Dear New Mom,
It’s almost time. Your first child will soon arrive, and as we celebrate you and the new little person about to debut, I find my thoughts wandering back to my own early days of motherhood. Ten years ago, I too delivered a baby boy. I read a zillion parenting books. I stressed about everything that could go wrong. I meticulously catalogued my son’s poop colors and sleep patterns and worried I wasn’t producing enough milk. I’m not joking. I had a little journal. I rolled a little different with baby #2 and #3, but I digress.
As I listen to your new mommy friends and hear your tales of web research about baby products and nursing and sleeping and childcare, I’d like to offer a little advice. I know, I know. More advice?! Clearly, all of your friends know best. But I swear this really is the only advice you need. Every action, philosophy and product debate raging in your hormone-racing mind can be solved with these simple words.
Breast vs. bottle? You choose.
Crib vs. co-sleeping? You choose.
Homemade baby food vs. store-bought? You choose.
To stay home or go to work? You choose.
Baby-wearing slings vs. strollers? You choose.
Sleep-train or rush in at the first whimper? You choose.
Cute little baby shoes or bare toes? You choose.
When to take the first date night? You choose.
Screen time at what age? You choose.
Public school, home school, private school? You choose.
To impart religion or not? You choose.
You see, as you enter this foggy, new world of parenthood, you’ll be faced with many decisions. You’ll encounter a few moms and dads who claim to have all the answers. They’ll tell you why their parenting style is best. They’ll justify their choices, and perhaps do it in a way that pisses all over your own. You’ll experience a new community of judgmental, brash, and straight-up mean people.
You’ll also make new friends.
But this is why I feel so strongly about arming you with this advice now. You choose. You look at your own little family. You feel yourself out as a mother. You do your own research. You look into that sweet face of your new baby. And … you choose. Don’t beat yourself up.
You may change your mind and try on different parenting approaches and styles along the way, but that is the beauty of raising a child. You will choose what is best for your baby, for you, for your family. Embrace your choices. Find your way. Choose what works for you.
There will always be parents out there trying to create sides, but if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we love our children. We want what is best for them, and there is no one better suited to guide your little person’s journey than you.
You choose. Oh, and you are going to be an awesome mom. Welcome to parenthood!