The Babble List: 50 Things Not To Worry AboutBabble Editors
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In the face of all this pandemic panic, we thought we'd provide our own kind of public service announcement. Yes, wash your hands, but also count your blessings. Here are some of the many things Babble writers have reassured us about over the years.
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1: Scary books
No, they don't terrorize your kids. And if they do, its psychologically healthy. Kids enjoy being scared — and who, kid or not, doesnt like a good story? Dr. Charuvastra, a research psychiatrist and father, explains, Its better for your child to experience [fear] for the first time with you, in pretend space, than in non-pretend space. And while deciding just how protective to be — or not to be — is always a struggle with parents, do you think your little ones would rather read these creepy, keep-your-kids-close books or these spooky stories? Yeah, we thought so.
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2: Public schools
Are public schools good enough for your kids? Writer-performer Sandra Tsing Loh sends her kid to one, and shes happy about it. Once you actually look in at all the garden-variety schools — go inside, look around — you always find theres someone teaching their heart out, Loh says. What might be more important is getting to know your childrens teachers — and being able to talk to them. Another thing not to put too much emphasis on: Your kid getting straight As all the time. (Remember Tiger Mom?) There are other approaches to helping your child succeed.
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3: Vaccinations causing autism
Flu shot or no flu shot? The vaccines-cause-autism debate has been raging since 1998, when Andrew Wakefields study in the Lancet spread fear in parents everywhere. But since then there have been more studies, more hard evidence that the value of immunizing waaaaaaaay outweighs the minuscule risk of side effects. And theres the tiny little fact that Wakefields study turned out to be part of an elaborate fraud.
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4: Circumcision traumatizing newborns
It may be stressful for the parents, but one doc claims it doesn't seem to matter one way or the other when it comes to kids' psyches. Then there are those who make impassioned arguments against circumcision, like this mom and this mom. The bottom line: You can (and should) weigh the pros and cons all you want, but circumcision is ultimately an elective procedure. Its a decision only you and your family can make, with no right or wrong outcome. Just rest assured that circumcised or not, your son will not be alone.
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5: Sleep training traumatizing kids
Kids who can sleep are happy kids. Period. Not to mention, parents who can sleep are happy parents. There are studies that claim crying it out mentally damages babies, and there are studies that claim controlled crying it out is not damaging at all. Babies are complicated creatures, and what works for one may not be ideal for another. Like circumcision, it seems that the answer is simpler than the debates make it seem: whatever works for you and your family.
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6: Mis-timing your baby's conception
Is there a right time to be pregnant? If youre financially stable and have a partner you dont want to kill, the time might be now. Because despite what studies say, kids will make you happy. Heck, it could be the right time even without a partner. Whether this happens when youre 19 or 40, with the right support and planning, you can find ways to make it work. Still not convinced? Here are 45 reasons to have a baby right now.
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7: C-sections ruining your birth experience
Life tends to get in the way of even the best-laid (birth) plans, and sometimes medical complications require delivery by C-section. When planning your birth, remember to consider the possibility that it might not go as expected — but the right doctors, midwives, or doulas will help to meet your needs while keeping you and your baby safe. Even if its not your ideal situation, remember that the end result — your healthy child — is what matters in the end.
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8: Home birth being dangerous
Home births offer many benefits for pregnant women that hospitals could learn a thing or two from. For Babble writer Madeline Holler, giving birth at home was weird, magical, and technically a felony — but she wouldnt have it any other way. With the proper safety measures, many moms find that a birth without intervention, dangling IVs or hospital employees makes for a special bonding experience with their baby.
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9: The PTA turning you into scary Stepford folk
While forcing parental involvement at school might be extreme, helping out with a bake sale or book drive has its perks. When youve got a kid, befriending other moms isnt always easy — and the PTA can provide a good jumping-off point for new pals. School involvement could help you talk to your kids teacher if theres something you want to discuss. Studies show that kids behave better in class when parents take an interest in their school.
