Being a first-time parent comes with its own set of challenges.
That feeling that you're never quite doing it right no matter how much you try.
That guilt of wanting your old 'pre-kid' life back every once in a while. (or at least once every day!)
That struggle of trying not to worry every 5 seconds about all the 'what if's' that can pop up.
But probably the biggest challenge is learning how to shut out all the noise from the 'should's' that have probably been coming your way from the moment you announced you were having a baby.
Ya know, all the books, websites and advice from family, friends - even people on the street who literally have never seen you before in your life! When you're a parent everyone seems to have an opinion or feel they need to comment on how you raise your kid.
"Oh, you gotta try <insert just about anything>? It totally worked for my son."
"Wait, your kid isn't sleeping through the night yet?!"
"My kid did <insert just about anything> at 9 months."
"Are you not still breastfeeding?"
You can let each and every comment rip through you like the sound of nails on a chalkboard or you can take it for what it is - just well-meaning advice from people that want what's best for you.
Here's the thing - people know what they know and know what they've heard. That's about it. If they haven't experienced anything outside their "norm" then sometimes they're lost at how to respond to anything different.
Couple normal parenting issues with a situation a little off the beaten path and those comments take it to another level. It can feel like anything from annoying jabs to downright insults when you're kids' health conditions and treatments are consistently questioned but here's the most important thing to remember:
I know it's easy to take all the comments disguised as concerns to heart and to let them weigh on you. Trust me, as a parent with a kiddo who's been through the ringer with health issues, I've learned this first hand.
It used to drive me nuts to hear the SAME comments and questions over and over. It was hard enough living through our situation let alone feeling like we were on the defense from our choices or lack of answers from the doctors.
But over time, I've realized that some of the comments people say to me are simply out of their own fear.
Fear that one day they could be going through what we're going through. Fear of how they would handle a situation like ours or any sort of health scare for that matter. Fear that if there are no answers for us, what it one day they'll be in a similar situation and also be left without answers.
Once I started understanding this, I felt 1,000x better. Like Wonder Woman with her shield, the comments bounced off me and I was able to block out the noise and see them for what they really were. I no longer avoided certain people or had to brace myself for their comments. Instead, I simply smiled and changed the subject - knowing that what people said to me, was backed with their own worries and fears.
Like most things in life, people will always have comments and judgments. It's part of who we are as a culture. We can't let live our lives by what everyone else thinks or may think.
So the next time someone makes a comment that rubs you the wrong way, take a moment to ask yourself if it's really true, or if it's just a reflection of what might be going on with them.
I bet you'll get less defensive and even find some compassion in there for the other person.