LALALALA WE CAN’T HEAR YOU

When parenting feels like gym class.

When parenting feels like gym class.

It’s rough out there. From the minute you start to show, to the day your child moves out (or maybe longer – we don’t know, we’re not there yet), we’re bombarded. There is a seemingly endless onslaught of parenting advice, opinions and tips.

Before the baby comes:

They say: You can’t eat that! You’re pregnant! No deli meats. no runny eggs, no coffee. No wait, eat what you want in moderation, just not fish. No wait, do eat some fish so your baby’s brain develops properly but not this kind. Don’t ever have a single sip of alcohol. Aw, c’mon one little mimosa isn’t going to kill you!

And we think: Oh God, am I a terrible parent?

They say: Unmedicated birth is best. Don’t be a hero – get the epidural. Have a home birth. Have a hospital birth. Make a birth plan. No, don’t do that, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

And we think: Oh God, am I a terrible parent?

After the baby comes:

They say: Your baby eats how many times a day?! You should feed on a schedule. But wait, you should feed on demand! You should breastfeed. Pump. Give formula. ONLY use this super expensive bottle. NEVER use a bottle! Don’t give a soother. Do give a soother, are you crazy?

And we think: Oh God, am I a terrible parent?

They say: The baby sleeps where? You’re not going outside with the baby dressed like that are you? Don’t pick her up. Don’t ever put him down. Here, let me show you the right way to hold/swaddle/feed/dress your baby.

And we think: Oh God, am I a terrible parent?

It can feel like we’re doing it wrong. Everything. Every. Damn. Thing.

Am I wrecking my kids forever? Probably. I dunno.

Am I wrecking my kids forever? Probably. I dunno.

The good news is that with time, our babies and our confidence grow. And though the bombardment continues, we get better at dodging it and tuning in to our own instincts.

Then we have a bad day. Or a bad week. Or a second kid. And all of a sudden, those outside voices get a lot louder and we start to ask ourselves again, “Oh God, am I a terrible parent?”

Short answer: No. We are NOT terrible parents. Growing and raising kids isn’t easy. Hard times do happen, but they’re temporary. So, when the how-to’s and what-to-do’s and what-never-to-do’s start coming hard and fast, it’s time to cover our ears and say, “LALALALA, WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

What I'm doing in my head when unsolicited advice is happening.

This technique works great.

The world outside is loud and full of opinions. The world inside is fragile and sometimes insecure. But at the end of the day, we are the ones who carry our babies. We are the ones who birth them. We are the ones who watch them grow. And we are the only ones who can really know what works for us and for our families. This year. This day. This minute.

Our inner voices are full of wisdom and good instincts. We just need to keep listening.

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