Parenting. The one thing that everyone is an expert on, until they have actually had to become one. I will be the first to admit, I was that person in the store looking at the toddler throwing a tantrum, thinking to myself, "Nope, not my kid," before I actually had a kid. I thought I knew all the solutions to problems I didn't think I would even have. I had it ALL figured out the moment I pissed on a stick and saw the double lines. Or so I thought.
I never imagined what parenting could REALLY be like. Especially being a mom to a micro preemie. My daughter was born at 26 weeks and had a nice little list of setbacks that amazingly, she overcame. She had IVH (interventricular hemorrhaging) which lead to Hydrocephalus. At about eight months old she had a permanent VP shunt placed. Life threw me the biggest curveball I could imagine. As if this experience wasn't hard enough to deal with, every Susan, Becky, and Felicia had some kind of advice that had absolutely nothing to do with my situation or style of parenting. "Don't vaccinate, vaccinate, isolate, don't isolate, Listen to WIC, Don't listen to WIC, buy a bottle of wine, drinking makes you a bad parent, let em' cry it out, crying out will turn them into serial killers." The list goes on. Although, I did listen to the "buy a bottle of wine" one.
Let's be real. There is always, and I mean always, going to be someone who thinks their way is better than yours. I started feeding my daughter baby food around four months old, per doctors orders. A lady in a similar situation as mine made a post on a "mom group" asking for advice on whether it was safe to start baby cereal before the suggested age on the label. I made a comment about our pediatrician's recommendations and all of the sudden the Facebook Med. University graduates started chiming in. I can't make this up. One lady told me my daughter would get autism from feeding her baby food too soon.
To think that a human-being can be absolutely perfect, is extremely far-fetched. So, to narrow that down to a mother being absolutely perfect, is flat out crazy. Many things come into play when raising a child, obviously. Things like genetics, environments, and experiences all shape a child's developing mind. A child who lives in the Bronx, NY needs different attention and support than a child growing up in Miami, FL. So, what Susan does to make sure her child doesn't become an asshole, is probably a lot different than what Becky has to do. We all are just aiming towards the same goal, right? Does it really matter how we get there? As long as our children grow up to be productive members of society, the mom who pops Xanax to make it through her day probably shouldn't tell the pot-smoking mom she has an illegal addiction and is endangering her child.
The main point to all of this is that you're always going to be judged for what you do. No mother is perfect. No way of parenting is perfect. There are a lot of people in this world that will try to tell you otherwise, but don't worry. You are doing just fine, whether you google every symptom, or follow every old wives tale your grandmother told you. What matters in the end is the bonds, the love, and the lessons your child receives from you. The mistakes we allow our children to make today will be the lessons they pass on to their children tomorrow.