Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

The only parenting advice you’ll ever need

I know some of you guys who read this here blog are pregnant or trying to become pregnant so in the spirit of wanting to help my fellow women out, I figured I’d drop some parenting knowledge on you since in my almost 10 years as a mother I’ve picked up a thing or two (even though much of the internet tells me I’m less of a mother because I only have the one kid but fuck them and also, I do know some shit). Hope it helps. 

The single most important thing you can do as a parent is this: DO WHATEVER THE FUCK FEELS BEST AND RIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY. 

That is it. That’s legit all you need to do. 

Breast feeding vs. bottle feeding.

Daycare vs. staying home.

Vaginal birth vs. C-section.

Jarred baby food vs. making your own. 

Disposable diapers vs. cloth ones. 

Comfort them vs. let them cry it out.

Private school vs. public school.

Co-sleeping vs. sleeping in a crib (although, a caveat. If you want co-sleep, please research how to do it safely. And always, always, back to sleep)

Sedan vs. minivan.

Small house vs. larger house.

Losing the baby weight right away vs. taking a long time (or never).

The list goes on and on and on and on. There are so many choices and variables to consider and most of the time, it’s difficult to pick which direction you want to go (pro parenting secret: most of it is trial and error anyway) and once you do, someone is bound to tell you you’re wrong and then spend 20 minutes pontificating on why you’re wrong. Fuck those people. They don’t live in your house.

Also, spending time on Pinterest and many of the mommy sites can be overwhelming and at some point, make you feel completely inadequate because you’re not that crafty or remember to do those “I’m 4 months old today” pictures that are trendy and all over social media (pro parenting secret: Not posting a monthly photo update is not screwing up so please, for the love of whomever you believe in, don’t beat yourself up if you forget or just simply don’t want to. You are raising or growing a human being. That is time consuming enough without having to pose for pictures). But I assure you, you’re not nor will you be. You know what you’re doing and what you want to do and once the baby is here, you will know what is right for your child even if half or more of the time it doesn’t feel that way. Seriously, more than once I looked at my daughter when she was an infant and thought “what the fuck am I doing? How badly am I screwing up right now?” 

I’m sure I did plenty of things wrong. Still do. But she survived and she’s doing quite fine. Because I listened to myself, my instincts, and, as the one spending the majority of time with her, I knew what she meant when she cried (and yes, rest assured, you will eventually understand what all those different cries mean) and I learned what comforted her and made her happy and that’s what I did. And that’s what you’ll do, too. There’s a steep learning curve but you’ll get there. And you’ll be a great mom.

I PROMISE.

OH. One more thing. Your child does not have to have an Instagram ready nursery or outfits in order for you to be a great parent. Most of that shit is staged anyway. 

 

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P.S. I know I didn’t really mention dads in this post and honestly, I didn’t for a bunch of reasons. But. If the dad is around and willing to help, LET HIM. Really, if anyone is around and willing to help, let them (well, obviously within reason. Safety first). Get some fucking sleep. Eat a decent meal. Have coffee with a friend. Read a book. Just because you’re a mom now doesn’t mean you’re no longer a human being. 

17 Comments

  1. Kristin

    Ugh to the curated gender reveals and or Pinterested pictures/birthday parties/nurseries. Not to mention curated bumpdates.
    My best friend in Colorado has two littles and she works and she literally does it all (with her husband doing a lot too). I’m in awe of it, really. I’ll send her pictures of these things I see online and we have a good chuckle about what a “bad” mom she is because she forgot to bumpdate every week of her pregnancy.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I really don’t care for the expression “does it all” when it comes to parenting because that’s one of those trigger phrases that tends to fuel the mommy wars. So many moms “do it all” and stay quiet about it. It’s just what you do. You get shit done because you have to.

      Reply
      1. Kristin

        I suppose when I say “does it all” I mean she does it all and stays quiet about it. She doesn’t IG, FB, or blog how busy she is. She just does it. I admire that. It’s what most moms do.

        Reply
  2. Heather

    I love this. And I 100% agree. I definitely totally agree with the idea of letting people help if they want to. We are super blessed to have extremely eager and helpful parents/in-laws and I definitely lean on them (and feel grateful for them!) in this crazy world of parenting!! If anyone ever asks me for parenting advice, the one thing I tell them (and I truly believe this myself) is that any parent who is TRYING to do the best for their child (whatever that is to them!!) is a great parent. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be present and read to your children (but that’s again just my personal two cents ;)). Awesome post.
    Heather recently posted…Semi-Charmed Summer Reading Challenge: Completed!My Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      One thing moms (including myself at times) need to get over is that simply because a parent is making different choices than you would make doesn’t mean they’re a bad parent. They’re just doing what they think is best (even if you can sit back and see how they’re choices are hurting their kid, they don’t want to hear it and also, it’s best just to shut up and stay out of other people’s affairs. Gossip behind their backs like civilized adults). I think this is why I get so enraged when I hear about parents approaching other parents in stores or in public or whatever to criticize them. Are you perfect? No? Because there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. So shut it.

