Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Best Parenting Advice I Have Ever Received

When you have a baby for the first time, you naturally turn to different resources (books, blogs, other parents) to determine what is the best way to raise them - do you co-sleep or sleep in separate rooms? When do you start feeding solids and how? Do you let your child self-soothe? Do you breast feed or bottle feed, and for how long? 

Although I love that we have a choice of so many different methods, for a first-time parent it can be confusing and overwhelming. It doesn't help that every single method boasts that doing it their way will make your child smarter or happier. Oftentimes I felt sick with worry if I was doing the "right" thing or if I was damaging my child - for something as simple as feeding my infant pureed food or switching to formula. Other mothers can also judge you - some are horrified if you don't co-sleep, exclusively breast feed, do or don't work outside the home, etc. Parenting is not one size fits all.

In reality, there is no "right" or wrong way to parent. Now that my daughter is older and in the school system, I see how little any of those methods mattered. Every child is pretty much a naughty little A-hole, whether you breastfed them exclusively for 3 years or fed them formula from birth. There is really no difference. All the children are basically the same - which makes me wonder why did I waste so much time worrying? If I knew how little any of those choices even mattered, I would have saved myself a lot of stress.

As a new parent, you get so much advice thrown at you - often conflicting - that you really have to weed through. Looking back, I think the best advice I ever got was from my aunt. At the time, I was wrestling with the notion of giving up co-sleeping and moving Maya into her own crib in her own room. Maya was 4 months old and started flipping around like a dolphin and we realized that we couldn't sleep with her anymore. I just felt like the worst parent because all our friends were co-sleeping and it just wasn't working for us. My aunt looked at me and said, "Whatever works!!!" Years later, this is the one parenting advice that has really stuck with me.

What works for one family may not work for another. What works for one child may not work for another. You have to do what is best for you, your child, and your family. 

And can us mothers please stop judging each other? When another parent tells you about something that works for their family, give them a thumbs up and be on your way.

Whatever works!!!

1 comment

  1. "Whatever works" is good advice so long as you do your homework before hand and chose your methods wisely and in the best interest of the child.

    And it is the same for cultural customs. Co-sleeping is very common in India, and frowned upon in Europe. The first ritual head shaving of kids around 3 to 5 years old, is mighty important for Hindus, but in the west it is socially unacceptable, especially for girls. etc...


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