October 02, 2020

 Once you announce your pregnancy, what’s the first thing to happen?  You start getting advice, right?  “Sleep while the baby sleeps”, “the time goes by so fast”, “make sure you buy (insert any expensive product here)”, the list goes on and on.  As we approached months 8 and 9, we started getting another type of advice though, which was: actually, don’t listen to anyone’s advice, because every baby is different. Although that makes sense, it left us very confused.   If we can’t take advice from anyone, how on earth are we supposed to figure this whole parenting thing out?

Let’s first take a look at the definition of advice.  According to Google, advice meansguidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent future actionSounds simple enough, it’s like when the doctor tells us to exercise 5-6 times a week.  Sounds great!  Absolutely not going to happen.  So why is there so much discussion regarding advice to new parents when we’re most likely bombarded with advice on a plethora of other subjects every day, that we most likely chose to ignore?

Well, it’s because we’re terrified.  We’ve never raised a human before.  We are grasping at anything really that might help us out.  In the event it doesn’t work out, it seems to be easier for us to deem it “bad” advice, rather than it just wasn’t the right approach for our baby.  There’s no guidebook that says if you do steps 1, 2 and 3  - everything will turn out great!  Not to mention, that’s just the CONTROL variables, there are hundreds of uncontrolled variables (ummm can you say ‘pandemic’?) that most certainly don’t have a guidebook.  

For most events in life, you can actually prep.  Taking a test?  Study.  Running a marathon?  Runx miles a day (we truly don’t know how one does prepare for a marathon, but we imagine you run...a lot?)  Interviewing for a new job?  Go over mock questions.  While the stakes are incredibly high, there’s really no way to “practice” for parenting.  We’re all just taking it day by day, making up the rules as we go.  So the next time you get that parenting advice that seems a little out there, just know we’re all running one giant experiment every day, with quite a few variables, trying to see what works.

Here’s our best non-advice/advice we’ve received:

  1. Even if you were prepared, you’ll be unprepared.
  2. There’s no max on how many people can love your baby.
  3. Your baby is going to act like a baby (cry, not sleep, etc).
  4. Lower your expectations.
    1. We know how this sounds, but really, just do it.  
    2. Some of us (hi!) thought we’d still be showering every day with our newborn.  Spoiler: we did not.  Lower ‘em.
Anne A
Anne A