      Reply
  3. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    AMEN. bitches need to chill when it comes to telling every parent how they’re doing it wrong; like STFU, do you even know my life?! i’ve had people say all kinds of wack shit to me that i had to shout DO YOU EVEN LIVE WITH ME? NO? THEN SHUT THE HELL UP.

    another pro-parenting tip – 100% of everyone are still figuring shit out when it comes to parenting. all those people you see their perfect lives and perfect houses and perfectly perfect everything IS ALL LIES. ain’t NO FUCKING WAY a house with kids is perfectly tidy or the white couches still white unless you lock the door to every single room and put those kids in a bubble so they don’t touch or mess anything up. it’s called LIFE and life is messy; life is especially mess with kids because kids are messy tyrants and have no concept of organization or cleaning, for that matter. obviously, i have a lot of opinions about this, LOL.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I feel like I should copy your comment and add it to the post because YES.

      Reply
  4. Jess

    Thank you – I am totally terrified of messing up my kid but we are going to do our best to do what’s right for her. I have come to realize that whatever you choose to do, there will always be a naysayer on the other side. I think that’s why I don’t even bring things up sometimes, because I plan to do what we’re going to do and if someone doesn’t agree, oh well. I mean, there are some things I feel strongly about – like, hey, get your kid vaccinated, but there are lots of things in between that will not be a huge influence on anyone else’s lives whatever I choose.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      You will do fine. Seriously. Absolutely fine.

      You’re right. There will always be some contrarian asshole telling you what you’re doing wrong. I went through it; all new moms do. But just smile, nod (and say “fuck you” if necessary), and completely ignore them.

      Reply
  5. Rebecca Jo

    Preach it… I have a bunch of new moms in my bible study group & they are always talking about how hard it is to measure up … & I’m like, “Measure up to who?”… its crazy how everyone has a say in everyone else’s parenting decisions. Makes me kind of glad I didnt have to deal with this not having kids of my own .
    Rebecca Jo recently posted…What’s up WednesdayMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I so wish I could come in and talk to those moms. I feel like there’s even more pressure on them than there was on me barely 10 years ago because social media. It’s ruining people’s lives and confidence.

      Reply
  6. Nadine

    I love this post! I am under no assumptions that my life is going to look perfect when baby gets here. And one of my friends added me to a few “mommy groups” on Facebook so that I could see their conversations and ask questions if I had any but I don’t think I will ever post in there because OMG these women are ridiculous. Someone will mention something about formula feeding or their kid going to daycare and everyone goes nuts on them for being a bad mom. Ummm some people cant physically breastfeed. Or maybe it just didn’t work for them. That doesn’t mean that their kid isn’t as good as someone else. It just baffles me. There is so much shaming.

    Growing up, I had a very young mom. We always joke around that we grew up together. There were times she struggled and she didn’t know what she was doing, she was just figuring it out as she went along. We have one of the best mother/daughter relationships of anyone I know. I turned out just fine. Well, I mean at least she isn’t to blame for any issues I may have…ha! But you get what I am saying.

    There were all these gender reveal party pictures on Instagram and Chris looked over at me and was like…we aren’t doing that lame shit. I am laying that down right now. Haha! I agree. Things have gotten a little bit much. And it is just more ways for others to feel inadequate. You do you and I will do me, thanks. 🙂
    Nadine recently posted…Lesson LearnedMy Profile

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  7. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I’m not a Mom, but many of my friends are and I’m in awe of all the things they have to juggle. And it is weird, as an outsider, seeing their world and the bickering around the best way to raise kids. And yes, those curated, staged moments to make it look like motherhood is easy and picturesque 24/7 are BS. I’m with you – you know what’s best and right for your family. I can tell a good mom, not from the staged, happy pictures she posts, but by the way she talks about her kids. You’re a good Mom, Jana. Your daughter in lucky to have you!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…Say Goodbye to Anxiety and Reclaim Your LifeMy Profile

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  8. kristen

    love this! i will try and remember it when the time comes. KC stresses out about certain things about our non existent children and i always just say there is no such thing as a perfect parent, every child has some issue with their parent(s), so no matter how hard we try, we will somehow fuck up and that’s gotta be okay. from what i know online, you’re a fabulous mom and i hope to be a good one too! one day lol. i won’t be doing monthly photos or anything though. i think it’s cute that people do them, but eh.

    Reply
  9. Jenn @ Optimization, Actually

    I love this!!! We’re learning about some of this stuff now, but some of these things I wasn’t even aware of yet. Parenting seems to bring out the worst in people – they get so opinionated and judge-y about it. Every time I start to stress about the things I’m not doing “right” during pregnancy, I remind myself that my friend followed almost none of the medical recommendations, read zero pregnancy books or articles, and her daughter is fine. My baby isn’t going to implode or die or develop horrendous medical conditions if I slip up and have a few unhealthy days.

    Reply
  10. Jackie

    I am not a parent, but I love this post because it’s so weird to me how judgy some parents are of other parents. (I’ve always had the desire to adopt over having a child, and you wouldn’t believe some of the comments people have given me.) I also love reading how motherhood is viewed in a completely different manner in other countries.
    Jackie recently posted…CurrentlyMy Profile

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  11. Brittany Pines

    I am new to the mommy club, but your advice seems spot on to me. I feel really mean most of the time because people say things and I’m kind of just rolling my eyes and going “Yeah not going to follow that advice.” But…that means I have to realize that my other new mom friends probably feel the same way about any advice I give :-p

    Reply

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