When you first become a parent, you realize pretty quickly that there will be many a bump in the road. If you were expecting it to be all peaceful sleeping babies and 24/7 smiles, you’re in for a rude awakening. And when you’re going through all the many hurdles that lead to sleepless nights and unwashed hair, suddenly everyone has an opinion on what you should be doing to solve the problem at hand.
There’s no official manual on parenting, but there are plenty of people that love to give you their opinions and tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you should parent. But even when you’re asking for advice, there are just some things that no one has a definitive, works-for-everyone answer for.
Sometimes you just have to live through it and be thankful when you’re on the other side.
1. Getting a baby to sleep through the night.
With three children, I’ve had three very different babies when it comes to sleep habits. I’ve had one that slept well since day one and the other two who loved to keep me up at night. No matter what I tried, what book I read, what gadget I bought, what advice I received (or even what a sleep trainer told me to do) —none of it worked.
I’ve come to realize that some babies just like to wake up in the middle of the night. Some need the comfort of being with a parent. Eventually they realize that sleep is a good thing and start sleeping through the night and most of the time it’s not because of what you did or didn’t do.
2. Preventing public tantrums.
If someone had a way for this to never happen to me again, I’d give them all of the money in the world. But alas, I haven’t found that person and it happens to all of us. Our kids see something in a store that they like, you say no, and their whole world falls apart right there for all to see.
You can walk away and pretend like you don’t know them, you can give in, you can attempt to put them in the cart to get the heck out of there … but I guarantee no matter which path you take, that won’t be their last tantrum in a public space.
My son is a biter. He bites a lot in our home. Thankfully he hasn’t started doing it out in public just yet. I’ve asked friends, polled Facebook, talked to his pediatrician … but none of their advice has worked. He’s still biting.
Thankfully a lot of the people that have offered advice have also told me that either they bit when they were young, or their child has done the same thing and eventually they got over it. It’s just another phase that some kids go through and there ain’t a lot we can do about it.
I’ve breastfed all three of my children and have had issues with all of them thanks to my lack of supply and their failure to gain weight as a result. I’ve seen my pediatrician, a lactation consultant, joined lactation groups, taken the pills, eaten the right foods, but I still had a low supply.
Breastfeeding is hard work and no matter what people will tell you or how they will try to help, sometimes it just doesn’t work the way that you planned. And that’s okay.
5. Picky eaters.
I’ve got one child who will eat anything and one who only wants grilled cheese and snacks. I fed them the same way since the day they were born and they’ve turned out completely different from one another. I’ve tried everything to get my picky eater to eat more (especially more healthy foods) but she flat out refuses. I’ve sat at the table with her for over an hour trying to get her to eat and it doesn’t work. I’ve read the books and asked nutritionists for advice. Everyone seems to have the “answers” but none of them have worked.
6. Getting a baby to love the car.
My youngest son hates the car. He screams as soon as I open the car door. He’s hated being in a car seat since he was a couple months old. Now, at 17 months and many many miles spent in the car, he still hates it. No activity or song will help soothe him. The car doesn’t help him sleep like some other babies. No, it just encourages him to scream more. When someone has the answer or the trick that works and I don’t hear screaming as I’m driving, I’d love to know!
7. Getting a child to act appropriately on an airplane.
Much like the car, my son hates airplane rides as well. My daughters were always so well-behaved on airplanes and I always laughed when I heard about those stories of parents being kicked off of planes because of the behavior of their child.
Well, that was until six months ago when I took my son on a flight and just about died from humiliation and frustration. He screamed the entire time and no toy, food, entertainment, or amount of walking him around would soothe him. Everyone on the flight was willing to offer advice (probably because they were just as annoyed as I was) but not one thing helped. He only fell asleep right as we were landing. We had plans to travel to Europe this summer and promptly cancelled them as soon as we experienced a plane ride with our son. Sigh.