“You know best what your baby needs.” This baffling statement turns up in a lot of the kinder, gentler baby books, generally as a last resort. When none of the books or pediatricians are telling you what you want to hear, listen to your gut. You are the mommy and you know best.
Seriously? I call bullshit.
I want to say I know best roughly 17-24% of the time. Tops. Mostly, I have NO FUCKING IDEA what my baby needs. I’m sure there are some women who have this innate sense of what each whimper and sob and squeak means, and what needs to be done about it. In all but a few cases, however, I do not. And being new at this, I’m totally ok admitting that. Enter my friends with kids.
Throughout my pregnancy and my first year of motherhood, I’ve had three friends who serve as a sort of Greek chorus of mommy advice and comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten advice from many sources, including my mother, C’s mother, people in line at the Container Store, all my facebook acquaintances, and the ENTIRE INTERNET, but these are the three that I go to most frequently for help, for counsel, or for a firm slap upside the head.
I know each of them from a different chapter of my life (high school, when we were stupid; college, when we were smart; and post-college, when we were the STUPIDEST but really really hot). Below are their thoughts on several parenting topics, which I no doubt presented to them via panicked text message in the middle of the night. They have three very different styles, which is good for me; I get several perspectives to sort through before figuring out how to proceed. Because really, God forbid I make a decision on my own.
On sleep training:
Mommy 1) Dude. Don’t be a wiener. You have to be the parent and he has to sleep. Lock yourself in another room, have a bottle of wine, and let him cry. It’ll suck, but everyone will be happier in the morning.
Mommy 2) You don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right in your heart. It’s not a problem until it’s a problem for you and your family. Your son knows he is loved and safe and whatever you decide will be the right thing.
Mommy 3) …ummm…it’s probably fine.
On skin rashes:
M1) Dude. I’m not a doctor. Google it. Call the pediatrician. Put some Aveeno on that shit.
M2) It’s so scary when that happens! Poor little babies. It’s so hard on your heart when they are uncomfortable and you can’t help. Do you need to talk?
M3) …ummm….it’s probably fine.
On occasionally feeling angry at the baby:
M1) Dude. Sometimes they are jerks. Just because they are babies doesn’t mean they aren’t jerks.
M2) That’s the worst feeling! Just apologize and give him kisses. It helps them learn that everyone makes mistakes and should say they’re sorry!
M3) …ummm…it’s probably fine.
Thing is, in spite of the thoughtful responses and varied paths to the answer, in the end, it’s Mommy 3 for the win. She’s always right. No matter how we get there, they’re probably fine.