I'm passionate about philosophy, but after having my girls I'm even more passionate about Mommy Matters

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Please Stop Telling Me What To Do

     

     Being a new mother is difficult for many obvious reasons and at the beginning, especially the first couple of days home from the hospital, I felt as though I needed all of the help I could get. However, my instincts kicked in fairly quickly and I began to realize that despite the advice I continued to get, I knew best for Squeaker. Now Squeaker is almost 11 weeks old and I'm starting to get annoyed because no one, except my husband, knows her as well as I do. It seems that many people are trying to be helpful by continuing to tell me what to do even though every baby is different and no one has been around her as much as I have. 
     I hope that no one is deeply offended by this post, although if someone is then he/she probably takes himself/herself too seriously and shouldn't be so easily offended. (Yes, this statement was meant to be ironic) 
     Don't get me wrong, if I start to feed my baby honey (which I won't do because I know I'm not supposed to) then please tell me that I am in the wrong, I don't want to inadvertently harm Squeaker. Otherwise, is it really important to be so nit picky? I feel like in this day and age there are people worried and stressed about everything, including things that a baby might actually be helped by having. For instance, there seems to be a lot of buzz among mothers on the web that say babies shouldn't wear sunscreen before the age of 6 months old... obviously young babies shouldn't be exposed to prolonged time in direct sunlight, but it seems better to be cautious and use a little sunscreen (especially if a hat or other barrier isn't being used). My pediatrician agrees and says to simply make sure that sunscreen doesn't get into Squeaker's eyes or on her hands (so that she won't eat it). Anyway, it's overexaderated worries and things of this kind that make me wish that people would just let me be me. I'm the mom, right? 
     I appreciate family and all they do for us. Sometimes I feel like they do try to take over though, ignoring the fact that I am the parent now. I think it's hard for parents to see thier children grow up and have children of their own. I wonder if I will be the same way with Squeaker when she has her first baby. Will I correct her and try to take over? Will I try to be the mother when I actually should be the grandmother? In the end, it seems, that my number one priority would still be to Squeaker and her first responsibility would be to her baby. I love you mom and I know that I will always be your number one priority. Thank you for always being there for me and trying to make my life easier. I am grateful everything you have done for me, namely I am grateful for how you raised me, and I know that I will be a good mother because of you. 
     This post is not meant to point fingers or accuse, I just have been feeling frustrated at the world because I want to be a good mother to Squeaker. The world (media, the web, books, school, work, society, facebook, family, friends, etc.) then takes that desire and constantly tries to tell me, as well as every other mother, how to be that good mother despite the fact that I might know better than them. The age-old request of parents to get a manual when their child is born seems to have gone overboard. There are too many manuals out there now, too many opinions made by hundreds of thousands of parents and sharing what has worked for them. I am going to be a different mother than any other who has ever lived and loved her children, becuase we are all different. That is what makes life so amazing. Let me be that unique mother to Squeaker. 
     So, in brief, this is a request for all the world to please stop telling me what to do. For those of you who are trying to be helpful and for those of you who just like to control things, I promise to ask when I want advice or help. I am not pretending to know everything, I just want to be able to be the mother I know I am inside without others trying to force their parenting ideology to me. 

5 comments:

  1. hey :) you ARE the mom! I love this post. Mine... at 12, 14, 16, and 18...not much has changed. ...people are STILL trying to tell me what to do, what not to do...what I have done wrong and should have done, could have done....and to add to that I have 4 experts...they are 12, 14, 16 and 18....also telling me what to do!!!! Still, LOVE motherhood. B E S T job E V E R!!!

    ps: Lydia is adorable....and you are a perfect expert for her! Keep doing what YOU are doing...that is my only advice ;)

    s. lawrence

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  2. Good post! I agree that the mom (and dad) should be the ones who parent. On the other hand, I love hearing about what things some moms do versus others and reading all sorts of books on parenting. My view is to read a lot of books/listen to people's advice and then take out from that what is best for you and your child and then also go off instinct. Not everything books or people say is good for your (not you specifically, just in general) family, but on the other hand a lot of ideas are great! I know I would not be half as good a parent if I had not read all the books and listened to all the advice because some of it was desperately needed. I knew nothing about scheduling, breast feeding, eating, etc. until after I read some books, talked to other moms and my own mom. I do not condone the whole "you should do this or that" or "you are doing everything wrong" statements that people say to moms, but other people's experiences and suggestions in books can be very helpful, at least they were/are for me. I ask my mom for advice all the time and it is nice that she does not give me advice unless I ask. :) Moms/Dads should make all of the decisions about parenting, etc., but based on good advice, knowledge and instinct. I just know that I could/can not do it without outside help and advice, because I essentially know nothing about parenting (I know a little now) and I do a lot of what my mom did. Yes, you learn a lot along the way (and you need to), but anything to make the ride smoother is great. Do you agree, disagree?

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    1. I agree and definitely have found other people, as well as books, very helpful. However, I think that I've had to use my own intuitions and skills to decide what applies to us and what doesn't. For instance, Baby Wise was a serious life saver for me, but I also didn't feel like Lydia was thriving on trying to strictly obey the advice in it. I had to take the general concepts and apply them to us the best way I knew how and it is the same thing with advice from other people and the internet. Some of it applies well and other parts I have to just throw out the window or it will cause me extra stress. I started wondering why I didn't feel the same way as some other mothers or why Lydia isn't reacting the same way as other babies. I felt like I couldn't take Lydia outside at all because she could get skin cancer or RSV or some other terrible disease. One book I own, What to Expect the First Year, says that it is best to not take your child out during the times of 10am-4pm because the sun is at its hottest and most damaging during those times (it can cause dehydration and other issues with babies). I just can't bubble myself and Lydia that way, I have to pay attention to Lydia and how she is doing, then make the decision for us. I agree that these tools are really helpful and I would be lost without some of them, but there are just some things that aren't important and don't apply to everyone. You know?

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    2. Completely! I do the same thing, read/listen/etc. and then figure out what is best for us from that. Oh, and we are outside all the time from 10-4 :).

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  3. Oh, and those pictures of Lydia are adorable!!!

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