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10: Traveling on a plane
While strangers like to complain about kids screaming on planes, the truth is, it's almost always hardest on parents. Here's the truth: Little ears hurt on planes. Kids get squirmy. If, God forbid, yours screams or kicks a seat, apologize, do what you can to mitigate, and let go of the guilt. This isn't anyone's fault, no matter what the dagger eyes are telling you.
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11: Being replaced by the nanny
While leaving your child in anothers care can be heart-wrenching, remember that its for the security of your family or the benefits you get from your career — and missing out on kissing a few boo-boos doesnt mean youre a failure as a parent. Communicating with your nanny is an important way to get the lowdown on your kids day — just make sure you treat her right so she sticks around. No matter how much time you clock in as a parent, know that the relationship you build with your kids is what theyll remember.
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12: Not being the mother you imagined
We're all not the mothers we thought we would be. That's because having a real, live kid changes the equation. Sometimes we forget to listen to our kids, sometimes we don't know how to help them right away. Forget how you thought it would be. Having a good relationship with your kid is like any other — you work at it, and it gets better.
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15: Procuring the hot new toy
While its fun to see which cool new toys will be the next playground trend, kids are just as content with a box and a stick. Really. There are a ton of things you can do with your kids (no batteries required!). Besides, remember these hot toy fads we totally fell for? History doesnt necessarily have to repeat itself ...
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16: Fighting in front of your kids
Every parent has struggles they have to hide from their kids, but fighting and solving your spats while the kids are around can teach valuable lessons about conflict resolution. Any dating expert will tell you that couples that dont fight usually are ignoring a need or issue in their relationship. This is a great opportunity to show kids that arguing is a part of any healthy relationship, and dealing with disappointments are better than ignoring them.
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17: Potty-training too early
Even if we start our kids too soon, they'll all end up at the same place. While you shouldnt push your toddler into something she isnt ready for, a parent-led approach that provides the framework for building frequent visits to the potty into your childs day could be the right step for you and your tot. We even picked a potty thats ideal for early learners.
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18: The terrible twos
Stop worrying about the dreaded age! This mom's two-year-old is terrific. Just remember that toddlers are entering a new world full of still-unexplained, scary things. (Heres how you can help them make sense of it.) And remember, its not easy for them either, even if they are the ones screaming and showering you in spaghetti.
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19: Not letting your kids win
This writer played tough with her boyfriend's four-year-old and said it only made his eventual victories sweeter. Though if you want to level the playing field, stick to family games. Or, if you want to go a little old school, break out the Candyland and these other classics that dont involve touch screens, batteries, or controllers.
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20: Your kids fighting
Even if you nip major conflict in the bud by making sure big brother or sister isnt left out when a new baby comes along, sibling rivalry is bound to rear its ugly head. And guess what? That isnt a bad thing. In fact, sibling rivalry improves conflict resolution skills later in life.
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21: Having a nameless newborn
It seems like everyone has an opinion on what to name your future child when youre pregnant. Sometimes its better to keep babys name a secret, even if its a secret to you, too. Dont stress if a name doesnt immediately click once hes here, either — it will come to you eventually. If you still need some inspiration, youll find tons of it here. Just steer clear of these celebs wacky picks.
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22: Taking longer to bond with your baby
Maybe you shared a body for nine months, but with the discomfort, stress, and hormones that come with pregnancy, bonding isnt always a walk in the park. If youre still pregnant, take some time to write about your feelings or start calling her by name (if you have one)! Sometimes its dad who wishes he were closer with his child. It took this writer a long time to fall in love with her daughter, and they turned out A-okay.
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23: Not getting outdoors at every opportunity
Sometimes, being stuck inside isnt so bad. Whip up some healthy, cozy comfort food and wash it down with a toasty hot drink. If the kids are asleep, maybe you can steal enough time to sink your teeth into a good book. If youre feelin crafty, these moms have projects galore to inspire you.
