Becoming a parent for the first time is a daunting experience. From the moment you find out you’re pregnant you have a rough idealism of how you want family life to be. Most likely you base this on personal experience from your own upbringing, good or bad. But from the moment you scratch the surface on the subject, you’ll realise it’s a bit of a Pandora’s box these days.
There are experts, books, research, theories, forums and parenting blog posts and of course everything has a label. Little did I know when I became a parent people would ask about my parenting style and try to pigeon hole me into a category or slap me with a parenting label. “Are you an attachment parent or helicopter parent”? “Do you use cry it out, routines, controlled crying, self-settle, baby led weaning…..” the parenting terms are endless, some of which I’ve never even heard been used!
Ok, so I get that in the age of 140 characters, we have to be efficient with words. But as an unsure new parent, I know I found myself constantly asking “am I doing ‘it‘ right”? With so many labels out there, it is quite easy to be blinded by ‘the rules’ that each of the parenting methods above set out.
In the end I came to realise that trying to follow any of the above was only making me miserable. As the saying going ‘everyone’s different’. With that in mind, can anyone say they follow any of the parenting label to the letter? I know I couldn’t. So, I chose and even adapted advice to suit what felt right for us.
My advice to any new parent going through a similar journey would be to listen to your instincts. Do what makes your family happy. Take guidence, but pick the best and leave the rest. There is certainly no right and wrong, only what is right for you.
I’m now happy to call myself just a ‘parent’ and since then we’ve never been happier.