When I was pregnant I wanted so badly to be a great mother that I researched everything I could and soaked up all of the parenting advice I got from friends and family. Despite my best efforts, I still felt very confused and could feel myself filling with anxiety about my upcoming bundle of joy.
In one example, towards the end of my pregnancy, I knew that we had family making the long trip out to see our new baby. I wanted to take them around the tourist sites as I knew it might be their only visit to the Pacific Northwest, but I wasn’t sure how old a baby should be before we left the house, especially in winter. I tried asking friends and family, but no one seemed to have an answer that would ease my anxiety.
During one of my appointments with my midwife I voiced these concerns to her, and she gave me the best parenting advice I’ve ever heard.
“While we have to change our lives and homes to accommodate the additions to our family, the new baby needs to “learn” to become a part of the family too.”
Before you start yelling at me that a newborn doesn’t need to learn anything, let me explain what I mean! Every family has their own culture, priorities and lifestyle; these things don’t go away when a baby is born. In fact, the more you can incorporate them at a young age the better.
To our family, travel is important. So as long as we made sure he was warm and safe, there was no reason to avoid getting out of the house as soon as we felt ready. Now, at 3 months old, he’s very content for car rides, getting in and out of the stroller, and loves to go around looking at new things!
Maybe to your family it’s hiking. Then bundle them up, put them in a stroller or wear them and get out there and hike those mountains! Do you run 5k’s? Take them with on the next one. Play video games? Let them play with a controller and “join in”. Whatever it is, there’s usually some way you can incorporate them into it.
While I still do my research to make sure I’m doing things in a safe or appropriate way, it’s helped me to let go of the guilt and anxiety that would come from trying to figure out the “best” way to do things.
What’s important is that there is no “best” way to do things, there are multiple best ways.
As children become such a large part of your family, parenting decisions can become a part of your family’s culture too: cosleeping, crying-it-out, baby wearing, BLW, discipline methods, etc. Remember that the next time you see someone parenting in a way that you wouldn’t.
That’s their family’s culture: just because you do things differently doesn’t mean either of you are wrong. You might not agree with what I do, but that’s OK. It works for me and my family and that’s what’s important.
If you found my favorite parenting advice helpful, please share with those new or struggling parents in your life!
If you’d like to read some of our other parenting posts, check out some of my favorites:
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