doesn't make that poop explosion clean itself, nor does it end the middle of grocery store tantrum. Screw enjoying every moment. How about, get a sense of humour and be able to laugh when everything goes totally wrong?
3. If You Hold Your Baby Too Much, You Will Spoil Them.
That's right. Put that baby down immediately! Do you really want to be carrying around a 12-year-old? Because if you carry that baby around all the time, or pick them up when they cry you're basically setting yourself up for a lifetime of dealing with a spoiled brat.
Really?! Do we truly believe that babies are manipulative schemers who are doing all they can to have total control over us? Not likely. Sure, kids can be needy and can develop bad habits after learning what type of behaviour gets rewarded, I won't lie. But responding to your baby's needs is not a bad habit, and if that's your instinct and you want to cuddle that baby 24/7 please know that there's NOTHING wrong with that.
4. My mother/I did _____ and I/they turned out just fine!
I'm not even sure if I can consider this advice or just carte blanche for parents to do whatever they want, but this little gem is said every three seconds around the world. If it reassures you, that's great! Go for it (whatever it might be!) But, this is what we call anecdotal evidence and it certainly doesn't mean it's a proven fact that you should follow this advice. It's almost like saying, I am the world's best parent because I managed to keep the kids alive!
5. Google said...
Good old Google. Raising kids since 1998.
I'm all for the internet and being able to find resources and answers to life's great questions in a matter of moments, but you need to remember -- anyone can publish anything to the internet for Google to find. (Including this article, oh the irony.) So, take everything with a grain of salt. Follow your instincts. Put coconut oil on it.
At the end of the day, you're the real expert on parenting your children.
It may not seem like you have all the answers, and sometimes there won't be an answer, but ultimately you're the one who gets to decide how this whole parenting journey goes.
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