July 31, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

I dislike unsolicited advice. I cringe when someone gives me advice on how to take care of my child when I don't remember asking for it. I think we can all agree, unsolicited advice is annoying. Therefore, I will brief you that you may not want to read this post. Why? Because I'm going to give out free unsolicited advice. ;)

There are some things that I have finally uncovered in the last 9 months being a mom for the first time, that I never knew before and wish I had known prior to pulling all my hair out.

Here are tips that I find to be most valuable for new moms or mom-to-bes.
  1. Do not "google" every problem or question you have. This may seem like the obvious thing to do because in our day and time, that's what we all do. How do you make dinner from scratch? Google it. What year was our president born? Google it. My child has been _____, what does it mean? DO NOT GOOGLE IT. I made the mistake of googling every single thing that happened that seemed out of the norm for Noelle in the beginning and I was overwhelmed with 500 different responses, opinions and stories ranging from nothing to terror. Finally I learned to either ask one trusted friend or family member, or one trusted pediatrician. Even asking different pediatricians yield different answers, which is confusing, so go with one person that you feel gets your child. 
  2. Put the parenting books away. As many people know from reading my blog, I read a lot. Being pregnant was no exception. I read at least 6 books on pregnancy, although who knows why. I read "What to Expect When You are Expecting," "Mayo Clinic Pregnancy," "My Pregnancy Week to Week," "The Everything Book about Pregnancy, and some other books on childbirth as well as hypnobirthing. I was psychotic. I wanted to know everything about everything. I wanted to know every single outcome that I could have, every little symptom I could experience, so on and so on. So naturally when Noelle came I had at least 5 books on her first year and how to raise a baby. Here we are, 9 months later and I haven't read one dang book. Not even a chapter. This is similar to the google advice, too much information is just that, too much information. I've found it easier to just take care of Noelle with my maternal instincts, and the ones I lack, I just ask for help from people that I trust.
  3. If something doesn't work out, don't dwell, and just move on. This can apply to many things but for me it mostly relates to breastfeeding. I wanted to nurse for a year. That was my goal and plan. I wanted that bonding experience so badly as well as the convenience and money saving aspects of it. Well, it didn't happen. Noelle wouldn't latch on from birth and then I was thrown into a world of pumping every 2 hours around the clock to make not even enough milk. It was so depressing. I felt like a failure and was constantly guilty, plus I was so tired, and I was loosing tons of bonding time with Noelle. Instead of holding her and watching her sleep like I wanted to, I was in a room by myself pumping. Always the pumping. And since I never seemed to produce more, (even with taking fenugreek, drinking tons of water, etc. all the things people tell you to do) every drop that was spilled was a tragedy. I remember vividly spilling a whole bottle and crying. I made myself do this and be depressed and exhausted for one month before throwing the towel in. I don't have anything against breastfeeding. I wanted to do it. I wish I could have done it. But I couldn't, and I didn't. And that's that. I wish that I had known then what I know now; That it's not the end of the world, I still am a good mother, and my baby is healthy and growing even if on formula. I wish I hadn't let lactation consultants and nurses who didn't know me at the hospital make me feel terrible about not being able to get my baby to latch on, and I wish I could have the time back that I spent in that room pumping by myself when I could have been enjoying my daughter, and I wish I could have back that sleep I missed during the only days that Noelle ever slept peacefully before her colic started. I know so much better now. Next time, I will try to breastfeed again, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work and that's okay.
  4. You're not a bad mom. Every family, every baby, every mother, and every situation is different so there's really no wrong as long as your baby is happy, healthy and safe. Some people co sleep with their kids, some of them put a baby in a separate room from the beginning, some people let their kids cry, some would never let their kids cry. The list goes on and on, and it's fine because there's nothing wrong with what you are doing as long as your kid is again, I repeat, happy, healthy and safe. A lot of the unsolicited advice that I got and resented was when people would tell me what I was doing was wrong, or they would tell me how they did it, or how it should be done. There's no wrong, and you're not a bad mom if you do it differently. If I had believed that from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary guilt and heartache.
  5. Kids get sick and hurt. This is obvious but as a first time mom, or parent, it's hard to handle when your child is ill or falls and hits their head. The first time your child gets sick you end up freaking out and swearing at yourself for not sanitizing every single thing that goes in their mouth, or when they face plant on the floor you blame yourself for not being next to them 24/7 and cry with them. It's rather ridiculous really. Because as they get older you realize everyone is bound to get sick or hurt. It happens, they are going to survive. The day things got easier for me was the day I realized I wasn't the worst mom in the whole world when Noelle fell and scraped her face, because frankly if the amount of times that she gets hurt reflects how I am as a mother than I'm seriously out of luck! She's going to fall, she's going to bump her head, she's going to eat dirt, she's going to catch colds and flus. It's okay. Life goes on.
  6. You need breaks, frequently. I'm a guilt ridden person by nature. I feel guilty about everything all the time. I go on Facebook while my child entertains herself for 10 minutes...guilt! I watch something on TV of my choosing, not hers...guilt! I leave her one hour to go get a bite to eat with a girlfriend...guilt! I finally realized in order to stay sane I need my own time. I need to do things that I liked to do before Noelle was born and I need to make time for them. I used to feel bad if I didn't spend every moment with her, or if I didn't give her my whole undivided attention. I realized soon enough that she's not going to forget me or resent me if I take a break here or there. Now I make plans without her or Joey and have my own time, or I let her watch some Baby Einstein DVDs so I can catch up on emails and eat my lunch in peace. 
  7. If someone offers you help, don't question it, just take it. Enough of the "Oh are you sure??" or "Really?? You can??" or "Oh no...I couldn't ask you to do that..." Just say "HECK YES!" and take all the help you can get! This is self explanatory. I don't think I need to go into further depth. 
  8. Everything is okay. Or it will be okay. Trust yourself.
Okay. That is all for now. I just thought I'd be one of those annoying people who give out unasked for advice because sometimes, it's what you don't ask for that you need the most. 

1 comment:

  1. Love. It. All. Especially putting down the parenting books. I was te same way when I was preggo with Elliot, until shit hit the fan. That's when I knew to quit. Thank you for your unsolicited advice. It was SO TRUE.

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