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Parenting Advice that Works

Oh, it’s in the news, it’s on the internet and it’s at the water cooler and in the parks.  Advice for parents.  Everywhere we go, someone is there to tell us what to do, how to do it, and why our way is wrong and our kids will grow up to be deviants, or more probably, serial killers.  How could I resist throwing in my two cents?  In my almost-thirteen years of being a mommy, I have gained two bits of knowledge that will never fail any parent and now I am going to share them with you, my faithful and wonderful readers.  You’re welcome.

  1. A frozen waffle is a perfect snack for a teething (older) baby.
  2. None of us really, truly know what we’re doing.

Number one is something that I didn’t discover until my second baby and it’s such a good trick that I seriously considered having more babies just so I could use it again.  Make sure your baby is old enough not to choke on it, then waffle away.  I would like to give you an age range here, but at the time I had a teething baby and a toddler.  It’s a miracle that I even remembered what a waffle was at that time in my life, let alone how old the kid was when I gave it to him.  Anyway, it’s glorious.  And I’m so super-proud of this advice because it’s one of those things that I thought of all on my own in a desperate fit of shutting up comforting a fussy kid.  I don’t have a whole lot of these.  In fact, this is kind of the only one, but I shout it from the rooftops.  Frozen waffles FTW!!

Number two is something that I always suspected, but have, in recent years, come to believe whole heartedly.  We’re all winging it.  Even, I believe, the so-called experts.  There are certainly people who qualify as experts in child rearing, but they are not experts on my kids or the dynamics in my family.  I think we’d all do better to take their advice as suggestions, not rules.  We could all use some ideas for dealing with the myriad issues that accost us as parents.  Suggestions are always welcome, because if you haven’t had at least one moment of complete despair and “I have no idea what to do now,” then I suspect you’ve been a parent for approximately two minutes.  When I was pregnant with my first, I read all the books and did all the research.  Imagine my surprise when I got a baby who didn’t behave like babies in the books.  I was pretty sure I got a broken one.  Oh, she was a difficult baby and I was at a complete loss for 99% of her first few months.  That was when I realized that books were not going to help me through this adventure of parenthood.  The only think I could really rely on was my gut, my instinct and my great desire to do nothing but my best for my baby.  Once I started just doing what worked and stopped worrying about doing everything the “right” way, things got a lot easier. 

I have not always done the right thing at the right time, but I have two very wonderful, smart and funny kids, so I can’t have done it all wrong.  The best advice I have for any parent is just do what you think is best.  Of course you should be educated and informed, but you should not ever feel pressured to do anything any certain way just because someone else said so.  This is your life, and your children’s lives and you’d better believe that if you don’t follow your own heart, it will end up eating away at you.  You have to get a thick skin and be prepared to receive advice, smile and nod (unless you enjoy a good fight debate), and then do whatever you darn well please, however you choose to do it.  Lord knows we have enough on our plates without trying to please the world.  If you’re not mom enough for Time magazine, then screw them.  I am sick of hearing all the mommy wars and they should be ashamed of themselves for fueling the fire.  The choices we make as parents are personal ones and should not ever be up for debate or judgement.

It’s high time that parents stop buying into this nonsense.  It does take a village, but I won’t be a part of a village that is pointing fingers and questioning my choices.  Why can’t we help each other and support each other, even if we don’t always agree?  We’re all in this together.  We all have the same goal, but that doesn’t mean we must all take the same path to get there.

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  1. May 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Good, practical advice thanks! (Funny too 🙂 )

    • May 20, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Barb Strimple
    May 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Great job Shel and so true!!! Hey looks like I did a good job. Mom

    • May 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      You did do a good job, Mom, especially since you got a broken one, too. 🙂

  3. May 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Well stated!! It is so important that moms support one another; motherhood is difficult enough without the added judgments from other mothers/parents. I also gave my kiddos waffles; in addition to frozen sweet potato sticks/fries (slice sweet potatoes, roast in oven, and place in freezer – voila!) when they were teething and it brought them (and me) much relief. Great post!

    • May 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you…I would so love to see a movement of moms supporting one another take off half as well as the mommy wars. Good idea with the sweet potatoes, too! I’m sad to say that my own less-than-affectionate relationship with sweet potatoes has left my children somewhat deprived in that arena, though.

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