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Family 411: Mother knows best

CINCINNATI (Sheila Gray) -- Motherhood is one of the great joys of life for a lot of women, but it sometimes opens the door for critics.

From social media to your mother-in-law, most moms will tell you, somebody always thinks they know better, but there are strategies to help moms control the feedback.

The Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center is a place where moms can come together with their kids and other moms, while also taking a break from decision making. Music teacher Nancy Huey is a mother of seven, and she sees the pressures new moms face, especially from people who want to offer advice.

"I know as a mom myself, you just take everything on, and they want to do everything that's right, and they hear this from somebody, and this from somebody else," said Huey.

Some local moms weighed in on the Local 12 Facebook page.

Laura wrote, "When I had my first child I heard that I was a bad mom because he had acid reflux, I was a bad mom because I allowed him to have a binkie, I was a bad mom because there were times that I was exhausted and needed a break."

Tiffiny said, "It makes me sad that I am criticized and judged harshly at times. Why can't more moms support one another in a positive way?"

Mother of two Kathy Noland agrees it can get frustrating.

"More people just saying it gets better. It gets better. To have people only talk about the negative seemed like it would gloss over all the good moments," said Noland.

Duke University Psychologist Robin Gurwitch says some people can be very well meaning but very intrusive. She advises, instead of picking a fight, pick a strategy.

"Think through, 'what can be my standard response? Thanks for your advice. We're working on that,'" said Gurwitch.

Parents can also deflect directives by asking for help.

"Is there something you might ask advice on from a well-meaning person, so they feel they're contributing." she suggested.

But if it turns into conflict, you may have to set some limits for your mother-in-law or nosey neighbor. One of the best ways to get perspective is by spending time with other families like yours, maybe at a class like this one or a playdate. Mom Stephanie Dillard says it helps her to talk with moms whose kids are a bit older than her 20-month-old, Henry.

"If you can have people that understand where you are, it can be really helpful as opposed to suggesting things," said Dillard.

Although no mother may ever have it all figured out, Huey loves seeing the moment when the mothers in her class realize what works for them, and that they know best for their own children.

Don't forget you can always ask your pediatrician if you're unsure whether your child is hitting his or her developmental milestones.

CLICK HERE to log onto the American Academy of Pediatrics website.


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