If I had a dollar for every time I read somewhere or heard someone say they realized that “Every Breath You Take” by The Police sounded a bit creepy and stalkerish to them, I’d have a lot of dollars. As an 80s kid, I remember when the song was widely known as hopeless romantic, even a great first dance song for a wedding.
Technically the lyrics are about a stalker, but it is such a beautiful classic song, it just sounds like a love song.
Well, I’d like to offer up a third interpretation. Listen again as the mom of lovingly replying to her daughter’s babbles as conversation. Or as the Dad, clasping his hands trying not to help his son as he shakily takes his first steps.
Every breath you take and every move you make Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you Every single day and every word you say Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you
Oh, can’t you see you belong to me How my poor heart aches with every step you take
In those few precious beautiful moments after you set down your 6 month old before you gingerly step out of his room and close the door without waking her, when you watch his peaceful face, you’ll understand.
Ok maybe some of the lyrics don’t work out perfectly. But, you know that “Ring Around the Rosie” is about dying, right? And what do you think happened to all those people on London Bridge?
Today we’re going to talk about what’s wrong with people who live by parenting advice that you think is completely insane.”
Whenever you read a parenting book and think “WHOA, that’s nuts. I would NEVER do that.” If you’re totally honest with yourself, you’re probably also thinking something along the lines of:
What is wrong with the people who wrote this book?
And what is wrong with the parents who read this book and live by its advice? They must be completely crazy.
They must hate their children or hate themselves.
Or maybe they’re just not very smart.
Well today I’m going to tell you what is wrong with these people that live by advice that you think is completely insane.
Here it is.
They have totally different kids.
If you read something and you think, “This is terrible, I could never do that. I do want to do that.” Then it’s probably wrong for your baby, for your family, for your household or for your sanity. You know your baby and you will make the right decision when you listen to yourself. Listen to your heart, listen to your gut. Just listen for what sounds right to you and that is your truth.
So whether we’re talking about sleep training, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, pumping, going back to work, being a stay-at-home parent. You don’t have to do any of it, but it could be the perfect decision for someone else. They have their own gut, they have their own heart, and they have their own journey.
Why am I telling you this?
Because it’s so important to have a relationship with other parents, with babies the same age as yours. They understand what you’re going through and are living it in real-time. Even moms of slightly older kids forget what it’s like – what it felt like at the time and what their kids did and what they were worried about or how long a stage lasted.
But we’re all making a staggering number of decisions per day. And it feels like the stakes are high for all of them. Hearing the hint of judgement from another mom, especially one who you think is A Great Mom, can be devastating.
Reading or hearing about someone else’s dramatically different experience or decision is not an indictment of your decision.
Sometimes you feel like you do want to say something, though.
Maybe they’re being hard on themselves and as their friend you wish they would be kinder to themselves. Maybe you tried the same thing and regret it now.
Did they ask for your opinion? Maybe they just want to vent.
Even if you’re 100% right and they’re 100% wrong, if they don’t do it their way and find out that they’re wrong, they’re never going to really trust your way of doing it until they do it their own way and find out that’s not a good idea.
If you absolutely must say something, try to frame it within what worked for you, like “I tried that too. It was really hard. I was really happy when I tried this next.” That way, you’re only talking about you.
Parenting is such a rapid-fire decision-making exercise. We make conscious, mindful decisions and we hope for the best. We hope we do the right thing and we hope when we don’t do the right thing, since inevitably we won’t get it right every single time since we make tons and tons of decisions for this little human every single day, we hope that our good intentions and the rest of the better decisions we made are just good enough.
Today I want to ask you…are there any things you’ve pre-decided that you will do or not do? Or are you just planning on following your gut when the time comes? Or are there some things you’re sure about and some things you’re not sure about? Tell us in the comments below.
Thanks for reading! I’m Kathy from Hello Beautiful Mommy, reminding you that you are beautiful because you are you. You just happen to also be mommy.
In a word, they just aren’t. Your instincts are never wrong. Every mother I’ve spoken to has echoed this sentiment.
Regrets are always about going against your own instincts
I don’t want to say regret like: to this day I regret doing or not doing something. But, decisions that have blown up in my face, and driven me to go back to what my gut was telling me to do.
And it’s not just me. I was at a wedding shower recently and the mother of the bride told a story about when she was pregnant with her second daughter, her first (the bride) had not been potty trained yet. The doctor put the fear of God into this poor pregnant woman telling her “you don’t want 2 kids in diapers at the same time” and so she dutifully tried to potty train her daughter even though her daughter just didn’t seem ready to mom.
And there was just so much crying. And it didn’t work at all. And she was pregnant + tired so she gave up potty training until her daughter seemed ready, after the second baby came.
I’m not saying you will avoid crying or you will get it right the first time every time.
Sometimes you will change your mind and decide to change your course. Or decide that what was the wrong decision 3 weeks ago is now the right decision, now that baby is a little older. It’s always up to you because you are the one who pays the consequences.
If you follow your gut and your decision doesn’t work out how you hoped, you learn something as a parent. If you follow someone else’s advice and it doesn’t work out how you hoped, all you learn is to not follow someone else’s advice.
How about you? Are you finding it easy to follow your gut with your new baby or your pregnancy?
