I was filling in Corbin’s baby book yesterday (only a month behind schedule. And can I just take an aside here and mention the fact that this baby book is repeatedly worded in such a way that it is CLEARLY meant for a first-born. What the heck? Does NO ONE fill out the book for the second kid? Because if so, I feel like such a rockstar mom! Except for all that OTHER stuff that I totally haven’t bothered about the second time around.) ANYWAY! There was a question like “what is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve received so far? What is the worst?”
And I literally wrote, “I definitely need more than 2 lines for this,” and left it at that. Come on! TWO lines!? I should add “see blog.” lol.
So, now I’m thinking about it. What IS the best piece of advice I got?
“Don’t try to keep her from messing with breakables, just put them far far away.” That was a good one. “Try to keep his penis covered with something when you change his diaper.” An excellent tip that I repeatedly fail to adhere to. “Treasure this time because it goes by so fast.” An oldie but a goodie, and something I didn’t really understand until I had a second baby and Lola turned into a preschooler.
Really, I get a lot of good advice. I have a network of moms that I talk to online and I’m SOOO grateful, because I don’t really have mom-friends in real life. I mostly have mom-competitors, you know the type. But from my online mommies, there has been so much support and wisdom. I guess one bit stands out the most, as I’ve remembered it almost verbatim for years now.
When Lola was a baby I was suffering from an aspect of PPD that materialised for me, not as sadness or a disconnect from my baby, but as soul crushing anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I worried constantly about whether I was doing things the “right” way, because what FELT right to me seemed to be at odds with all the things people kept telling me. And since they were veteran moms and I was new to this, MY gut couldn’t possibly be right, right?
One day I was fretting about something or another. Someone told me I catered to my baby too much and she’d be spoiled. I shouldn’t hold her all the time. I should be helping her learn to fall asleep without my comforting her. She’s hungry too often; I nurse her too much. And a very kind person told me, “Hold that baby until your arms break, rock her till your knees buckle, and nurse her till your boobs fall off. And if your arms don’t break, and your knees don’t buckle, and your boobs don’t fall off, then all is right in your world.” And it just about changed my life. And I repeated it almost like a mantra. And things got better and better.
Dont get me wrong, I still do, and always will I suppose, struggle with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. But those words help so much. Those specific words are just what I needed at that specific time. But that sentiment is something that I try to remember for all aspects of parenting. Just love your kids, and cherish them in the best way you know how. And if that gets you through the day with your family still intact, then it was perfect all along.
And the worst advice? WHERE could I even START!? There is so much to choose from. “You have to let them cry it out by 2 months old or you’ll have ruined their sleeping forever.” Well, Lola and I certainly proved that one wrong! “You’ve got to switch to formula.” I got this one BOTH times, from DOCTORS! I am pleased to report that I ignored that advice both times and we all survived just fine with a healthy nursing relationship. I don’t know where I found the resolve to defy Dr’s advice, either, but I’m glad. “Don’t worry so much about carseats, we all grew up Okay without them.” Do I even need to say anything about this one?
That whole “Give them a little blackberry brandy” for basically EVERY conceivable ailment thing? I’m starting to see some wisdom in that one. 😉