Learning the Rules of Parenting

June 6, 2017

Last week at the dentist, the hygienist was asking about my baby boy. I love talking about him because I think he’s amazing, but I was keeping my answers short and sweet – I wanted to get down to teeth cleaning business.

Trying to have a conversation while having my teeth cleaned is on my current top 10 list of least favorite things.

Luckily, she was loving sharing about her 6-month old grandson. Kids are cool and a lot of fun to talk about. We all have these baby geniuses who are absolutely amazing 🙂 I get it.

She said something though that really struck me – parents these days have so many rules. She was explaining that she didn’t want to watch her grandson at first because of all the rules, worrying that she’d do something wrong. She went on to talk about how different things used to be and how she just doesn’t agree with some of the rules today.

I have heard this sooooooo many times – it too is on my current top 10 list of least favorite things.

I just sat  there and let her do her teeth cleaning thing, but I actually had A LOT I wanted to say. Yes, the rules of the game are a little different – thanks to all the lessons learned – but why, instead of learning the new rules, do so many people want to take themselves out of the game?

I still consider myself a very new mom – 16 months in and I still don’t actually know what I’m doing. There is so much to learn, so many choices to make, and as soon as I think we’ve got something down – everything changes.

On top of that, everyone seems to have an opinion about everything. I’m not kidding you. From the grocery store clerk to my mother- in- law  and everyone in between, there is no shortage of someone having something to say.

Maybe I’m a little sensitive on this topic, but I want to stick up for myself and all the other new moms out there. This first time parent gig is hard and pretty scary.  We’re responsible for a tiny human who we absolutely adore and are surrounded by really intense information all of the time.

There is so much pressure to teach and to protect and to nourish IN THE RIGHT WAY. This makes it  hard to hear your own inner voice telling you what that means.

I stopped participating in some of the “mom support groups” early on because it was too much listening to all the things these moms were doing in an effort to be good moms. Plus, I knew that these things just weren’t’ me.

I remember time and time again moms talking about the intense things they were doing in order to nurse their kiddos exclusively. Power pumping and being exhausted only to ultimately donate their extra breastmilk that they had stored.

So much crazy making work which was making a tough transition even harder. It really highlights that we’re all trying to learn and follow all the new rules too. It’s intense and it kind of feels like there is someone lurking behind every corner waiting to judge us or tell us that we’re crazy or doing it wrong or effing up somehow.

We need to stack our team with people who have done this before, who can show us lots of love, empathy and understanding AND who will help us to find our way. Our intuition is there, but our voice is constantly being challenged. We need supportive people who help us feel confident in who we are and how we’re doing this mom thing.

This is not a competition. It’s not about who is right or who is wrong. It’s about figuring out how to be the best moms we can be, and the only way to do that is with a lot of TLC.

Emily xox

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