I’m kind of a Huffington Post addict. When I click on one article, I go on a click-through bender that I don’t come out of until for hours. When I read their article on 5 things you should never say to a new mom, an idea many sites have weighed in on, I knew I wanted to go the other way.
We don’t need to police what we say around new moms & new babies. If you’re friend’s recently had a baby, you’re celebrating a big change in her life. You don’t need to worry for the same reason you don’t worry about what you shouldn’t say to a bride and groom on their wedding day. You’re there to celebrate a big change in change in their life. When you’re in the mindset of being welcoming, supporting and celebrating, you don’t need to worry that you will say something accidentally offensive, you won’t.
When you’re friend becomes a new mom, you have an opportunity to say some of these 6 things. If you do, you’ll make her day.
You are so great with the baby.
Even if she looks like she’s handling the baby perfectly, there will be times when nothing she tries is what he wants and he will scream endlessly. In those moments, it’s hard to remember that sometimes this baby coos and gazes at her face. She will cling to the idea that she is good with this baby. If you see her taking care of a happy baby, say so.
You are the zen master.
Just like the first reason, there will be a moment one day when she isn’t. Even if she doesn’t lose your cool, slam a door or scream into a pillow, she’ll be that frustrated and it’s nice to know that someone noticed when she did have it all together.
You look radiant.
Pregnant women are known for their glow, but new mommies have it too. Newlyweds and people in new relationships have it too. It’s the look of people overcome with love and it makes you look like the most deliciously beautiful version of yourself. The radiance on your face shines through greasy hair and stained clothes. Everyone loves to hear it, call it if you see it.
You look so happy.
Of all the things on this list, this is my favorite to say to anyone. For me, this is the least related to new motherhood – I say this to anyone any time I see them beaming or have that contented calm air about them. I think it’s one of the best things that you can hear, second to hearing I love you for the first time. It’s a great way to stop and honor what brought you to this happy place in your life.
I believe that it’s important to know what lights you up in general. When I’m ‘down’ I can’t picture ever being happy –when in my life I was happy, what makes me happy, anything. Of course, she knows she’s happy right now. When someone else articulates it, it sticks in your memory more.
She has your eyes, or something about your personality
You might think the baby looks like her dad, and why not? There’s a 50/50 shot and some people, including the fine folks at NY Times, think that evolution predisposes babies to look like their fathers. Every baby pretty much has the same mouth, which doesn’t look like ANY adult mouth, so that’s a major part of the face that can’t be attributed to mom or dad. Does she look like mom at all? Any characteristic or does she have the same
Moms are predisposed to think that her baby is the most beautiful thing on Earth, so if she can look at the baby and see something of herself it will make her day. And she will take that as the biggest compliment.
Besides, looking alike is part of being a family, so you pointing out some resemblance might help mom feel closer to her new baby.
I care about you.
We like to wait for the right moment to say when we care about people who are important to us, don’t we? It feels awkward otherwise; it’s socially risky. I’ve said before that one of the most beautiful parts of motherhood is that it is an opportunity for people to tell their loved ones about how and why they love them.
Anyone who has attended a funeral can tell you, life is short. If you’ve shared with the relatives standing next to the casket how much the deceased meant to you, you probably felt the extra sting of knowing that you’ve never found the right chance to say it.
Maybe it’s just a simple I love you or I care about you or I want you to be happy or I love seeing you this happy. Now is the time to say so. Now is the time to be as schmaltzy as possible. With all the endorphine, oxytocin and dopamine hormones flowing through mommy right now, it’s going to go over really well, and she’s more likely to appreciate and remember it forever.
If she’s ever inspired you or helped you through a tough time, it’s a great time to remind her of that and thank her again. She probably doesn’t know it meant so much to you, and even if she does, she’s probably not thinking about it today. If you can’t think of the right way to say it, just abruptly change the subject whenever there’s a pause, say You’re amazing then jump straight in. We remember the meaningful things people say, not how cleverly they worked it into conversation.
Naturally, moms only want to hear any of those 6 thoughts (and you only want to say them) if you believe they are true. If you’re looking for them, I’m sure you’ll see at least one.
If you really insist, here is the accumulated knowledge from the internet, the top 20 things not to say to a new mom (5 from Huffington Post, 16 from Women’s Health mag, 10 from parents.com, 19 from buzzfeed). When you’re in the frame of mind to help mom feel good about the transition she’s making, you wouldn’t really think to say any of them.
Enjoy the moment, it goes by so fast.
Are you loving it?
Are you breastfeeding?
You’re so lucky.
She’s so huge / he’s so tiny.
Sleep when the baby sleeps – or any other advice.
Wow, you look tired.
Your baby sure does cry a lot.
It only gets worse as they get older.
Did you really want a boy/girl?
Are you going back to work soon?
Are you ready for another?
You have to breastfeed.
Anything related to weight.
Baby looks like a monkey
Is that drool on your shirt?
Are you getting enough sleep?
Your baby is too young to be doing this?
It must be nice to be home all day.
I’d be so nervous leaving her with a stranger.
Did I miss anything? What completely made your day to hear when you were a new mom? Or, did you say something that went over really well when you met a friend and her baby? Let us know in the comments below.
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Love ya ladies, you’re beautiful baby growing heroes.