People have opinions. It’s human nature. They start at an early age when your parent looks you up and down and says, “that is what you are wearing out of the house?” We’ve learned to listen, and sometimes even accept these opinions that are thrown at us on a daily basis.
Then we become parents. And the opinions start to run a muck.
All of a sudden everyone has an opinion on how you are raising your child. “Oh, he doesn’t sleep, you should do what I do.” “Have you thought about trying (insert anything and everything in here)?” “You know, you really shouldn’t give him that because…” And so on. You know what I’m talking about. We are all guilty of it. I know I am certainly no exception.
Sometimes the opinions are welcomed. Other times, it takes everything to not make a snarky reply. Most of the time, people are trying to genuinely help you. It just doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes it feels like judgement. Yes, I allow my child to have a taste of a cookie when I eat it, so what?
I remember in the early months of Aedan’s life and my new role as a mother, I was very sensitive to these opinions. I felt like I was constantly being watched and judged on how I was doing something (changing diapers, giving a bath, etc). I wanted to be the parent and figure out how to get it right. Any advice was unwanted advice. Looking back, I realize that part of it was likely the hormones but I also think it is important to recognize that a new mom is also judging herself. So she just doesn’t want to hear how you did it with your child and how they turned out okay.
What’s my point?
If you are a mother and you are talking to a new mother (really any other mother), try to remember what it feels like to have the biggest responsibility of your life and be new at it. Try not to give advice unless asked for it. Be supportive but not judgmental. People parent differently. You may not choose to give your child non-organic fruit but not everyone sees that as the biggest threat in their child’s life. It’s okay to not do things the same. How boring would people be if we were all raised the same? Most of us turn out alright.
So try to hold back and let her be the mother she wants to be.