When it comes to having children, everyone has an opinion on how best to raise them – and they'll gladly share it with you! Your friends and family have the best intentions, but before you start second guessing yourself, try out some of these simple but strategic communication tactics to get your message across, avoid hurt feelings, and ultimately do what's best for you and your child.
The mommy wars in your living room.
This usually starts when seasoned mom friends try to convince you of the best baby methods. This can be about anything from using cloth diapers to co-sleeping to making your own baby food.
Thanks so much for caring. If I decide to try things differently, I’ll be interested to hear your opinions.
The work/home balance debate.
Being productive once you're back to work, despite sleep deprivation, is hard enough. Then you might have old-school relatives telling you that it's really in your baby's best interest to stay home with him.
Being a working mom is a challenge, but I'm so lucky to have wonderful people to take care of my baby during the work day. And the best part is we so cherish every minute we spend together.
The paranoid first-time mom accusation.
There's no doubt that with your first child, you'll be on high alert for every cry, sniffle, or change in sleeping or feeding pattern. But when friends and relatives visit who are visibly sick, and then accuse you of being a germaphobe, it can be frustrating.
The baby is still young, so it's doctor's orders to try to keep her away from people when they're sick, avoid large crowds, and head off germs when possible.
There will be many more instances of unwanted advice and commentary about your parenting prowess – trust me! When all else fails, kill them with kindness, and know that their intentions are good. Once you learn to trust your mom gut, you won't let unsolicited advice get in the way of doing what works for you.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.