A little more unusual advice every mother has to hear
If you are a mom, you have probably heard tons and tons of advice. That's why I thought I would give you MORE ADVICE.
No, seriously... I know that asking for advice from others is a kind of a dilemma. On the one hand, you are longing for some answers. But, on the other hand, you don't really want any advice because it's also somehow freaking annoying. And, of course, there is and always will be the famous unsolicited advice no one asked for.
Giving and receiving parenting advice is a complicated thing. That's why I thought, why not bother other moms out there with my advice no one asked for (P.S. there is also advice about handling advice, so you might want to keep reading).
My advice is pretty unique and may not be the typical advice you will usually read or hear. So let's dig in.
1. Don't take every advice
Here is my very first piece of great advice: You don't need to take any advice. Not even this one.
Sometimes it feels as if everyone around you has figured out motherhood besides you. The advice keeps coming. It starts with sleep and ends with independent play.
But ultimately, you don't have to take advice from anybody. You can listen to it, think about it but what you do with that advice is entirely up to you. It's okay to disagree if you sense or know that particular advice does not work for you.
2. Don't just ask anybody for advice
Asking for advice can be tricky. Sometimes we struggle with something and want to get it off our chest, and we end up asking everyone for advice.
When I became a new mom, I was super insecure. And I asked everyone for advice about everything. But over time, I learned one important thing:
Advice is always personal.
You need to learn to distinguish who you can ask for specific advice and who you can't. Everyone will give you advice based on their personal experience. One mom will tell you to never let your baby sleep in your arms, and another will tell you to enjoy the snuggles. Both have probably very different experiences.
If you want to avoid getting advice that leaves you more confused or annoyed, you should always consider if they are the right person to ask for advice about a specific topic.
3. Sometimes it's better to ask strangers or the internet
To be honest, I don't often ask friends or family for advice anymore. You get to know their parenting styles, which sometimes do not align with yours.
So, sometimes I just prefer to ask google rather than another mom friend. It is not that I don't trust them or don't want to hear their advice.
It is sometimes just easier to get a second opinion from a stranger on the internet than a person you know.
4. Don't believe everything
You will meet them over and over again. The super-chill parent with the perfect child. Apparently, bragging doesn't stop when people become parents, it may just be more subtle.
I had parents praising how independent their child was playing while my toddler interrupted us every 2 minutes, calling for me.
I had parents tell me how their child ate everything while I had the picky eater.
I had parents tell me to enjoy every minute because time flies by so fast.
They picture themselves, their kids, and their whole family life as perfect. But believe me, no family is perfect, no parent is perfect, and no child is perfect. They are just perfect at telling stories.
There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. - Jill Churchill
Because well, I saw the same parents with their kids having super tantrums, screaming, and throwing things. I saw the super-chill mom run after their child, screaming and annoyed. I saw it in the eyes of the mom, who told me to enjoy every second that she desperately needed a break.
Don't look at other families and their apparently perfect lives. There is no such thing. And when someone tries to sell you their story, just nod "yeah yeah...".
5. Don't feel guilty because of exceptions or shortcuts
Sometimes parenthood is all about surviving. Yes, it sounds dramatic, but that's what it is. And sometimes, you need shortcuts and exceptions to get through the day.
Don't be hard on yourself for NOT slicing fruit every time you go out. Let go of the guilt if you give your toddler the tablet to get a minute of peace. Don't feel bad about having your little one sleep in the stroller.
I can tell you that I surely have bribed my kids with chocolate and toys. I gave them my phone to have a minute of peace. I let them sleep in my bed.
I have exceptions. Sometimes more, sometimes less. And I don't feel bad about them for one second. Because I know they are exceptions, and they can help me get through a tough day.
6. Pick your battles
This is one of the best advice I have ever received. Children, especially young ones, have their very own ideas on how to live their lives.
I think deep down, we sometimes try to control things only for the sake of controlling things. I mean, we lost so much control of our life since becoming parents, you may have an urge to get some back.
You can argue with a toddler about everything - socks, wrongly sliced fruit and the way you simply exist. But the question is, is it really worth it?
Or sometimes we are just annoyed with the kids, and suddenly everything becomes a "no".
But trying to control everything will make your life more complicated and stressful. Before you start arguing with your child or telling them no, ask yourself if it is really worth it.
Obviously, there have to be ground rules, but all the other times, ask yourself if there is a real VALID reason to battle a 2-year-old.
7. Get some serious alone time
"How come you're out? Who is looking after the kids?"
Well, it is definitely not me.
As a new mother, I was suffering from mom guilt so hard that I had such a hard time letting someone else besides me watch my kid. I even felt guilty when dad took over.
Only over time, I understood how important time without the kids really is.
I am convinced that every parent has to get their alone time to stay SANE. I mean it.
Even if it is just half an hour every day. Even if you just had a newborn baby. You can do this. You need this.
Remember, you are not giving the baby to a stranger or staying away for the night.
Time away from the kids is crucial for your mental health.
8. Ditch the guilt about your partner
I appreciate everything my husband does for my kids and me. I know his work is very stressful, and he contributes so much to this life with a roof over our heads and food on our table.
With that said, I always felt guilty when he took over chores or watched the kids. I grew up in a still quite conservative family structure, so I never really learned that having your husband help out with kids and the house is actually something...normal and okay.
The truth is that both he and I are working. We are just doing different jobs. I am a working mother who works half the day for her business, and the other half takes care of the kids. He is employed as a consultant at a firm. We both have jobs that should be appreciated.
I never understood why his work should end in the evening while mine continues. For me, it doesn't make sense.
I think everyone has to figure out how much they want their partner to take over. That is a very personal matter and unique to every family.
But what I do know is that you certainly don't have to feel guilty if your partner is taking care of his own children. He is their father, and it is his responsibility to take care of them as well.
9. Don't overthink
Motherhood comes with all kinds of feelings and emotions. And sometimes, this leads to overthinking.
Overthinking about whether or not we are doing enough. Overthinking what the kids should wear and what we should do in the afternoon. Overthinking how to get the kids to take a nap.
There is so much overthinking going on that it can drown you.
Every thought you have during the day makes you mentally a little bit weaker. So you need to drop all those unnecessary thoughts. Only think about things you can and really need to control.
Practice thinking less. Practice controlling your thoughts. It's possible and will decrease your mental load enormously.
10. Drop the anxiety in public places
The first few months after having my new baby, I had so much anxiety about going out with her. She was a very sensitive baby and would cry more often or sometimes get fussy very suddenly. And I felt uncomfortable being left alone in the supermarket with a crying baby.
Today I can tell you that I left the supermarket with two crying toddlers under my arms and people staring at me. And I don't care anymore.
People seem to expect so many things from young children and even babies. A crying baby? Impossible! A toddler that can't sit still? The audacity.
Society expects children to behave perfectly all the time, more like adults than like kids. My kids behave well, but they also have their fair share of tantrums outside. Do people look at us? Hell, yes. But I couldn't care less what people think, and neither should you.
Don't feel sorry or even apologize for your kids being kids. With all the hard work you're putting in, you deserve much more than feeling anxious about a baby crying in public.
11. Own it when you had a bad day
As a parent, you will have the best time of your life. But you will also have some of the worst days of your life.
There is not much you can do about them then to own them.
Maybe today, you were not the parent you thrive on being, and you go to bed with a feeling of guilt and shame. Been there, done that.
I had a shit day. But it's over and I will let go of it.
But every new day gives you the opportunity to start over. Every day is a fresh start. Instead of dwelling on a bad day, close that chapter and strive for improvement for the next day.
Start every day with new energy, new hope, and optimism, and leave those bad days behind you.