We were over at a friends house, painting Easter eggs this weekend, when Becca asked our friend, a mother of 2, for advice on a feeding question about Charlee. Her response both amused me and made me think.
“I’m no expert, I’ve only done it twice.”
While she wasn’t trying to be coy, she did bring up an interesting perspective. Just because she’d done it twice before, successfully, still didn’t mean that she felt she was in any position to give advice.
And with that, I offer you my 6 month epiphany…
Don’t take anyone’s advice.
“What!?”, you say.
“But isn’t this blog, in fact, producing advice to help guide the new dad through their journey?”
Well, ironically yes and no. And by that I mean, that right now if you were to ask my advice on how to parent, it would be to not take anyone’s advice!
Allow me to explain.
After speaking with new mums and dads over the course of the last 6 months of Charlee and for years previous, everyone has their own story. From how they found out they were expecting to how the pregnancy elapsed, let alone how unique their birth story was.
Each of their little snowflakes is different in their own right and though you may find the ability to categorize them with terms like ‘spirited’ or ‘easy’ it’s impossible to assume that even the most identical of twins can be raised exactly the same way.
I think that we as parents, especially new parents, have put ourselves in the situation where we have created a forum of information so vast that the overwhelming sense of parenthood is only further exacerbated by the overwhelming world wide web of information.
The fact of the matter is that this information is just that; info!
It is not solutions. It is potential solutions. It is examples of what has worked for some.
For every person it’s worked for, there are another thousand for whom it failed. And those thousand have a hundred different ‘solutions’ that have worked for them. And so on and so forth.
So what does one do? What should be the best source of knowledge?
Some people just have a tendency of going with the masses. Whatever is the best selling book on the subject.
Many people are simply swayed by the trends. This, however, can have detrimental effects like the whole anti-vaccination movement that many have followed care of celebrities voicing their ‘opinions’ based on personal experience and incorrect medical backing.
Others rely on their own parents approach, as it worked for them just fine, so why not carry that methodology forward. For the record, some even approach this on the contrary, where they ensure that they’ll do nothing like what their parents did (or did not do) for them!
I’ve read some perspectives that it may just end up coming naturally to you; instinctive if you will.
Personally, I’ll give you my approach… but remember, it’s not advice!
My current job involves working with the healthcare sector, centralizing patient information and broadening access; helping to establish and maintain an electronic health record for the millions of people in our province.
By going through this endeavour, we’ve been able to amass an incredible amount of data, and with big data, comes big responsibility and big opportunity to delve deeper and run analytics.
One of the many perks of big data, is that with more data comes more confident decision making, which can then lead to greater efficiency and reduced risk.
It’s a pretty cool premise, that I find helps steer me in the right direction with my approach to parenting and quite frankly, to life!
I like to do a thorough review of a topic – anything from investment banking to sleep training a 4 month old – there is a ton of data out there to review.
The caveat being, that in order to make decisions with this method, it takes time. There are few knee jerk reactions when you are scavenging books, articles, doctors suggestions, friends references, parents’ thoughts, and mummy group input.
But at the same time, knowing more scenarios, understanding more opinions, seeing the ‘why’ behind peoples recommendations is crucial in forming an opinion of your own and choosing to go down that path.
What I’ve grown to find is that with all the information in the world, it will only form an approach for you that still may not be correct, because your baby is one of a kind, or as the book On the Night You Were Born beautifully puts it:
For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…
Eventually it will be a combination of lessons learned, your gut instinct, and the repetitive trial and error that gets you to familiarize yourself with who this little person is that you made.
And this, believe it or not, is half the fun of parenting; Realizing that your little 1 in 7 billion is as new to your life as you are to hers, and learning everything about her is the greatest, most rewarding unknown there is.