I’ve briefly spoken about parenting differences and doing what works for you (read it here!), but I wanted to talk a little more on it.
When I was pregnant with my daughter we were living in a city 2.5 hours away from anyone we knew, and we were there for such a short period that no one would hire me for work. This left me with a lot of time on my hands. I very quickly found an online mom community and invested myself into getting to know the women. We would talk about absolutely everything. After a while there were a few of us (around 20 or so) that wanted to speak more privately, as where we would post was public and open to the Internet. From here we started a huge group text and would talk through all hours of the day. I can tell you right now, in the middle of the night when you’re feeding your baby for the 4th time and you feel so lonely as your husband snores beside you, this was one of the most amazing things to have. It felt so nice knowing that somewhere across Canada there was another mom up at the same time as you, and you could just send the group a quick text to see who it was and how they were doing at the time. I formed a lot of friendships this way and we still talk now, after 2 years.
In this chat, as I said, we talked about everything: how breastfeeding was going, how those who had babies with reflux were handling it, what size diapers the babies were wearing, how quickly everyone had lost their baby weight… There really didn’t seem to be a topic that wasn’t covered. Very quickly we learned that our parenting styles were different, yet we were always able to talk about things and give advice.
As our babies grew the topics would change and we spoke about sleep. Some of us sleep trained, some of us didn’t. Some of us bed shared, some of us didn’t. Some of us did both! We also spoke about early potty training (elimination communication), baby led weaning vs. purées, when to switch to a toddler bed. We didn’t all do the same thing. We each chose to do what worked for our babies and what worked for us as parents. Not everything I agreed with, and I’m sure I did things that some of them didn’t agree with.
In today’s society it is so hard as parents to know what the “right” thing is to do. Opinions are thrown every which way from everyone and it’s terribly difficult to make a decision and feel confident in it. If you chose to bed-share someone will tell you your child will be in your bed forever. If you chose to breastfeed past 1 your child will never wean. If you chose to sleep train your child will have trust issues. People will forever tell you that what you’re doing is wrong and what they did is better. I am here to tell you that there is never a “better” way to do things. I’ve said it before, and will continue to.
My daughter, as well as the other kids in this “group”, are all between 16 and 17 months old now. Looking back I don’t remember who all chose what different parenting methods, but I can tell you that our kids are all thriving. They are all gaining independence, and they are all loved incredibly by their parents. Whether we chose to start solids at 4 months and do purees or start at 6 months and do BLW, our children all eat. Whether we chose to bed share or crib train, our kids all sleep (for the most part!). Each of us have found our rhythm in parenting and we have each made the decisions that were best for us. What we have each chosen to do we must live with the outcome, whether it be good or bad.
If you are a first time mom know that you can take advice, but in the end do what works for your family. Don’t get frustrated with people giving you advice because one day you may be switching shoes. Know that it comes from the best place possible, and that people are only trying to help; but also know that you don’t need to listen to every piece of advice thrown at you, and that your decisions are your own.
If you are a first, second, third (etc) time mom, know that what you do is enough! You are the best mom you can be to your kids. God gave them to YOU, not the person giving you advice. Keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s perfect for you!