Throughout my nine months of pregnancy, I gathered as much parenting advice as I could from mothers whom I admire. I would talk about motherhood with other expecting moms, moms with one child, or moms with multiple children. I asked all sorts of questions ranging from “How do you get your baby to sleep at night?” to “How do you change a diaper?”. (Fun fact: I never changed a diaper until I had my baby girl! Now, I’ve changed more diapers than I’d ever have imagined.)
Even before I became an expecting mother, I found it beneficial to seek advice from women in different stages of life. There are many influential women in each of our lives. So, why not take a couple hours, grab a cup of coffee, and learn from their experiences? We can truly learn so much from each other! In my quest to collect parenting advice, the more advice I received, the more I realized I would never be able to remember everything.
I divided the advice into three categories:
- I will definitely use that advice – Remember this! Write it down! Tell my husband!
- I might use that advice – Keep it in mind just in case.
- I will never use that advice – Thanks, but just not my style.
After welcoming my baby girl into the world, here’s what I’ve learned: Not all advice, even really good advice, is best for my child.
It’s not profound that all children are different, but in the midst of becoming a first time mother, it is overwhelming! I have to constantly weigh the advice I receive against my instincts to figure out what is best for my child and family. Still, I do not regret asking for a lot of advice because it opened my eyes to different parenting techniques. I started my motherhood journey with several great ideas, tips, and tricks to try with my bundle of joy. However, it is important to know that not all advice will work for your family and that is okay. Don’t feel guilty. What works for others might not work for you.
Then there is the unsolicited parenting advice.
When someone finds out you are pregnant, they instantly feel the need to share advice with you. Originally, I found this frustrating because I felt the moms sharing unsolicited advice didn’t think I knew what I was doing (Hint: I didn’t know what I was doing, but I didn’t want anyone else to know that!) Yet, now I find myself doing the same thing to my pregnant friends. Who am I to share advice? I’ve only been a mother for three months! I think at the heart of the matter, we want other moms to succeed and learn from our mistakes. We want to share our joys and struggles of motherhood because it is a special bond we all share.
So here’s my unsolicited advice to anyone who will listen: Seek and gather as much parenting advice as you can from other moms in your life, then decide what will work best for your child. Every child is different and that is what makes parenting such a fun adventure.