Long time no see, faithful readers. (Are you even still around? I’m a terrible, lazy blogger as of late…but don’t worry, I’ll fix it. Maybe. Someday.)
I am currently 32 1/2 weeks pregnant with our little Everett, and despite the 4 younger siblings and insane amounts of practice with infants and toddlers and babysitting, I’m doing what all first time mothers do- reading those stupid books, blogs, and Facebook groups that tell you the best way to parent. And guess what?
None of them say the same thing.
According to one source, if I have my son circumcised, I am a terrible mother. Another says it should be done because risks of infection, what happens when they’re elderly, etc.
If I choose to use spanking as discipline, I will mentally and emotionally destroy my child, he will come to hate and fear me, and it’s abuse. But if I don’t, I’m a millennial parent who doesn’t enforce rules, my child will walk all over me and be a spoiled, nasty brat who doesn’t respect authority or parameters.
“Aren’t you going to breastfeed?” Believe it or not, it’s been asked. By people who have no business knowing whether or not my boobs are used for sustenance. Don’t you dare say, “no, I’m not really sure I’m okay with the idea,” or even “I’m undecided” because you will be bombarded by other mothers on the benefits of breastmilk and why your child should nurse until they’re 2 years old, and how could you not even try? But also, don’t breastfeed past a year old because otherwise your life will suck and you can’t go anywhere without your child and they become spoiled. (Everything spoils children nowadays, have you noticed?) Don’t breastfeed in public, because that’s offensive. But don’t cover yourself either, even if it makes you more comfortable, because then you’re not “normalizing” breastfeeding.
Cry it out? How could you be so cruel? Cosleeping? That’s dangerous and you’re damaging your marriage. Put your child in their own nursery from day 1? You’re an awful parents who obviously hasn’t read up on SIDS. (Which honestly, I haven’t found a decisive reason/study as to why SIDS is decreased by baby sleeping in your room. Some say baby hearing you breathe helps regulate their breathing- but what about deaf babies? If anyone has a fantastic study, drop it in the comments.) Room share until they’re 1? Spoiled, again. And you’re lazy, because you don’t feel like walking to their room for midnight feedings.
Vaccinate? Oh, you must want your child to be autistic. (Vaccines don’t cause autism, but if you’re against vaccinating, cool. Just don’t use this excuse.) You don’t vaccinate? What a hippy. Please tell me about the rest of your conspiracy theories. Also, why do you hate your children? Do you want them to get measles and die? There’s no way to win here.
Do y’all see where I’m going with this? No matter what you decide when it comes to parenting- you’re wrong. Even if you do all your research and use your own experience to make the best decision you can for you- you’re still wrong. You could have multiple studies on why your way is probably the best way, you could be endorsed by award winning doctors, philosophers, mommy bloggers- and there will still be those who vehemently oppose your parenting approach.
So what’s a mom and dad to do?
Your own thing. Parenting is hard. That much, everyone can agree on. I think.
But as long as your child is healthy, safe, and happy- I think you’re doing okay. There are certain areas that aren’t and shouldn’t be a choice, like car seat safety or leaving them alone. However, you’ve got to make the tough decisions. Anyone and everyone could oppose you. I’m sure I’ll encounter a few of the “well, we did it this way when I was a kid and I turned out fine” people when we go home to visit. But guess what? My baby. My husband’s baby. Not yours, or your mama’s, or your great aunt Sue’s.
Rick and I get to make the decisions. We get to decide how we parent. We get to read the studies and do our research and use reputable, scientific sources to make a plan, that I’m sure Everett will laugh at and make us wonder “what now?”
So just a piece of advice and encouragement to all the other first time mothers who are sitting around going, “if I can’t do this or that, why can’t I do this? And how do I do that if I can’t do this?” Your baby, your rules. Your way. Make the best choices for you and yours, and then remember that the next mama might do the exact opposite, and that doesn’t make her wrong. Just means that something else works for her and her family.
Less than 8 weeks until his due date, and then the real hard stuff starts. Thanks for reading after my *ahem* hiatus.