If you have a child, I have no doubt that family, friends, and strangers have given you all kinds of advice, both solicited and unsolicited. The audacity some people have never ceases to amaze me. However, somewhere between the strangers telling me I need to put socks on my child to others telling me that bedsharing will lead to divorce, I’ve actually gotten some good advice. Here are the 5 best pieces of advice I’ve received as a parent from strangers, family, friends, and one really insightful article:
Give your toddler two options and let him choose all by himself. I had no idea how crucial this advice would be when I first heard this from more experienced moms on The Bump. Sometimes Gavin just outright refuses to do something, but when I give him a choice between two things, he smiles and just does it. For example, when he doesn’t want to get dressed, I pick two different pants, and I let him choose which ones he wants to wear. It never fails that he will always reject the ones I had initially tried to put on him. And sometimes he doesn’t match (okay, frequently, he doesn’t match), but that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. What matters is that we get out of the house on time with very few protests.
Hold your baby/wear your baby/sleep with your baby, etc. This advice came in many forms, but the bottom line was keep your baby near you, and don’t try to fight your instincts or his needs. Gavin has wanted to be thisclose to me since he was born, and I think that is pretty natural. On the flip side of this, I received about five times as much advice on how to keep my baby at a safe distance – in the crib, the co-sleeper, the swing, the car seat, the stroller, the floor, etc. etc. etc. I can understand why I was given advice about how to get my baby to be “independent,” but I really believe that my life was easier because I wasn’t afraid to hold/wear/sleep with my baby.
You don’t need all of the baby “necessities” marketed towards new parents. I’ll admit that I fell for a lot of the marketing, but I wish I had listened to the few people who told me not to buy all of that junk. Much of what is “necessary” for babies is not necessary at all. I found that I never needed a changing table (the floor works perfectly fine!) and all that goes with it, a stroller, a crib, the majority of the personal care products, baby wipes (a paper towel and water or a cloth and water work fine, and the chemicals just gave him diaper rash anyways), a bumbo, a mobile… I could go on and on.
When your toddler is thowing a temper tantrum, listen to him, let him know you hear his needs, and reassure him that he is safe. It seems so simple now, but prior to reading this advice (I wish I could find the article now – I will post it if I can find it), I had no idea how to handle temper tantrums. Now, I ask Gavin what’s wrong and he tells me through his words or sign language. Then I repeat back to him what he told me. Then I tell him he’s okay, it’s okay, I hug him, or I give him some other kind of reassurance that I care about how he feels and I’ll help him. Toddlers throw temper tantrums when they feel out of control, which is a feeling I can relate to. Even if someone else can’t solve the problem for me, it does relieve some of my frustration to know that someone hears and understands my frustrations. The same works for toddlers.
Housework and many other responsibilities can wait, but your children grow up fast so spend quality time with them as much as possible. Yes, my house is always a mess, but I like giving myself a break and prioritizing my child over the more mundane things in life. Of course, you can’t let things get out of control, but it’s okay to let the dishes sit for 10 extra minutes while you watch your toddler hit the golf ball or even let the dishes sit for an extra 3 hours while you hold your baby for his nap.
What is the best advice you’ve received?Like what you read? Buy me a coffee! Thanks for your support!