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I can’t take another morsel of parenting advice. You know all those tiger / hands-free / RIE (sorry, Andrea) articles? I’ve started ignoring it all. I feel like I’m being force-fed instructions on something that, until the past 100 years, required no instructions.

I’m a logical person — I’m a lawyer, for pete’s sake — I recognize that everything in life is a skill that can be honed. But I basically stopped reading parenting advice once I was totally convinced that my babies weren’t starving: i.e. how many ounces or hours at the breast. Not starving? Check. Everything else is bonus.

Some of it is studied science. I’m not debunking all child psychology. Please. I am presenting to you that you can parent really well without all this advice and pressure. Abraham Lincoln’s mom didn’t read “How to Raise a Great Leader in 5 Easy Steps.”

Here’s why:

IMG_13751) All of it can’t be right.

I don’t need to explain this… but there’s so much advice out there on TV, on the internet, in magazines, that a lot of it naturally conflicts. And they can’t all be right. Attachment parenting? Ferber would disapprove.

2) Some of it might be right for some children and for some parents.

Sometimes some of this advice is right — depending on the child. And the parent. And the situation. And sometimes the stars don’t align.

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3) I’ve followed some standard parenting advice that was patently wrong for me and my family.

Cry-it-out? Misery and purely and deeply wrong for my family. BUT I DID IT. The CIO debate and my personal story is fodder for a IMG_1358much longer post but, with DaughterOne, cry-it-out turned into a nightly barf-fest for baby and a drinking problem for moi.

Space out breastfeeding sessions? Wrong. For ME, spacing out breastfeeding lead to a very hungry and unsatisfiable baby who ultimately refused to breastfeed.

Co-sleeping? I don’t know. We’re still doing it. I’ll update you in 2 years. (At this point with each new person reading this post you can hear my husband re-grind his teeth. But guess whose husband never had to get up at night for D2? Mine.)

4) I’ve ignored a lot of it with great success.

This is just bragging but my kids are amazing (I told you this in the post “Getting over that ‘I don’t like you’ feeling”). Sure, I’m biased but they are fantastic. I don’t follow specific parenting advice. Guess what? I stop what we’re doing ALL THE TIME to take pictures. Sometimes we take selfies — take THAT, New York Times. My life is (very) documented and it is full of love, spontaneity and joy — not disrupted moments.

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5. Parenting advice has become a business.

Books, websites, magazines, newspapers, entire television shows all financially benefit from our mother (f’ing) insecurities. They’re counting on us second guessing ourselves. They make money off it.

 

so serious

Let’s just shake ourselves loose of these parenting how-to’s and do-not’s. They’re strangling parenthood. And we all deserve better.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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