Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Best Parenting Advice: Do What Works for Your Family

 I've read a lot of articles, and heard a lot of opinions lately when it comes to parenting. Some I agree with, others, not so much. I don't usually like to get into these kinds of topics because I feel like most of them are personal choices. But I feel like I need to, in this case, state my opinion.

When I became a mom, I was excited and scared to death all at the same time. I didn't know what I was doing. I had a lot of stress on my plate with out having a baby. So by the time my oldest arrived in the world, I felt a huge overload of emotions. Not to mention the postpartum that came with the baby.
When some little issue came up (and with my first there was a lot of little issues) I would panic and go looking for whatever help I could find. A lot of the time that ended up being the internet. I would read blog after blog about what is best to do for a colic-y baby. Or for helping a baby sleep better, or how to find time for me, or teething name it. And a lot of blogs have a lot of really good advice. But the thing about blogs is that it's almost always opinion based. And what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

When my first was a year old, we were living with my parents. While we were so grateful for the help while we tried looking for a place of our own, it was extremely hard to be a parent while living with my parents. She wouldn't sleep at nights. I looked up every single thing I could possibly find on sleeping through the nights. I talked my parents into letting me move her into her own room, thinking maybe she was waking up from hearing us at night. She still didn't sleep. I tried feeding her more during the day, she didn't sleep. I finally decided to try letting her cry it out, but it woke my parents up. I was so grateful to have a place of my own a few months later (and so were they)! We tried crying it out again and this time, it worked.

I remember with both of my babies, feeling a ton of pressure to breastfeed them. Breast milk has antibodies that formula doesn't. Formula can also constipate your baby. But formula isn't bad for them! It's not bad to give your baby a bottle. It doesn't make you a bad mom to want to bottle feed instead of nurse. I nursed both of my girls, but with my second, I only nursed for about four months. It wasn't that I didn't want my baby to have my breast-milk. It was getting unhealthy for me. No matter what I ate, I was still losing way too much weight, way too fast. I couldn't keep up. I got down to 87 pounds! I knew it was time to give baby a bottle instead.

This may be one of the best parenting videos I've ever seen.

It's taken me almost four years of being a mom, and a lot of blog reading, to finally realize that it does not matter what other people say is best. At all. You're the mom. You know your child. You know what works for them. And while it's great to ask for advice and help, you are the one who chooses how you handle certain things.
You might choose to bottle feed from the beginning. You might choose to let your three year old eat candy or cookies once in a while. You might want to be a working mom or maybe you'll get to stay home with the baby. What ever you choose is 100% OK. Do what you know is best for your family. And when someone with a different opinion feels they need to give it to you, just know that you're doing your best. And you're doing what works for you.
No one has the right answer. While some might have really great advice, you don't have to always take it. If you're uncomfortable about something that seems to be "the best way" don't do it. You have to live with yourself at the end of the day. So do things for your family that YOU feel is right. And when you do ask for advice, remember, you don't always have to take that advice.

And to those who think they have life figured out. Whether you have had twenty kids or you don't have any, remember that you're not always right. Remember to be sensitive. You may have read up the whole parenting section of the library. Maybe you graduated in child development. Maybe you're a doctor. Maybe you're just a know it all. What ever the case, lay off. While some young moms need and ask for advice, not everyone who has a different opinion than you is wrong. If we don't agree or take your advice, it's not because you're wrong either. It's because we don't feel like that's what works best for our family and our situation. And you wouldn't know because you're not them.
There is a time and a place for your opinion, when it's going to tear someone else down or make them feel less of a person, it's not the time or the place. They just do things different from you. And that is also 100% OK.

What is the worst/best parenting advice you've ever heard?

You might also like: Tips for Running with a BabyFavorite Children's Books,  Positive Dicipline: Book ReviewMy Favorite Baby ItemsA Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mommy Blogger5 Dos of Date Night


  1. YES, YES, YES, YES!!! I wrote a post about this same topic dealing with sleep methods on Monday

    Also, I just BAWLED my eyes out watching that video #momfeels

    1. I thought the video was perfect. Some people think they have all the answers, but just because something works for one person doesn't mean that it will work for everyone.

  2. As long as it's not hurting your kids, doing what works for your family is as valid a choice as any. Nice post.