One of the great things about living as part of a society, is that people love to give advice. Once you are pregnant, the advice rolls in like a freight train, and once you actually birth your baby… well, it’s like being stuck on the highway in peak traffic. We all love to share with others the things that we believe in.
Which brings me to this
I get to share my parenting advice with you. The good news is, my advice is a one stop shop. One piece of advice will see you through many different scenarios in your life. It’s a one size fits all, designed to fit most occasions. Curious?
You are a unique individual, you have never existed on earth before (in this form, if you believe in reincarnation) and you will never exist on earth (in this form) again. Your baby is also unique, as is your husband. In fact, in all of earth, there is not one family unit that is like yours. Your family is as unique and individual as a snowflake. Keep this one truth in mind as you keep reading.
All the other advice, including parenting books, is not actually about *you*
Well, that is all written by other unique individuals. They write about the things that they believe in, that have worked for them, or the research they have looked at and interpreted in their own way. We all have a world view that affects how we look at things, what we believe in and how we understand the world around us. This uniqueness affects how we live.
Not all the advice will work
Some advice you hear may work, some advice may not. Some advice will be the right advice for you, and some you may regret following. Hindsight is always 20/20, it’s easy to look back and see what you should have done. It’s much harder to do that when you are in the situation itself (and it is ok to make mistakes and change your mind as you go along, life is not a straight
So what is my advice?
Listen to all the advice you are given (via friends, strangers, social media, web pages, medical staff, parenting books etc.). Listen to it with your heart. If in your heart you feel that this advice makes sense and may work for you, then follow it and see where it takes you. If in your heart you are asking, “what, really, I should try that?” – that is probably a good sign that the advice isn’t right for you. Parent with your heart and with love and you won’t go wrong. You have in you the ability to parent your children effectively. You know them best, you know your family dynamics best, and in your heart, you know
what will work best for your family.
How to respond to advice?
Simply smile, nod your head and say thank you. Let the person sharing with you know that you are glad that that worked for them, and then let it go. If you plan to follow the advice, excellent, if not, excellent. At the end of the day, this is your journey, and I encourage you to live your life according to you. It sounds so clichéd to say, live an authentic life, but is there any other kind? Be true to yourself, and your family and ignore those that are working to undermine you, even though their intentions might be good.
On a last note…
I have learned that parents make it up as they go along, hoping for the best. We just don’t like to admit it. The truth is, there are no guarantees in life that everything will work out fine. I sadly did not give birth to my children and a crystal ball to help me make the right decisions. My mom always used to say that she was surprised any of us made it to adulthood in one piece. I never understood why she would even doubt that we would, until I had my own children. What she was telling me is that she had no idea what she was doing, but she did a great job anyway, my siblings and I are all productive members of society who even get along.
And so, I have learned to be flexible, roll with the punches and not be afraid to make it up as I go along. I encourage you to do the same, and may your journey be as wild a ride as mine is turning out to be!