Motherhood is hard …
… and while we have Google and endless advice from Aunt Karen, everyone ultimately has to figure things out on their own. The opinions of others are so accessible to the modern-day mama, that I genuinely believe our mental health suffers any time we pick up our phones throughout early motherhood.
It’s a new kind of struggle and one I’m having a difficult time navigating. I generally use my manners online, but that doesn’t mean I’m not affected when someone I respect chooses to parent differently and raves about it. It doesn’t mean I’m not affected when a stranger blatantly blasts the way I’ve chosen to go about teaching my child to sleep. It doesn’t mean I’m not concerned when an acquaintance preaches against the way I’m introducing solids to my baby.
I second guess myself. Am I doing this right? Even when I feel confident and happy with the way things are going. Even when my child is safe, healthy, well-rested and fed.
The Motherhood Manual
I run social media accounts for a baby and toddler sleep consulting company, and I’m actually a certified sleep consultant, as well. So, of course, I see my share of disagreements daily. Sleep training can be a hot topic for many parents, and it’s commonly misunderstood.
But honestly, any topic dealing with our children and the way we raise them, teach them, is going to lead to passionate endorsements or challenges on all sides. To disagree is absolutely okay — and expected.
It doesn’t have to be …
Breastfeeding versus formula feeding
Sleep training versus co-sleeping
Baby-led weaning versus spoon-fed weaning
Homeschool versus public or private school
The list goes on and on. My point is … it’s fine to disagree. In fact, it’s healthy. It’s normal. Still, we must remember that there literally is no right or wrong here. There is no official manual for raising children. There are suggestions, studies, books, online courses, brochures, and, most importantly … the experience of others. We can learn from each other, we can listen to each other, but we aren’t helping anyone if we are throwing metaphorical rocks at the parenting decisions or philosophies of others.
Kill Them With … Comments?
I recently published a short video on Instagram for our sleep consulting company with tips on how to ensure your baby is getting a full feeding before bed. We regularly share our advice as professionals in baby and toddler sleep in order to help tired parents with the end goal of, obviously, helping their little ones sleep better.
A full belly plays an important role when it comes to sleeping soundly. This video was made for parents who might be struggling to keep their babies awake during the last feed of the day.
Here are a few of the negative comments we received.
“The amount of time spent on making this dumb video with incorrect information. Ugh.”
“This whole video is trash”
“Wow…So glad I never listened to any advice like this.”
I’m not here to start a debate, and our video was absolutely not meant to shame anyone doing differently. We just want to help those looking for … help!
This is just one example where a parent’s passion for an opposing opinion was handled poorly. Are those comments really necessary?
If we could just focus on celebrating each other’s journeys in parenthood, the Internet would be a much less toxic place.
If you and your child are thriving, share what works for you! Absolutely. But please remember that all babies are different. All HUMANS are different.
And while we are different, I like to think we’re all doing the best we can do. We have that in common.