As moms, we get a lot of advice. Friends, family, other parents, complete strangers, people who haven’t had kids — everyone has advice for a first-time mom. It’s like being pregnant and then having a kid is equivalent to having a sign on your forehead that reads, “Hey! Got any opinions on child rearing? I want to hear them!” Sometimes the advice is harmless; sometimes it’s annoying. The main thing new moms are told when it comes to all the advice they get is to “do what works best for you.” And that sounds pretty good!
Just tune everyone out that doesn’t go along with what you think is right for you and your family, but…
What if sometimes, and hear me out now, what if sometimes we’re wrong? I know, I know. It sounds crazy. I’m pretty sure that, in any given situation, I’m right at least 99.99% of the time. In fact, if my GPS gives me directions I don’t think are correct, I will mute it and go my own way (why do I keep doing this?). It is so easy to do this with advice about our kids too. “Oh Granny,” we think, “that may have worked for you 50 years ago, but it doesn’t work now! Things are DIFFERENT. We have technology. We have the internet.”
Just recently I was feeling pretty good about myself as a mom. My kid may only be one and a half, but thanks to my degree in Early Childhood Education, my daycare teacher experience, common sense, and always being right, I was fairly certain nothing could stump me when it came to raising kids. That’s why I was a little confused and a lot annoyed when, week after week, my dad kept bringing something up about how people should parent. After three weeks of hearing him drop hints, I was starting to think he was directing this parenting tip at me! “Dad,” I said, “I don’t need a lecture on (insert parenting issue here). I don’t even do that.” On our way home from my parents’ house, I mentioned to my husband how little sense it made that my dad would even bring that up to me. In fact, I was going to evaluate my behavior over the next few days to prove that I didn’t do that — for science, you know? Well, it only took about five minutes of conscious effort to realize why my dad had brought it up; I was doing exactly what he had mentioned and I was doing it all the time! When I told this to my co-workers the next day, they all looked at each other knowingly and said, “At least you realized it now instead of later. That would have been a lot harder to fix in a couple years.” (The issue was that every time I spoke to my son it was in the form of a question and what timely advice, since one week later he learned the word “No!”)
New moms hear a lot of advice and some of it is outdated.
We do have better ways of doing some things thanks to technology or medical advances. But for other things, it might not hurt to sift through the advice of others, no matter the source. Evaluate the advice you receive logically. Ask yourself: Did this person raise children in a way that I can respect? Are they well-meaning? Does their advice come from a place of caring for me and my family? And if it does, it just might be worth considering.