I just watched this Momversation episode about the best piece of parenting advice you've ever given/received. I've received a LOT of advice, and I've doled out my fair share too (hopefully in a not-so-annoying way). But there are three things that I've figured out since I've become a parent that I come back to again and again.
1) Trust your instincts. This goes for everything. If your kid's doctor tells you something that doesn't sound right. If there's someone in your kid's world who doesn't feel like a safe person for him/her to be around. If your kid might be a tad bit late on meeting a milestone. Listen to what your instincts are telling you about the situation and act (or don't act) accordingly. And don't apologize for the way you feel. It's your job to protect and advocate for your child, even if that causes some friction between you and others, whether it be doctors, family, in-laws, friends, whoever.
2) Do what's best/what works for you and your family. It's such a cliche, but it's true. You have do what works for you and your family - and fuck everyone else's opinions. From co-sleeping to extended breastfeeding to formula feeding to sleep training to potty training to everything else under the sun, I think as long as you're keeping your child safe and healthy and happy, then there's nothing wrong with what you're doing.
3) Don't overthink it. I'm a big overthinker. In general, I obsess a lot. I used to do this a lot with Charlie, but one day it just hit me that parenting was a lot easier if I didn't. I am much more flexible now. Yes, there is a general way I'd like for each day to unfold (two naps, a good night's sleep, healthy meals, good family time, good independent play), but sometimes things just don't work out that way, for various reasons. I try not to worry about it. Charlie still doesn't sleep through the night consistently. He screams for attention. He prefers a bottle over a sippy cup. He won't let anyone change his diaper without a fight. He makes a huge mess when we go out to eat. He eats lint and whatever else he can find on the floor. But he's just a baby still, and that's what babies do. And while sometimes these things are stress-inducing, I know he'll grow out of them when he's ready. I know that I don't need to worry about it - until there's an actual reason to worry.
So there you have it, my free parenting advice! And with that, I'm done sharing my wisdom for the weekend.