As soon as Greg and I announced that we were pregnant, the advice started rolling in from well-meaning family members and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the wisdom people give to us since we’re new to this whole parenting thing, but some of it was just annoying because you can only hear, “You should…” and “Do this…” so many times before you want to pull your hair out.
“You should breastfeed.” “Zoey? What do you think about Chloe? I like that one better.” “You should use this and not that….”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (I’m sure), one of the great things about being new parents is that the whole experience is a learning process. Let us make our own mistakes and learn from them.
Here’s the thing–neither Greg nor I thought we’d have kids before we met each other. And really, we were okay with that. Then we met, fell in love and started talking about the idea of maybe bringing a little bit of him and a little bit of me into the world. We decided to not exactly TRY for a baby (because that meant keeping close tabs on ovulation dates and all that crap), but just leave it up to God and see what happens. Then came Zoey, our amazing little girl.
And then came the distinct feeling (for both Greg and I) that certain people in our lives expected us to be awful (or at least not good) parents. Seriously. Yeah, maybe we didn’t take any of the classes through the hospital on the birth process (do you realize how much they cost? Ridiculous!), but Greg and I, both, had experience with babies and little kids. Plus, I read everything I could get my hands on and asked my older sister, Colleen, the super-mom and nurse, all kinds of questions.
Every day Greg and I bust our butts to be the best parents we can be and frankly, I think we’re doing okay. We were ready for Zoey’s birth and from the looks of her now, she’s clean, fed, healthy and happy. So, everyone who had doubts about how we’d be as parents can back off now, please. We’re doing just fine, thank you very much.
But that doesn’t mean that good advice isn’t taken and appreciated. My mom, Greg’s mom, my sister, Colleen, and Greg’s sister, Kim, have been our go-to people when we have questions about what we should do in certain situations and they’ve been awesome about helping us. We value their opinions and knowledge because they’ve been there before. And all four of them know that we’ll listen to what they have to say, consider it and then decide whether or not it’s something we want to try with our child. Easy as that.
But there will always be the ‘You should’ people, who just don’t get it. It’s all in the delivery, man. There’s a huge difference between ‘you should’ and ‘you could’. For all the new or about-to-be new moms out there, the best advice I ever got was from my sister, Colleen, on the subject of the ‘You Should’ people: “Just smile, nod and thank them. Then do whatever YOU want because YOU are the parent.”
Amen to that, girlfriend.