Don’t let the advice impact your parenting confidence | Goulburn Post | #parenting | #sextrafficing | #childsaftey

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It seems that everyone becomes an expert and has important advice to share when they see a new parent. In fact, even before you have given birth with your first child there is a fair chance that you have been inundated with parenting advice. Without a doubt that advice can be helpful, but even the most valid suggestions can become overwhelming at times. It also has the potential to undermine confidence. In writing this week’s column I too am effectively offering advice – I apologise in advance. But for all those new parents out there trying to navigate the guidance, directives or well-meaning tips of others, my best advice is to do what is best for you and your family, and don’t take anyone’s advice as a personal judgement. READ MORE: By all means take on the information if you consider it helpful, but don’t feel that you have to adhere to that advice. Ultimately the intention of this column is to let you know that you are not alone on this parenthood journey. Many before have fumbled through as a new mum or dad – including myself – and many more will do so in the future. It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling hopeless at times during your parenting journey. And that is not just confined to the early days as a mum or dad. There can be times when it appears that everyone, except you, is a perfect parent or has all the answers – especially when there are a lot of voices telling you what you need to do. Whenever that sense of failure or uncertainty strikes try to put things into perspective, acknowledge your successes, find the joy in your new role and be kind to yourself. I can remember my first trip to the shopping centre after becoming a first-time mum. It was terrifying, but mostly it was my overthinking in the lead up to the trip that had me in a panic. Not because I was incapable, but because I had become too caught up in my own thoughts. And perhaps because I had become blatantly aware that everyone seemed to have a parenting opinion. I convinced myself that I would be central to all those attitudes and opinions at once when I stepped into a public venue. On reflection, it may have been a little conceited to think that all eyes would be on me, but it was more of any attitude related to fear of failure in front of others. I desperately wanted to get this parenting thing right – or at least look like I was in control – and at that particular time I was feeling out of my depth. I was worried about everyone seeing me as a new parent who didn’t know what she was doing. I was convinced I would fumble getting my baby out of the car, I would struggle opening the pram and everyone would be watching me fail. I managed both of those preliminary tasks unscathed – although the pram always proved challenging to open. However, my little one quickly became restless on that first trip out. Quite possibly he was triggered by my anxiety. Regardless, there were tears – from bub, not me – although my tears were hovering just under the surface. That distinct newborn cry soon drew attention from others – or was that the panic on my face as I tried to pretend I had everything under control. My palms became sweaty and I was wishing I hadn’t ventured out on my own. And then a dear, well-meaning older lady came up to me and said something along the lines of “Oh dear, your little one seems upset.” All I could think of was ‘no s*&#@ Einstein’ – I didn’t say it, I just thought it. I smiled politely and kept walking. It was at that very point – when this lady stated the obvious – that I realised that sometimes well-meaning input from others is just about conversation for the sake of conversation. I am still grateful for that lady’s useless bit of information because it gave me some perspective. I never again feared getting out and about with any of my children. And I soon realised that the opinions of others were just that – their opinions. What really mattered was my confidence in myself as a parent, based on my experiences and enhanced through advice that resonated and made sense for my circumstances. Of course advice, generally offered with the best of intentions, has continued to come to me over the years. However, I have learned to take it on as a side bar that may, or may not, benefit how I parent, rather than as a directive or judgement. Mumma Jak has three children and is familiar with the challenges of parenthood. She is well aware that every child is different, every day can be different and a parent’s approach needs to be different according to the situation at hand. She is happy to say she fumbled through, motivated from the perfect starting point – unconditional love. The good news is that all three of her children have become normal functioning adults. We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here for the Highlands and here for the Tablelands. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.


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