As soon as you become a Mum the advise/judgment starts rolling in from what feels like every person on the planet! Now, some of that advise is awesome and is guided to you in a gentle approach where you feel like you can take it or leave it. However, there is also that advise/judgment that makes you feel like if you don’t follow it, you’re not doing the whole parenting thing right and you’re creating a big mess for yourself. Now, mix your raging hormones, sleep deprived self with a pushy advise giver and you have just created a recipe for a new mama breakdown (Trust me, I have had plenty)
I am already nearly 9 months (post birth) down the parenthood journey so it’s not so much advise that I get anymore it’s more judgment for the decisions my husband and myself have made for our child. It’s totally fine that everyone has their own ideas on how things should roll when raising children, but that’s your experience and what works for one baby doesn’t always work for another. Here’s an idea, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all and can we please just turn our judgment into compassion?
Breastmilk vs Formula
It’s proven that Breast is best for your child, so if you can breastfeed or express kudos to you. You are giving your child a great start to life. If you can’t breastfeed or express (and there’s many reasons why) and/or you decide to formula feed then that’s totally fine too and you’re doing a great job! You are still feeding your child and I’m pretty sure a fed baby is the most important thing.
When you see a new mum breastfeeding in public please don’t look over with disgust. It takes a lot of courage in the early days and most definitely don’t go up to a breastfeeding mum and ask her to cover up or go somewhere else. I luckily haven’t had any one come up to me and tell me to feed my child elsewhere as yet but if that day ever comes get ready for a squirt of milk to your face because seriously, I am nourishing my child and that’s exactly what I’m meant to do. I don’t understand how it’s perfectly acceptable for women at the beach to be exposing more skin in their bikini’s opposed to a breastfeeding Mum who’s boob is mostly covered by her baby’s head, and you know, is actually serving a purpose by feeding her child! Also when you see a new Mum giving a bottle of formula to her baby and you don’t agree, just don’t say anything, it’s pretty simple. It’s so upsetting when people judge each other for what they have chosen for their child. As long as the baby is being fed there’s absolutely no reason for you to say a single word (unless you’re specifically asked for the advise).
There is so much conflicting advise on this issue. You will have some people telling you that the baby should be in his/her own room and self settling and on the other hand you have people telling you to have the baby in your room for a while and that co-sleeping is totally fine. Being a Mum is hard work! You think you’re doing the best thing for your child and then someone comes along and pops your happy bubble.
In my experience, I have tried everything. Co-sleeping, self settling, rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep and laying with him to sleep. No two days are the same and you know what? I’m totally okay with it. I don’t particularly like hearing crying and I’m pretty sure my baby isn’t having a great time either, so I would rather just avoid that extra stress. Slowly we are transitioning to self settling but in a gentle approach, but in the mean time I’m happy to rock or lay with my baby to sleep. Babies develop so much in their first year and it’s really hard on them. Some nights we get a full nights sleep in our own beds and on other more difficult nights it’s a cuddle fest where we bed share so that we can both get some sleep and he can help himself to the milk factory. Both of these situations are totally fine with me so please don’t be worried. Our children are only little for a such a short time, so why not enjoy those extra cuddles while it lasts.
If your baby self settles and sleeps through the night; good on you, You have done a wonderful job and it sounds like you have a great sleeper. If you co-sleep; good on you, you are taking in all those extra cuddles. Unless the child is being harmed, you have no need to be worried, we have got this! Yes, we will complain from time to time for being tired but instead of saying things like “your making a rod for your own back” or “please don’t tell me you co-sleep?” how about showing compassion? Tell us we are doing a good job, buy us a coffee or you know what look after our baby for a couple of hours so we can get some rest.
Working Mum vs Stay at Home Mum:
Wowza! Some of the things I have heard about what a mum ‘should’ be doing with her life is astounding. Everyone lives in different circumstances and therefore has to do what works best for them both financially and emotionally.
Who are we to judge the mum who went back to work just after a couple of months because she can’t afford to live otherwise. Who are we to judge the mum who stays at home caring for her baby but secretly sometimes hides in the pantry to cry because she is stuck day in and day out with minimal adult interaction and only her thoughts? Who are we to judge the Mum who juggles caring for her baby and her small business and doesn’t get any break from work? Incase you didn’t know, I’m the last one. The Mum who never really gets a break from work. I love my baby and I love my work but it is tough. There are days where I don’t get any time to myself, where I’m playing and caring for my son (between calls and emails) during the day and then working all night long while he sleeps. So please if you have an opinion on how a fellow Mum ‘should’ be living her life then just swallow those words your about to spill and instead, show some support.
Switch your Judgment into Compassion
I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have tons of judgmental thoughts that constantly run through my crazy brain, but I’m trying my absolute hardest to rewire that thought process and to stop judging others. Next time you feel that you need to give a special piece of advise. Please, take a second to think… Is what I’m about to say gentle and compassionate? Is what I’m about to say going to make the person feel supported? If you’re questioning yourself, the answer is no and just don’t say it. It’s that Simple.
Let’s switch our judgment into compassion.