We Didn’t Ask, Be Kind

A lot comes with being a new mom. Getting poo and spit up on your clothing, adjusting to a new sleep schedule, buying diapers instead of shoes, not being able to wash your hair more than once a week, if you’re lucky. So many things! But the worst thing of all is unwarranted advice. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to hear a few words of encouragement. But that’s all, encouragement.

When I was pregnant, so many people felt it was ok to tell me how to raise my own child. They even told me the “right” way to be pregnant! Don’t breastfeed her, don’t pick her up too often, don’t take her out often, only use so and so products, sleep as much as you can now, you won’t be able to later (what does that mean? Can I can sleep for 10 hours now and store it away for later use?). The pregnancy ones were pretty hilarious. I was once told I shouldn’t wear tight clothing, the baby can feel it (wasn’t she protected by a fluid filled sac?)

Now that she’s here, it’s only gotten worse. I still hear negative words about breastfeeding, I’ve been told I’m not feeding her enough, or dressing her warm enough, I’m buying the wrong brand onesies, I need to stop holding her so much. I can go on and on but those are the few that really get to me. 

Strangers or acquaintances are one thing but relatives are another. My parents are the biggest culprits when it comes to unwanted advice. I understand they are trying to help, but I feel they’ve crossed a few lines.

My parents don’t agree with my breastfeeding and they believe I’m doing the wrong thing. Every time my mom sees Anaís, she tells me I’m not feeding her enough, I shouldn’t feed her in public and that I’m depriving her. That’s not fair, do I not get to decide how I want to feed my daughter?

It doesn’t end there. My mom also complains that I don’t dress bubs warm enough, I’m not bathing her at the right time of the day or massaging her the “right” way.

My father just repeats the same sentence over and over, “you should listen to your mother, she knows what’s best.” I’m not going to lie, my mother has some great advice. However, sometimes she goes overboard and can tear you apart. It would be great if she was a little more encouraging and supportive instead of criticizing my every move. 

My parents aren’t the only ones. I have had a few friends who are moms as well, try to tell me how to raise my daughter. But what really, really gets to me is when someone tells me “you say that now because you don’t know any better, wait and see.”

What people don’t seem to realize is, if you speak to someone in that manner, especially a stressed, new parent, you’re going to push them away. The last thing we want in our lives is negativity and criticism. We beat ourselves up enough about whether or not we’re doing a great job.

I’m trying my very best. My daughter is a happy little thing and she’s healthy. 

Every mother has been in my shoes at one point and for every first child that is born, so will another mother. We know many of you are trying to help but we all have to start from somewhere. 

As a new mother I know there will be times that I am struggling or I am lost but we all want to learn on our own. I do. I want to be selfish and soak up as much of this as I can! Every mother has their own way of raising their little, you can tell because no two kids are alike. We all have our own ideas on how to raise our children. It’s not enjoyable to force your way of thinking on another individual. If a mother wants your help, she will ask. For the most part, we want to enjoy the adventure on our own and let our little teach us. Where’s the fun in someone telling you exactly what to do and how to do it?

To push past this issue I’ve developed a few of my own coping mechanisms. You can try them out for yourselves here.

My fellow mamas, if you have any person telling you how to raise your own child, stand up for yourself. It’s hard and it will take time for them to understand, but it will be worth it.

Be kind.

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