Parenting Advice I Wish I Listened To
Once you start telling people you are expecting, the advice inevitably starts rolling in. From your mother and likely mother in law who have loads of opinions on the way things were done “back in the day” to new age parents who have read all the parenting websites, there’s no shortage of people with opinions on how best to raise children. While it’s true that advice-givers are (mostly) well-meaning, the unsolicited comments can quickly become overwhelming.
“There are so many articles and mommy blogs that say ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t use that,’” says Mallori Allen, of Frisco, Texas, who has an 18 month old and is currently pregnant with twins. “But when something works for me I just don’t listen to them. It’s your child and your sanity to get through the rough parts and milestones!”
Mallori’s sentiment will likely ring true for many new parents, who often hear the advice “trust your gut,” on repeat during the first few years of their baby’s life. Although it sounds cliché, it is likely one of the most important pieces of advice you’ll get as a new parent because truly no one knows your baby like you do.
We asked our Wingmoms which pieces of advice they received that they actually wished they had listened to. Here’s what they had to say.
Five Pieces of Parenting Advice That You Will Actually Use
- You should sleep when the baby sleeps. That may sound counterintuitive. When the baby sleeps, you will want to do dishes and take a shower or write thank you notes or do any one of the other million things likely crowding your to-do list. But those first few weeks and months with a new baby are exhausting and all-consuming. The dishes, the thank you notes—even the shower—can wait. You should sleep as much as you are able.
- If someone offers to help, take it! You may think you’ve got it all under control. You’ve stocked the freezer with meals, you’ve washed and dried all the baby clothes, you’ve lined up bottles and breast pumps and have them ready to go. You may think you don’t need help. But take the help. Whether it is someone offering to bring you dinner after the baby arrives or an offer to do your dishes/vacuum the floors/hold your baby while you shower, say yes. They offered.
- They won’t go college with a pacifier. Or in diapers, for that matter. There is such an instinct, in the parenting world, to compare. Friends might comment about how early their babies walked or how quickly their toddlers potty-trained. But truly, raising babies isn’t a competition. Your child will ditch the paci when they are ready. They’ll potty train when they are ready. Let go of your timeline and embrace the chaos.
- Step away from Google. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to hear that your child is growing at a good rate or that your baby’s fever is likely caused by a simple virus that will run its course. But Google is also great for stressing you out, making you feel inadequate and a variety of other emotions you don’t need. Sometimes you simply need to step away from Google.
- When you travel with your baby or kids, it’s not a vacation. It’s just work in a different location! It’s only a vacation if you leave the kids with the grandparents (and spend the entire vacation worrying about them). Adjust your getaway expectations when kids are involved and you’ll have a much better time on family vacation.
It can help to remember, when you feel frustrated and tired by how exhausting raising kids can be, that most people are just winging it. As crazy as life with littles can feel, it’s simply one season of many in your life. Lee Chastain, a father of two in Arlington, Texas, offered this piece of advice that he holds close to his heart: “You have 18 summers with your newborn child… Spend those 18 intervals wisely.”
Perhaps the most accurate, and bittersweet, piece of advice that you will receive, though, is this: the days are long but the years are short. When you have little ones and life is all about sippy cups and nap times and dirty diapers, life may seem a little out of control. But the days will pass and the babies will grow. Embrace the chaos of raising babies and you’ll knock parenting out of the park.