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24: Post-pregnancy flab
Its cool — we dont all have magical post-baby bodies like Heidi Klum. If youve let your body get a little wobblier with all the demands that come with being a mom, relax — it doesnt need to say more about you than you want it to. If youre really concerned, there are simple, effective exercises you can do in between diaper changes and naps. Check out your local gym for daycare or Mommy and me classes and youll be surprised at how easily you can fit a workout into your day
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25: Not buying organic food
This mom isnt sure we should buy into the organic trend — and whats more, cant afford it — and doesnt feel guilty. Budget-conscious but hate pesticides? Find out which foods are better to buy organic and which ones you shouldnt worry about. Still worried about what your kids eat? Sneak some healthy stuff into these adapted versions of their favorite meals.
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26: Being clueless with a camera
From first breath to first steps, here are some tips for getting the cutest pictures of babys first year. If youve got older kids, help them snap a few shots and preserve memories in scrapbooks or journals. Check out our favorite cameras, which make it easier to get that great photo — or maybe youre interested in these other tech gadgets that will make your life easier.
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28: Turning down invites from relatives
Theres a reason we overeat and over-drink during holidays: too much family time. Jeanne maintains her sanity by spending her holidays at home. If familys just too far away, bond with your kids by whipping up some cute holiday treats or starting some brand-new family traditions.
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29: Not wanting kids
Preschool teacher Lauren assures us it's normal to love kids but hate the thought of being a parent. Theres a reason Jami chose to live the childfree life. Maybe youd rather wait until youre older. And even if you have kids, its normal to not want them everywhere — in your bathroom stall or next to you at the bar, for instance.
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30: Not schmoozing with fellow moms
Its a natural need to talk to someone whos graduated kindergarten after playing peek-a-boo all day, and we know — finding the elusive momance isnt easy. Score some playdates with these tried-and-true pick-up lines and have the other parents swooning over your tot. You could also try the online option by joining a parenting listserv.
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31: Going low-key on birthday parties
Whether your birthday budget is $200, $2,000 or $20,000 (dang. Can you invite us?), its easy to get carried away with wanting to make sure your kids party is special. Remember that sometimes the most memorable birthdays have the tiniest price tags. Figure out what your priorities are — a bigger guest list, relaxing family time — and cut corners on parts of the party youre not interested in. These adorable themed-party ideas make the most of your buck.
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32: Loathing celeb moms
Whether they are leading perfect A-list lives or reality nightmares, these moms could not be further from your day-today, except that they are EVERYWHERE. Just remember, its okay to harbor a little resentment, whether thats actively hoping that certain celebs never procreate, or wishing that moms who became notorious in their own right just fade from the collective conscious.
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33: Throwing out your kid's artwork
Bonnie's guilt-free rule: if it doesn't make us laugh or cry, it's gotta go. Meanwhile, this mom throws out her kids toys while they sleep, and she's not losing any sleep about it at all. And since youre already in the de-cluttering mood, here are 20 more things you can throw away without the guilt.
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34: Scarring your kid for life with regular discipline
Disciplinary parenting tactics vary across the board. One dad lets his 4-year-old swear. Another is proud that his kids a bully. One mom doesnt want her son to be totally obedient, while another admits she yells at her kids way too much. But one mother of five who has a drill sergeant style of parenting that works just fine has realized that kids are remarkably resilient. You just have to find the balance of discipline thats right for you and your family. Anyway, chances are your kid is going to scar you before they even hit preschool.
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35: Not having enough stuff
This single mom knows that love — not material objects — is all her son really needs. In my mind, providing your child means, first and foremost, imbuing him with a sense of compassion, tolerance, trust in and pleasure with the world around him, she writes. What if your kids got too many toys, like Babble writer Kevin Kecks son? You can do what Kevin did and teach your son to share the wealth with others who may not be as lucky. (And trust us, your kids arent going to miss those toys after a few days.)
