The moment you share with your world that you are pregnant the parenting advice begins funneling in from all directions.
Baby showers and meet-the-baby hangouts seem to be an invitation for other’s unsolicited advice. People you respect and people you don’t even know begin sharing their thoughts and opinions about the various ways to parent. The internet even has pop-ups geared towards you and more blogs than you can keep up with.
Countless books scream at you from various store bookshelves, doctors will have their opinions, and even the Safeway coupons somehow know you’re a parent or parent-to-be and will tell you what you should buy!
And then there is your own gut speaking to you, whispering in all the outside voices.
Your in-laws will tell you to let your baby cry it out. Your mom will tell you to snuggle that baby until your arms fall off. Your grandparents will tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps while your friends will concur it is nearly impossible to nap when your running tab of to-do’s is only lengthening each day. The pediatrician will look down on co-sleeping while your gut tells you to do it, and your baby…well, your baby just wants to be held by you.
The internet screams the best ways to nourish your baby and not to hide those hooters while doing so, then someone will scorn you for leaving the hooter-hider at home while feeding your baby in public. Safeway will print out formula coupons for you with every single receipt after grocery shopping, then a fellow mom will look at you disapprovingly when she sees those coupons. The list goes on. The advice varies. How are you supposed to balance the unending voices pouring into your exhausted mind? How are you to tell people you don’t want their opinions, even if well-meaning and experienced?
Can any of these voices be right? Is one of them right? Are all of them right? How do you siphon through each piece of advice and find what is “right”?
Balancing the advice rushing in seems to be an impossible task, but you can do it.
Our advice to you (to add to all the rest of the advice you’re getting!) is to quiet the multitude of voices screaming at you that they are “the voice.” Thank your in-laws for their well-meaning words, but remind them there is more than one way to parent. Look through the magnitude of books and blogs offered at your fingertips, and be okay with not opening a single one of them. You are free to hear out others’ advice, but take it with a grain of salt and feel the absolute freedom to disregard it.
Your gut is usually what is right for you and your family.
Your mama or daddy’s gut is often telling you what you need to hear or know about your specific baby. No other baby is the same as your baby and no other parenting is going to be your parenting. Feel release: you do not have to bend to the advice of others. You have the freedom to balance the advice by simply listening and then taking what you want and leaving what you don’t want.
Do some research and ask some friends who seem to have similar parenting philosophies, but don’t overwhelm and stress yourself out over something. Listen to your gut.
To properly balance the advice and opinions of others, simply remind yourself that there are multiple ways to parent. There is no one right way. Find joy in the adventure of parenting and exploring what fits for your family. The choices you make that you can feel good about for the rest of your life is the right way for you.
Featured image source: www.babycentre.co.uk