I am writing this to all the new moms and dads out there to give the best advice for new parents that I wish had been given to me when I first had my son…
When you first hold your new baby you will be in awe of how tiny and flawless he is. At the same time you will have an awful realization of how big and scary the world is by comparison. You will realize that you have been given the most awesome responsibility imaginable and that you are unqualified for the job of creating the life this perfect child deserves. You will try of course. We all do. We all try to be perfect at first but you will make mistakes. We all do. You will break down sobbing at your monumental blunders. We all do. You will feel insecure because the other parents seem to be doing more and doing better than you. We all do.
Here is one mistake I don’t want you to make. I don’t want you to let anyone else make you feel like you don’t know what’s right for your baby. YOU are the parent of that baby for a reason. YOUR heart is connected with your child. YOU AND ONLY YOU are in tune with every unique want and need of your own child.
As a parent you see your child on a daily basis. You and your child grow together and learn about each other and from each other. They know you and can tell by your expression what you are feeling the same way you can tell just by looking at your child how they are feeling and almost what they are thinking. A parent and child relationship is an intimate one. How can someone from the outside of that relationship even hazard a guess what is right for you and your child?
There will be people who tell you that you didn’t breast feed long enough. There will be people who tell you that you breast-fed too long. There will be people who tell you the only way to parent is to have your child sleep in bed with you. There are people who will tell you that you are endangering them if you do. There are people who will tell you that you shouldn’t work because you should be with your child every waking moment. There are people who will tell you that you are lazy and do nothing all day because you are a stay-at-home mom. There are people who will tell you that you abused your son by getting him circumcised. There are people who will tell you that you are setting your son up for a lifetime of infections and embarrassment if you don’t. There are people who will tell you that you should only feed your children raw food. There are people who say you shouldn’t be so neurotic about what goes in their mouth. The “Free Range” moms think you’re too uptight. The “Helicopter” moms think you’re careless with your child’s safety. Some think you’re too old (tired). Some think you’re too young (immature). Too well dressed (selfish). Not well dressed enough (trashy). Forget about it if you’re single, gay, or in an interracial relationship.
Some of these parents will judge you harshly…to your face, behind your back, and some even resorting to social media attacks. They will try to shame you into raising your child the way they think is the “right” way. I’m going to let you in on a little parenting secret…pay close attention because this is one of the most important parenting tips there is…THERE IS NO “RIGHT” WAY TO PARENT YOUR CHILD!! There is only what is right for your child, right for you, and right for your family. And sometimes what’s right changes. It can change as your children age, as your family grows and changes, or even day-to-day or hour-to-hour depending on everyone’s mood.
I’m going to give you another little insightful piece of parenting advice…THE PEOPLE WHO JUDGE YOU USUALLY HAVE THE MOST PROBLEMS WITH THEIR OWN CHILDREN!! I’m not sure if it’s because they’re so focused on everyone else that they don’t see what’s going on in their own families. Or maybe judgmental people just end up alienating their own kids. Or maybe they knew there was issues from the beginning and felt so insecure that they needed to look down on another. Or maybe they were so focused on their one pet issue they never did anything else right as a parent. Or maybe it’s just good old fashion karma.
Either way, trust me when I tell you that you should follow your own heart and your own instincts when raising your kids. I remember the day I became a great mom. It was the day I put my foot down and started to do what I knew was right for my son. I stopped listening to my parents, my friends, even sometimes doctors and teachers and started doing what I knew was right. That was the point that my son started thriving because his mother became a leader whose decisions he could trust.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever take advice or listen to another’s ideas because we should be constantly learning and growing as parents. We should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves but we should also trust ourselves first. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. One can non-defensively remark, “Thank you so much for your opinion. I will consider that,” then go forth with what you feel is best for your child. It’s as simple as that. If you are making the choices for your family based on love then I promise you your children will be happy and successful throughout their lives.
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