Maybe you’ve been having issues with breastfeeding for weeks, and you’ve tried every intervention, and your friend tells you to “just relax” in a dismissive way. “Just relax” is one of the most unhelpful things you can hear as a nervous new mom.
Even if you know that someone is just trying to help you feel at ease, it’s frustrating and invalidating when you want to be able to relax but simply feel wound up.⠀
Furthermore, when someone says “just relax,” it can feel like a high-pressure command that actually interferes with your ability to let go, like telling someone with insomnia to “just go to sleep.”
If a well-intentioned friend is telling you to “just relax” in response to your venting about a parenting problem, you can ask him to just listen, or you can explain how counterproductive that advice really is.
Build a team, real and virtual, of accredited experts and trusted friends and family you can go to for information, advice, and the occasional reality check.
Choose the people who not only have the best advice but also communicate in a way that makes you feel supported. Your aunt may be a pediatric nurse, but if she goes to the worst-case scenario, making you feel panicked when you call about your baby’s runny nose, she may not be the best person to call if your baby falls and bumps her head.⠀
It’s important that mothers try to catch themselves before they criticize each other. What unites women as mothers is much stronger than differences of opinion or parenting styles:
Every mother wants what’s best for her child, even if how she gets there doesn’t always look the same. If women are going to continue to advance in equality, none of us can afford to waste our energy on “mommy wars.”⠀
All Images credit @beckybarnicomics on Instagram
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