From the moment you share that you’re pregnant, or even just thinking about pregnancy, you’ll begin to receive all the unsolicited parenting advice you can ever want.
It’ll come from friends, family, coworkers, and your neighbors. Wait till that cute baby bump of yours start to show; that’s when even total strangers will have something to say. And the second you search for anything pregnancy or baby-related on your smart device or web browser, game over. All of your social media feeds and search results instantly transform into never-ending streams of targeted ads, advising you on the best baby products and parenting practices.
There are the standard tidbits of advice that are shared during small-talk, like the classic, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Sure, I could do that, but then when am I supposed to cut his nails? Plus, I’d much rather hold that tiny tot and take in his sweet face while he naps because I don’t want to ever forget that little lip pout, that beautiful cupid’s bow, and his button nose, all squished between those big fat baby cheeks.
There’s also what I like to call the “baby just reached a new milestone” advice. This advice is usually given after you share literally anything new that baby is up to, such as rolling over, teething, or crawling. It can come in the form of a helpful tip, a funny mom-meme, a passive-aggressive jab, or, my favorite, the dad-joke. Examples include everything from the overplayed, “Did you try putting whiskey on his gums?”, to the outspoken, “Don’t pick him up every time he cries.”
Then, there are the more personal and intimate pieces of parenting advice. Topics here include breastfeeding, discipline, and when the right time to try for another baby would be. These are sensitive subjects, and being given unsolicited advice about them can leave you not knowing how to respond or questioning decisions you’ve made.
All of that advice aside, the single most helpful and impactful thing that I’ve heard since becoming a mother wasn’t advice at all; it was more of personal testimony and it came from my mother after she witnessed my own journey into motherhood.
She told me that she loves watching me with my son, that it brings her joy to see how much he loves me, and that she wishes she would have raised me how she wanted. She said that as a new mother she felt pressured to parent a certain way, to be a certain way. She didn’t bring up a specific topic or incident or person. It was just a general need to do things “right”. But who’s to say what’s right and what does this mean for you?
It means you do you, boo.
You do what’s best for your baby, for you, and for your family. Do your research and do some soul-searching. Then do your thing and do it confidently! If it doesn’t work at first, keep trying your best till you succeed. If it’s still not working, take a step back and try something new.
And if you find that you do need some help, and you do want some advice, then ask! If you’re a little unsure about a rash or you need a second opinion about nursery decor, call up your friends and family. I’m 100% certain that they will be more than happy to help! If you want advice on which baby products are best rated or most affordable, then a quick web search will do! And don’t forget that you can always go to your healthcare providers for help and advice, too. If it’s something that doesn’t warrant a trip to the doctor’s office, take advantage of telehealth and online messaging options.
At the end of the day, it’s your baby, you’re the mom, and it’s your life. You’re the only one that is living it, so do your best to live it authentically and proudly. Hold healthy boundaries. Live and speak your truth. Enjoy and embrace the things that YOU enjoy.
So, if you enjoy breastfeeding and your little one does too, then embrace those sweet snuggles while you can. If you want to make your own baby food, then go ahead and have fun with it; if you’d rather buy premade baby food, have fun with that too! If you want to pick up baby every time they cry, then do it; no judgment here.
You know what feels right and works for you. Listen to what your heart and your head are advising you. Trust yourself. Don’t hesitate. Be confident. And you do you, boo!