You’re kind of clueless. That’s okay — every new mama is. There’s no “parenting gene” that kicks in immediately after you give birth. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you without judgment and offer some sage advice along the way. Not sure who to turn to? See below for five people to go to for parenting advice… and one place not to go.
1. Other Moms: This one’s kind of a no-brainer, but don’t underestimate the value of crowdsourced information. Whether you join a formal new moms’ group or turn preschool pickup into a Q and A session, try focusing on building your own personal mommy focus group. Be sure to include parents with an array of viewpoints, backgrounds, and ideas.
2. Your MIL: It’s a given you’ll ask your own mother for parenting advice, but she raised you (duh) and might not have the alternative or opposing point of view you’re looking for. She’ll be a cheerleader, tell you you’re a perfect parent, and stand in your corner. Awesome! But right now you need someone to tell it like it is. Your mother-in-law will do just that.
3. A Single, Childless Friend: She doesn’t know anything about parenting, and that’s what you absolutely love about her. You’ll get a totally honest, unbiased opinion that has absolutely nothing to do with the latest parenting fad that everyone in your mommy FB group is going on and on about.
4. Your Grandma: Or great aunt, great grandmother, or anyone else who has lived to see more than one generation grow up. Grandma has seen it all. She’s done diaper duty, had plenty of sleepless nights, and has been through milestone after milestone, all without an app. There’s wisdom there, and you should be mining it for all it’s worth.
5. A Dude: There are times when men think differently than women. It might make you want to pull your hair out when it’s your S.O. disagreeing with you, but it can be really helpful when it comes to a parenting viewpoint. Ask a man in your life what he thinks. You might get an answer you don’t like, or you might get one that kind of makes sense in a way that you would have never imagined on your own.
Finally — and we know this will be a tough one — the one place not to go for parenting advice:
An Online Parenting Group: Asking your real-life mommy friends is one thing. Asking some random internet strangers who claim to be parents is another. Even if you’re interacting with real mamas, the anonymity of the internet sometimes gives otherwise rational people the idea that they can say whatever they want or shame whoever they want without repercussions. So resist the urge to Google, and rely on the real people in your life to help you navigate the journey of parenthood.
Who do you go to for parenting advice? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)