Stories of life in the suburbs with Husband and our daughter Squishy and son Button!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who is Expert Mommy?

"Don't do that to that baby."
"Hold her like this."
"You're doing that all wrong."
"Just let him cry."
"Nothing's wrong, it's just a cough."

Do any of these sound familiar to you? When you're a new, young parent, like Husband and I, sometimes you get a little too much advice from the older generations. I do like advice, but only when I ask for it. When it gets to the point that I want to tear my own hair out, I just think of this quote and take a deep breath...

"You are the expert on your children, and I'm the expert on mine."

That's right. When I was a baby, my mom was there for every second of my life. She knew everything about me. She wouldn't let anything hurt me. It's a special feeling that you only have when you have a baby. It's called that motherly instinct. I call it being an expert mommy. I try my best to brush off the unwanted advice as my mom (or whomever is giving it) as another expert mommy relating to my youth and situation as a young new parent.

I encourage you to remember this phrase. Use it if you need to.

I know when Squishy sucks her fingers after a bottle she's tired. I know she doesn't like back snaps or butt ruffles on PJs. She hates sleep sacks. She likes to hold her own bottle. If you put her in the swing she'll poop. If you lotion her face first, you won't make it past her shoulders. I am an expert mommy.

Here are two stories to illustrate my point...

The first time I left Squishy with my mom, I was a bit nervous. Not at my mom's babysitting skills, but just because I hadn't left her with anyone outside our apartment. I started talking about everything I could think of from formula measurements, holding positions, and gestures. My mom looked at me with a look on her face.

My mom: "It's like I've never had a baby before."
Me: "Well, you've never had my baby. I would appreciate it if you would listen to what I'm telling you so I feel better about leaving her with you."

I said it with a nervous/mean tone. Squishy did fine with her, she didn't cry once. But that doesn't mean that my mom did a better job than I could have. I'm the expert on my baby.

My friend's baby has a heart condition, and has had several surgeries. One time, she was nervous about her daughter. The baby hadn't slept and wasn't her happy self, though she wasn't showing any obvious/normal signs of sickness. She decided to take her to the ER and called to tell her parents.

Her dad said: "You don't need to take her in every time she coughs."
The nurse at the ER said it was most likely just an ear infection.

She was admitted for heart failure, underwent a massive surgery a week later, then was placed on the heart transplant list. It all started with my friend having a feeling. An expert mommy feeling.

Welcome to the club, expert mommies. It's a great group to be a part of.


  1. Not part of the expert mommy club yet ;) but I just wanted to say that I love the idea of a picture of the week, and her mohawk is adorable! :)

  2. Thanks, Bri! I finally started playing with the sidebar. My goal is to change it every Sunday.

  3. I completely, 100% agree with the business about being an Expert Mommy. I know for a fact that my mom and my mother-in-law will snort in laughter at even the SUGGESTION that I might know more about my own baby when he/she is born. My mother-in-law, Lisa, believes that since she is an RN, my husband's mom and ergo the baby's grandmother, and also is under the delusion that if she has an opinion on something that automatically qualifies it for publishing in all of the latest medical journals, then she MUST know more than me when it comes to my baby. She's already tried her hand at dictating how my pregnancy will go. She wants all sorts of papers and numbers and proof and official updates--like she's the one providing my OB care. It's sort of less like I'm giving birth to our first child and more like I'm the surrogate, disposable vessel brood mare that is the incubator for her grandchild.

    Phewwww. Kind of turned into a rant there. But I'm sure you see what I mean. I really love reading your blogs about your endeavors in cooking and your Squishy baby. It puts a smile on my face. :)

  4. I can relate to your situation, Katie. My husband and I think think a lot of our "prenatal prowess" came from our generation having the internet. I asked my mom certain questions about pregnancy, seeing that she's a certified expert in the field, but read the pregnancy guide every week. We did our own research to weed out the stereotypes and old wives tales about pregnancy. Knowing this information gave me more confidence in our child rearing skills once Squishy came.