Sifting Through Too Much Parenting Advice

When you become a parent for the first time, you get very used to receiving unsolicited advice. Everyone has their theories on the best parenting. In some ways there’s no right way to parent, but there are definitely some better ways. Unfortunately, no one can agree on what is the best way.

I am very susceptible to advice overload. I’m never sure what advice to take and what to leave at the door. The problem is I am trying too hard. I read too much. I ask everyone questions and I also get advice from doctors and family members. It starts to make your head spin.

Should we let him cry it out or comfort him and do attachment parenting? Is breast best if it hurts a lot? Is co-sleeping necessary for a good sleep and proper attachment or is it a complete no no and very unsafe? Do I need to keep my child home the first 6-8 weeks or is it better to get them outside and exposed to fresh air and other humans?

What do you take with a grain of salt and what do you make sure to listen to? Who really has the authority on the subject? The Pediatrician? The Grandparents? Can I trust my own instincts and survive?

When do we as moms gain enough confidence to brush everyone off and say, “you know what I got this!” Is that not until you have baby number 2 and realize you successfully raised infant number 1 without killing them? These are the things keeping me up at night after I lay my baby back down from his 1am feeding. I oftentimes lay there asking myself, am I a good mother?

What makes a good mother? The one that jumps immediately when their child cries or the one that allows their baby to self soothe? Or both? Am I a good mother even if I tote my kid around with me everywhere while I still enjoy a healthy social life or should I be isolating myself at home to keep him safe from germs? Are both normal and okay?

Women are literally judged no matter what choices they make for themselves and their children. Can we ever win? CanI have a beer and breastfeed too without glares from onlookers? I think short of not feeding them, diapering them, and loving them, most of us are good moms.

We don’t need your advice unless we ask and even then we should be hearing more advice like, “be confident in yourself, you’re doing a great job mama!” Than, “you shouldn’t let him have a pacifier or he will become dependent or you should wake him every three hours to eat, because you’re getting too much sleep.”

It’s okay to trust your instincts, is what I need to hear most of all. I’m always second guessing myself and consulting google for advice or messaging the doctor. Normally, I already know the answer and that is that everything is okay and totally normal.

It’s reasonably scary being a new parent and being put in charge of this little helpless being. Unlike other mammals they don’t come out walking and and knowing how to survive. They need us to take care of their every need and teach them the skills of survival. We’ve been doing this since the beginning of time though, so we must have some natural instincts and knowledge embedded in our subconscious brains.

Let’s stop giving moms unsolicited advice and just ask mama how she is feeling and whether we can help. Let mom sift through the plethora of knowledge out there already and decide what works best for her and her family. While we are at it let’s stop judging each other as moms as well unless the other mom is literally feeding her children drugs. I think it’s safe to say if she’s giving her kids lots of love, then she’s doing a good job.

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