Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Best Parenting Advice

With it almost being Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a few of my best parenting advice with everyone. Take it for what you will, because being a parent is the hardest and best thing you'll ever do.  There are some days where, by the time Trevon gets home, I'm ready for the day to be over and to have the kids in bed, and myself in bed and to start over and try again tomorrow. There are also days where I feel like I don't want them to end. But as far as advice goes, it's really a personal thing. Nobody has all the right answers. And nobody is the perfect parent.



Don't just trust people on the internet.

They have good advice but it doesn't always work for everybody. 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 without 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 depression 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 issues...you name it. And a lot of blogs have a lot of really good advice. But the thing is that every baby and situation is a little different. 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.



Breast isn't always best


I can't tell you how many times I've heard that breastfeeding is best while in my baby years. 
I remember with all 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 all of my kids for some time, 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. With my youngest, I only nursed for 6 months and that was only because he refused a bottle up until then. I remember feeling bad that I wanted to be done nursing him but I felt so frustrated every time that I sat down to feed him. I didn't feel like it was a bonding time for us, I felt like a cow, I felt annoyed, I felt like I wanted to not share my body anymore, I felt like it took him a lot of time to eat from me and I didn't want to feel any of that with my sweet boy. So the day he finally accepted the bottle was a really good day for me. But with all of these times, it was very hard for me to admit that I wasn't nursing my babies because I didn't want to hear all the opinions on it. So while breast milk has great benefits for the baby, it doesn't always work best for the mom. And if mom's not taken care of, neither is the baby. Do what is best for you!



Listen to your gut, not to other people

It's taken me almost seven years of being a mom, and a lot of internet searches, 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. Whatever 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 remember that you're doing your best. And you're doing what works for you.


You're doing just fine

There are going to be hard days. There will be those days that you just sit and think "everything I'm doing must be wrong". There will be days that you wish you didn't have to deal with kids and that you're spent. Somedays you will just feel like you don't want to be touched or that you'll never want to hear your name or the word "mom" for the rest of the day. Just know that every mother out there feels that way at some point. It's normal. You're doing it right.

No one has the right answer when it comes to parenting. 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.

There are so many people out there who will jump at any chance to give you parenting advice. Some are parents, some are not. Some have college degrees in child development, some will be doctors.  Choose the advice you take wisely. Take it from those who you trust and who love you. But don't take it from strangers at the grocery store that happens to pass by while the toddler is throwing a tantrum and the baby is fussy. They mean well but they don't know you or your situation. Just know you're doing OK.

When you see other moms struggling and you wonder how to help, I think the best thing you can say is "hang in there, you're doing good." There is so much more good in trying to encourage each other instead of "fix" each other.


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


19 comments:

  1. YES, YES, YES, YES!!! I wrote a post about this same topic dealing with sleep methods on Monday http://www.themorrelltale.com/2015/05/my-experience-and-philosophy-on-baby.html

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

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    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.

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  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.

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  3. I have 2 grown boys who are as different as can be. My oldest continues to give me a lot sleepless nights. I've gotten plenty of unsolicited advice on what to do with him. No one can tell you how to raise your kids but you. Trust your gut. And you are right, you are doing just fine. I wish more people would say that instead of judging. Happy Mother's Day, Jenny!

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    1. You know when people randomly come up at the grocery store and try to give you parenting advice? I wish the people who feel the need to do that when a toddler is screaming would just tell the mom she’s doing great instead of giving her advice. She already feels terrible at that point anyway.

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  4. Great tips!!! Every family is different and the same thing doesn't always work for everyone, as long as you and your family are happy and healthy you are doing awesome!

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  5. Great advice. I'm a stepmom so I'm kind of in another category. I *can* however recognize that the bio moms I know would probably agree with your post! I think something that I try to do is not try to solve a bio mom's problem - rather just listen and be there and ask questions to help them work through whatever they are going through. It's not my place to judge! Parenting is really really hard and even when you do all the things "right" there is no guarantee on anything! So keep doing what you do, love and care for your children, teach them to be respectful and kind and it's probably all going to be ok!

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    1. I think that is an awesome way to handle the step mom situation. The more people who love the kids the better. And being able to get along with the bio parents can be hard sometimes I’m sure but being willing to work together for the kids is exactly the best thing to do! I love that!

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  6. Yes to this! I know the pressure of being a mom and feeling the pressure of doing this or not doing that, (breast feeding vs bottle feeding is a prime example) but as the parent, you know what is best for your baby and family. My advice is don't start something you're not willing to keep doing, specifically surrounding bedtime routines.

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    1. Lol that is also some awesome advice. Kids hang on to those things forever and by bed time you better be willing to spend that extra minute to do whatever it is they are used to or bed time goes out the window.

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  7. It's fine to get ideas from friends, but as you said, listening to your gut is the way to go. Happy mother's day

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    1. Thank you! Happy mother’s day to you too!

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  8. Everything you said is spot-on. Every family has a different set of dynamics and situations, and there will never one perfect "answer" to every problem. I really struggled with breastfeeding, so I wound up pumping. Granted pumping (instead of "just nursing") took more of a time commitment, but it was worth it and so much easier for me. My kids are now (almost)24, (almost)21, and 18-1/2. Back in the day, the internet was not as accessible as it is now, so that may have been a good thing (LOL...much less comparison & unsolicited advice).

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    1. Sometimes I wish I didn’t spend so much time on the Internet haha. There really is so much comparison and judging. You really have to keep you mind on the fact that no one is perfect and no one has a perfect life. Even the people that seem to have it all together have bad days that they don’t share online. Thanks for reading Kim, have a great day.

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  9. Everything you included in here is so true! There's no real parenting manual out there that will work for everyone--there's a lot that gets learned along the way!

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  10. Great post! It's so easy to start comparing yourself to the "perfect" moms on social media. Best advice I ever got was from a complete stranger -- she told me to always park next to the shopping cart return. And I always do!

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    1. Lol! I love that advice. I always do that too. It makes shopping with kids a thousand times easier!

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  11. Parenting is so polarizing, isn't it? I never really cared what kind of advice people gave (or tried to give) me. I do believe that most people off up suggestions from a good place and I appreciate that they care enough to do so, whether I took that advice or not. I didn't really care too much for those who came from a not so kind place - those are people who aren't happy and want to bring everyone down with them.

    My 10 year old seems to be doing ok thus far, so I'm doing something right ;) If it works for us, then it's working just fine.

    Happy Mother's Day to you!

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