I used to think if there was one thing everyone felt they were experts on, it was pregnancy. I was shocked/overwhelmed with the amount of advice I received while pregnant. It's nothing in comparison to parenting advice.
At first, I thought when people gave me advice what they were really saying is you're a terrible mother. Your way isn't the right way, so try mine.
With time, I've been able to see that 99% of people have the best of intentions. However, 99% of the time the advice isn't helpful. My baby has had sleep problems since she was born and if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to read Baby Wise I'd never have to work a day of my life. I appreciate that people are trying to help. I'm really not trying to sound like a brat. Promise. Let me explain.
It just doesn't make sense to me why people are so critical when it comes to parenting.
For example, the other day when I was in the grocery store with Ainsley I gave her a plastic bag to play with because she LOVES them. It's easy for her to make lots of sounds with them and they're so intruiging to her little mind. I was watching her very closely and not taking my eyes off of her but in ten minutes I had three people tell me to take the bag away from her. When I didn't I could feel the evil death stares. You know, the you're a terrible mother stares. I think every mother has felt those, oh I don't know, once a week?
I'm all over the place but what I'm trying to say is that mothering is hard. Typically, when people are going through something hard in their lives we tend to cut them some slack. Motherhood has got to be one of the toughest (and greatest!) things in life so why does it seem to bring out the judgemental side of people? Shouldn't it be the opposite? If cosleeping works for you, great. If you start solids at four months or choose to wait until nine months, awesome. I think we get caught up in so.many.things. that aren't important. I recieved so much judgement for giving Ainsley a few ounces of formula in the week it took for my milk to come in and you know what? I'm pretty sure it has little to no negative effect on her. She's a happy, healthy, large little girl.
Loving your child is most important. Teaching them to live a Christ-like life. Showing them who their loving Heavenly Father is. Their spiritual development far exceeds the importance of anything physical. And that is the stuff that's a lot harder to see. There's always more going on than what we see.
I feel like it would be much more constructive to replace the judgement and advice with encouragement and praise. It's much more helpful for me to get a you're doing a great job than a how about you try this...
So basically, you're doing a great job, momma! Keep on keeping on!