There’s an awful lot of info for you about parenting in the bookstores, classes and really just the general population. When I had my first daughter, Elby, I was dying to get my hands on anything that could tell me what to do, how to do it, or at least let me know I was doing everything wrong since I figured I was anyway.
But now, six years and two kids later, things have changed, baby. I find so much of what freaked me out in the beginning to be laughable now. I snort out loud at every new study that comes out on MSNBC telling me the newest findings on “The Hidden Dangers of High Thread Count Sheets” or “Popsicle Poisons.” It’s not that I don’t want to keep my kids safe or keep my kids healthy. And I’m not one of those moms who thinks modern parents are so crazy and neurotic and it was all so much better when we didn’t have car seats and kids rode around in a shoe box in the back seat. But I have let my six-year-old wear just a regular seat belt in a pinch when we weren’t driving far. Yeah, I did that. And she doesn’t even weigh 60 pounds. Go ahead and call CPS.
The point is, I’m a lot more discerning when it comes to advice especially when even the best advice can be tough to implement what with having a job, husband and chronic laziness. So without further ado, here are my top least favorite bits of parenting advice I have received as a new mom.
- Get your baby on a schedule – No you get my baby on a schedule. Unless you have access to Super Nanny Jo Frost and she can come into your home to get your baby to play, sleep and eat on a particular time table, this is a pretty lofty (and for me unattainable) goal. Once I stopped trying to force my kid to “eat right after waking up and not before going to sleep otherwise she’ll always equate eating with going to bed” we all got more sleep and sanity.
- Buy the book, What To Expect The First Year -Sure, if you want to freak the fuck out every five seconds because your baby isn’t doing the thing they are supposed to be doing on week 16 of their life. Not every baby schedules finding their toes into their Outlook and gets it done at the exact same time. Seriously, lift the fatwa off Salmon Rushdie and put it where it belongs: on the head of these authors.
- Breast feeding will get better but you’ve got to push through the pain. Guess what, it didn’t get better. It got worse and I wasted some valuable bonding time sobbing over my failure. Trying to make breast feeding happen was like trying to force Sammi and Ronni to work out their differences. It wasn’t going to happen without a lot a hell of a lot of damage. Letting it go was incredibly freeing and in fact, my pediatrician telling me to “stop breastfeeding if it gets in the way of bonding with your baby” was the best parenting advice I ever got. So there.
- No fruit before veggies -We’ve all heard the old “Don’t allow your baby to have fruit before they’ve had veggies because they’ll like the sweet stuff so much they’ll never eat anything else.” This bit of unwisdom is so ridiculous and yet, when you hear it, it sort of makes sense so you kill yourself trying to not give your baby something they might actually enjoy and instead you force green beans down their gullet week after week. Well, maybe you do. After giving that a try with baby number one, I lost interest and let her hit the bananas hard. We never looked back. I mean, sure she weighs 800 pounds but she carries it really well. She has an athletic build.
- Kids will eat when they’re hungry, stop worrying – Okay, so here’s where I get really irritated: Unless a person has recently graduated from medical school, they have no business doling out medical advice. In fact, even if they graduated, you don’t know if they were at the bottom of their class so I’d still remain wary. Some babies will eat when they are hungry but if your child isn’t eating, crawling, talking, breathing or whatever, and a voice inside you tells you that something isn’t right, for God’s sake don’t listen to a random stranger, listen to yourself.
In fact, most of this is common sense am I right? Can I get a whoop whoop? Stay tuned for my next installment which will cover even more sucky parenting advice.