Several weeks ago I took my six children to a state park about an hour from our home. We were meeting up with some other friends to take a hike and explore the beautiful fall colors. My older three were walking, while number 6 was strapped on me and numbers 4 & 5 were in a stroller. Of course they wanted to walk too, but because of some disobedience they had that privilege taken away. :)
Anyway, during our hike we walked past a couple of older women. I could hear one saying to the other, "There's your expert. Ask her your question. Look at all those kids." They proceeded to come up and ask me how old the baby was. At that point my little guy, Evan, was 6 months old. She wanted to know how much he ate and how often he was eating. I probably should have known better than to tell her because she began to tell me how her daughter was over feeding her 6 month old grand daughter. "She feeds that baby every two hours. The baby is so fat."
What I began to realize is that the comparing and the worry doesn't stop after your children are raised. The best advice I had to offer was that every baby is different and that she really shouldn't worry. Then I motioned toward my 14 year old and said, "When your grand daughter is 14 it won't matter how often she ate as a baby." And really that is the lesson I have learned from parenting for a little over 14 years. The things I worried about the most with my first two kids are things that don't really matter now. It didn't matter that he was breastfed or formula fed. It didn't matter if I followed a sleep schedule or not. It didn't matter that I wasn't a co-sleeper and let him cry it out. It didn't matter what kind of diapers I used or that I gave him a pacifier. What mattered was the love and care that was given. That we did what worked for us! I hope this grandma can take that "expert parenting" advice to heart. Let's learn to give each other grace. Most parents are doing the best they know at the time. By the way, I know I am NO parenting expert. :)