Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting Advice on Parenting

Before I became a mom, I had no idea that mothering was so controversial. I thought everyone had the same goal of loving and taking care of their children, and they all got along and agreed. MAN, was I wrong. I got my first taste of that as I was pregnant with my Harper and wrote on this blog about a few things I was buying or planning to do.  There's hardly anything everyone agrees on when it comes to mothering.

It seems everyone has opinions on what is best, and that can make it hard for you to pave your way as a new mother. I was pretty overwhelmed by all the debates at first: sleep training, nursing vs. formula, what kind of monitor is best, swaddling or not swaddling, what kind of car seat, to use a pacifier or not and when to take it away, and on and on and on.

There are a ZILLION parenting books out there. People will swear by specific ones. I think that is great. I'm not a big reader. When I seek advice and people start throwing out book titles to me, my eyes glaze over. I just want to hear from people who have been there, not read twelve chapters. But I know a lot of people really want to read books.

You will get advice from all the friends who are ahead of you. You will get a lot of "Oh, just wait..." "Wait until she is THREE." "Wait until she is eight and rolling her eyes at you." "Wait until you have two kids." This advice can either make you feel better or make you dread the future. You will get advice from your mother and MIL. This will be good advice you can use (hopefully). Sometimes you will get unwanted advice from strange women in the grocery store. You can bank on that.

I think parenting styles can even divide friends, and that's sad. I've witnessed that over and over, and it's just part of the territory, I guess. I think what I have come to accept is that everyone has her opinion on what is the best way to parent. I think you can seek Godly wisdom from people you respect and admire. You can read books. Or you can learn as you go.

There is no perfect manual (other than the Bible, maybe) that will tell you exactly what to do, because EVERY kid is different. What works for one mom may not work for you because your child behaves and responds completely differently. The best thing I can tell anyone is to have confidence in yourself and make decisions that work best for YOUR family. Listen to your pediatrician. And don't let your feelings get hurt when people offer advice or don't agree with you. They normally mean well. Just take it with a grain of salt and love your child the way you feel best.
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