Something happens the moment you let the world know you are going to be a parent. Everyone has advise, insights, and cautionary tales to tell you. Even the least likely among us to give a flying fart about what others think are suddenly susceptible to give weight to this unsolicited advise. Maybe it’s the unparalleled hugeness of it all, or maybe it’s just the hormones blocking your ability to form your own objective thoughts. Who knows…
What I do know is that in the beginning of my parenting journey I listened (mostly) to what others had to say about pregnancy, birth, babies, and toddlers. I assumed (falsely) that if my experience was different that I must not be doing something right. What I realize now is there isn’t a “one size fits all” for parenting. Just because someone else finds something to be true for them does not mean that it will ring true for you. And that’s okay. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t still seek advise from others or share our experiences with others. Give advise, take advise; just take it all with a grain of salt.
Here are the top 5 inaccurate (for me anyway) parenting nuggets I was told. Maybe you can relate too.
1.) Breastfeeding comes naturally and it’s so easy. Um, false. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and once you are established it is pretty easy. But it can be very difficult in the beginning, not to mention painful. Did I mention painful? (Ouch!) Just because your body naturally produces milk does not mean you and your baby automatically possess the ability to be instant experts at it. There is a learning curve involved. And, sadly, you might find yourself bleeding from the nipples in the early days.
Good advise, luckily, did come in the form of encouragement from Second Rate Best Friend. In the early days when I was contemplating even continuing to breastfeed she advised that I see it through the first month before making the decision. Glad I listened to her. It did become natural and it did get easier.
*On a side note: Can we please just all agree to stop all of these ridiculously immature and ignorant online mommy wars on breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. Both ways are great and nourish your baby. Breastfeeding doesn’t make you more of a woman any more than formula feeding is going to poison your infant. What happened to respecting and supporting other’s decisions? Enough! Jeez. End rant.*
2.) Sleep when your baby sleeps. What the what?! Okay, maybe this works for some people, but it was not true for me. I love my sleep as much as the next sleep-deprived Mombie (mom-zombie), but this just wasn’t realistic for me. When my newborn was sleeping it was the only time I had to tend to the mountains of poop/pee/spit-up laundry, do dishes, prepare a meal, or take a not frequent enough shower. And when my second baby was born, her napping provided some much-needed one-on-one time with my oldest. This well-meaning advise just didn’t work for me.
3.) Your life is over once they start walking! Could not have been further from the truth for me! I felt so much more freedom once my littles hit the walking stage. That’s not to say that the walking stage didn’t come with a new set of challenges; just that I felt like it beat the hell out of crawling. Walking gave my poor aching back a break from always having to carry the baby around. It meant no more being grossed out by all the germs on the ground when they were forced to navigate the world on hands and knees. Walking brought with it a whole new world of awe and discovery.
4.) When they drop nap time, it messes up your whole schedule. This one is both true and false. My kids decided to drop nap time within weeks of each other shortly after turning 2 and 4 years old. It was rough at fist. I had grown to cherish the 90 minutes of peace and quiet nap time afforded me every day. Losing it sucked at first. But then I realized there were also benefits and some new freedoms to our napless days. No more stressing about rushing home from a play date or an errand to make it in time for a nap. Plus, once my girls dropped their naps they started going to bed a bit earlier in the evening with less bed time protests. What’s not to like about that?! So overall, this was one for the “tie” column for me.
5.) Going from 1 kid to 2 kids is so much easier than going from no kid to 1 kid. FALSE! At least, it was for us. I’ve heard split reactions to this one among friends. The transition from 1 to 2 kids rocked our world to the core. Me and Second Rate Husband admittedly aren’t the best at multi-tasking, and having multiple children is the ultimate form of multi-tasking. Add that to the feeling of suddenly being pulled in too many directions, and the insecurity I had about being able to equally divide my love and attention. Our first year as a family of 4 was definitely harder on us than our first year as parents. Again, I know that is not the case for everyone, but this was true for us.