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36: Picky eaters
Hey, a kids gotta eat eventually, right? Taste buds change, and, as this mom believes, your picky eater may grow to be less picky over the years. If you want a more instant solution, give these kid-pleasing recipes a whirl and see what happens. And if youre really stumped, you might want to try these 10 picky-eater mind games that focus on prepping your kids thoughts rather than the meal itself. Or you can instill vacation rules like this mom does to keep her kids diets on the adventurous side.
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37: Hiring help
You want the real truth about nannies? They can be awesome. One dad explains why his nanny is his best investment yet. This couple hired a nanny for their family vacation — and theyre never going nanny-less while on a trip again. Follow our tips for making sure you find the right nanny. It can be hard to find the one, but when you do, youll want to keep her, so heres how to make her really care.
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No matter how hard you try, a babys going to catch a cold eventually. And a cold is usually no big deal. In fact, studies have shown that early exposure to germs helps kids build up immunity against future colds and infections. Of course, this doesnt mean you should just go ahead and let sick people hold your kid — just dont go overboard with the handwashing.
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39: Having a badly behaved child
Every kid has bad days. Every single one. Want to see some truly terrible temper tantrums? Watch the best of the worst on YouTube. And remember, learning how to handle bad behavior is part of your job. It will also make those terrible twos — or tantrum threes — a little easier.
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40: Teaching your child sign language
Is baby sign language essential or a rip-off? While Heather believes signing helps your kids learn language faster, Elizabeth says it actually may have delayed her son's verbal skills. Like so many parenting topics, there is not necessarily a right decision. Whatever works best for you and your partner is what will work best for your child.
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41: Breastfeeding in public
Its legal, but its not for everybody. Babble blogger Meredith quit breastfeeding after doing it in public — once. Meanwhile, Babble blogger Katie breastfed her 4-year-old in public with no problem. These celebs also nursed while out and about without worrying what the paparazzi would think. We say to each her own.
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42: Feeling awkward during the talk
Were pretty sure the process of explaining sex to your kids has been awkward for centuries, so youre not alone here. Whether it comes sooner (as early as 5-years-old for this mom) or later, youll want to be prepared for it — or, well, as prepared as you can be. Sexpert Logan Levkoff tells us the best way to approach the birds and the bees.
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44: Lying to your kids
As long as you know the wrong and right way to do it, you're fine. Also, an innocent childhood prank never traumatized anyone — and makes for a killer story years later. And as Rebecca says before telling us the 10 white lies she tells her kids, There are some situations where a small lie can be a valid parenting choice: sometimes to spare childrens feelings, and sometimes just to get through the day.
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45: Wanting a big family
Is the idea of a big family outdated? It didnt make a difference to this mom. Sure, shes had to face the jokes (Dont you two know what that causes yet?) and the disrespect, but Katie calls having a large family the most satisfying work she's done.
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46: Wanting a small family
Shes going to be so spoiled, you know.
Dont you want another one to love?
Youre going to regret not doing it while you can.
Jeannes heard it all from those who find out she chose to only have one child. But for her and her husband, one kid was enough. And thats totally okay.
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47: Being frazzled in the morning
Sure, there are people who start their day in a symphony of bliss, but the rest of us are just trying to survive. To help with that, weve got 25 helpful products to save you time in the A.M. And since you probably dont have much time to put on your face either, weve got beauty tricks for moms on the go and a list of multi-tasking beauty products thatll help you get ready on the double (or triple!).
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48: Going in chlorinated pools while pregnant
Most healthcare professionals insist the benefits of swimming far outweigh the dangers from chlorine exposure. This mom loved swimming while pregnant; it made her happy and helped her sleep better. Meanwhile, this mom did a whole lot of things while pregnant that she wasnt supposed to do — and everything turned out fine.
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49: Watching TV while breastfeeding
As long as we're present some of the time, one episode of 30 Rock isn't going to hurt. Or, if you want to feel better about your TV watching, check out a little Modern Family. The show can actually teach you a thing or two about your own clan (like how to get baby to sleep through the night!).
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50: Crushing on a children's TV host
Don't feel bad. We think they're sexy too.
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