Why? Allow me to explain...
These commercials state that "by their second kid, every parent is an expert". To me, this implies that parents make so many mistakes with their first child, they have to have a second, so they can get it right. Guess what? I never plan on having more children. That's right... Never. Not ever. Don't want another. Period. So hearing these implications, whether from a silly diaper commercial, or straight from someone's mouth, is hurtful. More than that, it kinda pisses me off. I wouldn't change a single thing that we have done with Baby C. Not because I am so perfect, but because each thing we have done, has lead to a learning experience. Yes... Everything is new and exciting and we have no prior experience as parents. But that doesn't make us dunces. We have this thing called instinct.
Now... On second time parents being "experts"...
Sure, if I had a second child, I would kinda know what's coming. But do you know what I have heard from EVERY SINGLE one of my friends or family members with multiple children? "Oh my gosh... I knew that I would be tired again, and I remembered that these newborn days were rough, but I just did not remember how hard it was or how tired I would be!". And why is that? Well... Because every child is different. And every time you add to your family, it's new again. When you have a second child, you are only and expert on one. When you have a third, you're an expert on two. I think you get the picture. But I, with my only child, am also an expert. I am an expert on 10-month-olds. C just turned 11 months, so I don't know what this 11th month holds. And I don't know how to advise a mom on what to do with a toddler who won't eat his peas. But I have several ideas on how to advise a mom with a newborn to 10 month-old. I'm an expert on that; better yet, I'm an expert on my child. Plain and simple, I am.
Okay... Let's move on to the whole "you'll probably do things differently if/when you have another" thing...
My answer is... I'm not having one!!!!! Lol Seriously, though...
If I ever did miraculously end up having another child, I'm sure I would do some things differently - especially if I had a girl - but that's because another child would be a completely different person! I would, in no way, expect any other child to be anything like Baby C... He is the only Baby C in this world. Might I be more prepared for certain things, such as teething or supply issues? Sure. However, on the grand scheme of things, I have zero regrets; I would do absolutely everything the same way.
I would still breastfeed, cloth diaper, and baby wear. I would not do rice cereal - or cereal of any kind for that matter (whether or not I was working) - and I would still do baby-led weaning and let my child feed him - or herself. These are decisions my husband and I made based on research and our own personal convictions. Probably the only thing I would change with a second child, would be allowing myself to not be embarrassed about nursing my child in public without a cover. That's right. I would NOT use a cover. Trying to nurse an incredibly sweaty, hungry baby, while he tries to remove this thing that is covering his face while he eats, because he loves to see his mommy's face, is very difficult and hot and sweaty. And don't even go there about the exposed breast or nursing in public period... I will feed my child in the bathroom, or changing room, or car, when you eat YOUR meals in those places. So just don't start, and we can all remain friends. ;)
All of that said, allow me to share some parenting dos and don'ts with you:
DON'T : let people's opinions, judgments or input cloud what you feel about yourself as a parent, how you feel about your child, or what you believe is the right thing for YOUR family.
DO: Whatever the h@&! your instincts tell you is right.
In the meantime, if you want my opinion or advice, I am more than happy to share what I have learned as one of the experts on Baby C! (Expert alongside his daddy, of course.)
Parenting is the one job in the world that has maintained the status as "hardest job in the world" for all of forever. But there are still things that make it harder on some levels, as time goes on. One of those things is information. It is everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. And it is incredibly easy to access! But it doesn't mean that all information is equal. Some of it is B.S., some of it is useful, a lot of it is probably outdated, and most of it is completely useless when it comes to parenting. Yes, MH and I did research and read about things such as cloth diapering, breast feeding, rice cereal, baby-led weaning, and sleep. And some of the info we found was really helpful; some of it was completely useless; and some of it was just a tad bit strange. Other stuff, we have read and said to ourselves, "really!?! You made me buy a whole book just so you could tell me what I already know!? It's so obvious... Who doesn't know that!?". Some research or "research" has come to us via other family members or friends. And that's always such a sweet gesture, because you know they just want to help... Sometimes you get a whole article, sometimes you get a vague quoting of information. But you know what? Research is great and all, but there is zero research that is a "blanket" over any baby or that "applies to all". I can't tell you how many times I've heard things or read things about sleep, in particular, and thought to myself "ha! If only this researcher could meet Baby C!", or "what!? Hahaha! I don't even do that!? How could I possibly expect my baby to do it!?". And I admit that I have to catch myself as well. I am adamantly against cereal... No matter how people insist that Baby C would be a better sleeper or that I would have used it if I had worked more, because I would have needed the sleep. [I can explain my reasons to you if you ask, but this isn't about that.] However, just because we made the decision not to use any cereal for our child (or any unicorn-level-magically-potential-children), that doesn't mean it's the right decision for everyone. I will still speak out about what I believe to be right, but I won't push it on anyone, or tell them that they are wrong for thinking differently. No, I may not agree with a parent's choice to use cereal, in particular, but if it works for them, what business is it of mine? I am not a part of that family. So why would I imply to them that they will "get it right next time" by doing what I think is right, or simply because they might actually "know what they're doing", finally? All that this does - and I know from personal experience - is discourage, dishearten frustrate, and make parents feel as though they are doing absolutely everything wrong, simply because they don't have herds of children. And really... I'm sure that even the Duggars don't feel like experts 24/7!
In the end, I call B.S. even on those experts who truly are experts. Sure, they have great ideas on what could possibly work for a good majority of issues with a good majority of children. But sincerely, you are the true expert on your child right now. Not later. Not the next one. Not the one after that. This one. As well as the next one, or the ones after that. You are mother; you are father; you are expert.
Much love and Zebra hugs from me to you!