Aidan, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Parenting Advice: In One Ear and Out the Other

From the moment you share the news you are pregnant, you become bombarded with unsolicited advice. Family members, friends, neighbors down the street and even the cashier at Walmart all feel the need to tell you the right way to raise your child. If you are anything like I was, as a soon to be mom, I was writing down these tips in my phone and saving them for later. The moment I had my son, I was up late reading every parenting article and thinking back on all the advice I had been given. A month and a half later, after reading and hearing so many opposing opinions, I looked at my husband and said, “screw it, we are going to do it our way!” Each parenting article contradicts another. The rules of raising a child change every couple years. My best advice is the advice a good friend of mine finally gave me, “do what is best for your child and ignore what others say about it. If what you are doing works for you and your family, who cares what anyone thinks.” She is a pretty smart cookie. As soon as I started listening to my gut and recognized what worked best with my son, motherhood became a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable. I never thought I would be trying homeopathic remedies or random tricks I thought of at two in the morning. What has worked for my son could be the complete opposite of what works for another baby. Who would have thought an adorable six pound little lad would make me question everything I had ever known. (Or thought I knew!) 

I remember my idealistic dream of my son sleeping peacefully in his bassinet for a few months before we transferred him to his crib. Did I take into account that my child would be a terrible sleeper and only sleep when he was on me? No, I did not. After a month of sleeping on the couch, with Aidan sleeping in his pack and play for 15 minute increments, something had to change. When you are as sleep deprived as most new parents, you will make choices you swore you would never make before your child was born. Enter co-sleeping. For two and a half months our little man ended up sleeping in bed with us. While many articles and the Pediatrics Association do not recommend bed sharing, many families all over the world do it. Nathan and I agreed before kids, we would never allow them to sleep with us. That changed pretty fast, when Aidan would only sleep if snuggled up next to me. We ended up loving it, especially because we all got the sleep we needed. When the little man started to wiggle around and roll from his stomach to his back, it was time to transition him to his crib. This was not an easy venture and once again I was dealing with advice on how to sleep train. A few people told me not to let my son cry it out or he would be emotionally damaged when he is older. Aidan’s pediatrician said to transition him by allowing him to cry and checking on him every few minutes. Once again, I had to do what worked best with my son. Aidan will not be emotionally damaged or have trust issues, because I chose to use the CIO method. After a week of letting him cry during naps and at bedtime, he finally learned to self soothe and put himself to sleep in his crib. (Hallelujah! I was no longer sleeping on the edge of the bed anymore!) My son turns six months in a few days and we are still learning what is best for our child. I will always be grateful to those close to us who give us advice, especially when it works. I do not and will not be made to feel guilty for doing my own thing. Nathan and I are good parents and while we will make mistakes, we have to do what is best for our son and not what is expected of us. This post isn’t to put down those who have given us advice, just to let other parents know it is okay to do it your way. Don’t worry about what the articles say, they change day by day. Who cares what worked for Susie Q down the street. Trial and error is the best way to figure out what is successful for you and your children. Don’t ever let anyone judge you or make you feel bad for how you raise your child. As long as you aren’t leaving your child in the car or letting them play with fire, you are a good mom and dad! Your children will turn out just fine. My little goober has so far. I will get back to you when he is in his teenage years. So forget about whether solids before one is “just for fun,” or allowing your child to scream for five minutes, while you finally shower is damaging. Parenting is challenging and as soon as you figure out how to solve one issue, five more pop up in its place. You will figure out this parenting thing, or at least learn to fake it like I have. Remember, as a former student of mine use to say, “do you boo boo!” 



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