Jun 14, 2013

One Year Later: My Favorite Wisdom

It’s Oliver’s birthday this week, so we’re deviating from our regular house-oriented posts with some baby-oriented things we’ve learned over the past year.

Last but not least, here is my favorite parenting wisdom that I’ve heard this year. Some of this is easier to master than others... a lot of this I’m still working on! But it’s definitely my favorite advice, given to me and now passed on to you.

You are the parent. Listen to your gut. Listen to your doctor. Consult with your spouse. Outside of that trifecta, ignore everyone else who has a negative opinion. Avoid the internet.

Patience. Kids develop at their own pace and milestones shouldn’t be rushed. And we shouldn’t worry. Not all babies sleep through the night at 2 months. Not all babies crawl. Walking at 8 months won’t make their baby an Olympic athlete. Early talking doesn’t make them a genius. Mastering the shape sorter doesn’t mean Ivy League. Of course as parents we think that EVERYTHING our kid does is AMAZING and SUPERIOR (my kid figured out how to use a straw right away! Yale here we come!), but the sense of competition and all this milestone measuring is out of control. And when our kids don’t hit a mark it’s too easy to worry and panic and freak out inside. There is such a thing as too much information. Do not sign up for baby center’s weekly email updates.

Remember you were once a person with a life and interests beyond your kid(s). Try not to lose yourself completely in your new mommy identity. Yes it’s awesome, amazing and all-consuming... but it also makes us dull. We waste too much energy either bragging about our little one’s “achievements” and how intelligent they are or waste too much energy worrying about where on the spectrum they fall. I catch myself talking way too much about Oliver all the time. What happened?! I used to have other interests! So instead of late night internet research about rare childhood diseases, child rearing techniques, games to make your kid smarter, at home exercises to make them crawl sooner... let’s take a step back. Read a book for book club. Watch that summer blockbuster you meant to see last summer. Flip through that summer cocktails cookbook gathering dust. Finally pick the new color of your master bathroom. Or maybe even, you know, hire a sitter and actually GO OUT. (And while out, don’t call the house a hundred times or only talk about the baby.)

Respect each other. Don’t validate our parenting choices by forcing them on other people or go on the offensive against those who do something different. It’s surprisingly easy to do when we feel like we have to justify every little thing. The internet is especially rampant with judgement. Why do topics like working-moms vs. stay-at-home-moms, breastfeeding, discipline and everything else parenting related have to be so controversial? What works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for someone else’s. It’s okay to be different. We have to remember that everyone is trying their best. We need to support each other, without judgement. All moms are doing the best they can, everyone wants the best for their children and no mother needs an additional dose of mommy-guilt - we’re too good at beating ourselves up already.

It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to not be perfect because there’s no such thing. Our babies don’t need perfect parents anyways, they just need us. We need to relax and let go of the mom-guilt (I’m still working on it...). At some point the baby will roll off the couch when you aren’t looking, or climb out of their crib and land on their head, or take an ugly spill while learning to walk and you’re too far away to catch them. They are surprisingly resilient. You might send in spoiled milk to daycare or forget the sunscreen. Dress them inappropriately for the weather. Lose the expensive pair of toddler shoes at the grocery store. Accidentally leave the diaper bag at home when they have a blowout. So what if their dinner ended up being a fruit and cheese plate after a long day? We can do the salmon, quinoa and sauteed spinach tomorrow when my conference call doesn’t run over. It’s going to be okay.

It really is going to be okay. Everything will work itself out. They just need love and they just need us. That’s what really matters. If we love them and support them, if we are there for them, they will be alright. All the other details fade away.


  1. Love this - all so true. I would add "Stop worrying" and "Forgive yourself" to the list!

  2. Really love this. Think I might print it out and put it on my fridge - IT REALLY IS GOING TO BE OKAY! AMEN.