Receiving Advice as a New Parent

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How much advice did you get as a new mom? 

 

Once you announce that you are expecting, it seems as though the advice rushes in from all directions. Family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers feel compelled to share their experiences and offer guidance. Most of the time, the advice is unsolicited and cringeworthy at best. 

 

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I mean, with every stage of life comes commentary at every turn and questions about what’s next. Just graduated college? Are you going to continue for your master’s, because you should? Just started dating? When are you getting married? Just got married? When are you having kids? Barely walk out of the hospital with your first child … when are you having more children? Surely, most of us have been on the receiving end of these questions.

 

Then there is parenting advice. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Don’t hold the baby too much. Just let them cry it out.

 

two young moms on a couch with their babies giving each other advice

 

I would like to believe most people mean well when they share their opinions. However, if you are new in your parenting journey or just not feeling sure of your abilities, all of the questions and advice can cause some self-doubt to creep in.

 

I’m not taking anything away from the advice that people hold dear. Maybe it has worked for them. But being on the receiving end of this advice can cause you to feel inadequate, especially when you don’t agree with the advice. 

 

Perhaps that’s why one piece of advice from someone I work with stood out from the rest for me. She said that the advice will come, but at the end of the day, I will know what’s best for my baby. It’s okay to be kind and listen to advice. However, I don’t have to agree with it, nor do I have to question my decisions when I’m doing my best. I truly know my child best.

 

I think back on this from time to time, knowing that the advice will continue to come as my son grows. It’s given me the support to remember that until my son can make decisions for himself, I can do what’s in his best interest, even if it goes against the way things have always been done.

 

Sometimes staying awake while the baby slept was the only way I could have time to myself. And I will always hold on tight to my son because one day, he may not want hugs all the time. 

 

a mom hugging her toddler before he goes off to school

 

There’s always room to improve in this thing called parenthood. Some advice is solid. Some advice is just passed down from generation to generation without question. Whatever the case, the best advice is always what works for you and your family.

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