I think every one should have the opportunity to be a mother for just one day. You will not believe how quickly your opinion on nearly EVERYTHING will change. I must begin by admitting that I was one of those awful, judgy people pre-baby. I was exclusively breastfeeding, we were using cloth diapers and Dane wasn't watching TV until at least two years old. Well, nearly seven weeks into this thing and my child has consumed 10oz of formula, worn pampers more days than not (though we're spending more and more time in cloth!) and I'll be darned if that boy isn't happy as a clam watching football (he really just likes the glowing screen and movement, he's not really watching TV). But, oh, there's more...
Cosleeping? Not for us. I love my husband and our bed is for us. I will have a perfect little baby who will sleep in his bassinet and then transition beautifully into his crib. Ummm, why didn't someone slap me. Do you know where Dane slept his first three weeks? IN OUR BED! And, before you judge me, sweet little mother-to-be-with-no-kids-yet, try nursing every hour ON THE hour and staying awake. If you can do it every night for three weeks, you win mother of the year. This mama could not. It was much easier to snuggle in with my little guy. Praise Jesus, he now sleeps peacefully in his bassinet.
The week before Dane was born I stopped in to Babies R Us to get some last minute things. I stood in line behind a mom with a fussy baby. Frazzled mom held her armful of purchases while trying to plug her baby's mouth with a pacifier. "It's not a plug", I thought to myself. "It's for soothing and for her to exercise her non-nutritive need to suck, lady." I had read books. I was knowledgeable about those kinds of things, you know. Flash forward 7 weeks. You will find a frazzled, young mom holding a fussy baby standing in Wal-Mart just trying to buy her brother-in-law and sister a freakin' birthday card. Can you guess what she was doing as she waited in the checkout line? Yep, you guessed it. Plugging her baby's mouth with a paci. I mean, I was trying to soothe him, right? My apologies to that poor young woman in BRU. I get it now.
I could fess up to probably a million other things. The point is, you can read every book ever written on parenting and babies and try to follow every morsel of your great aunt Bertha's advice, but when that 8lb bundle makes his grant entrance you have to put some skills to work. People mean well but only you know what's right for you baby. Do I get funny looks for breastfeeding, cloth diapering and choosing not to circumcise Dane? Yes. Do I give funny looks to people who tell me they aren't vaccinating? Probably. God has entrusted us with the most precious of gifts and I have to do everything in my power to ensure that he is safe, healthy and grows up knowing and loving God's word. How you accomplish those things is up to you.
Being a mama (or daddy) is hard work. Nod and smile when you get advice... and then plug that baby's mouth with a paci! :)
PS: please note the tongue-in-cheek nature of this. I'm just a mama trying to figure all this out. :)