I’m a New Mom and These 3 Words Are the Best Parenting Advice I’ve Received

Get off the internet and enjoy the ride

new mom advice: illustration of mothers and their babies
artbesouro/Getty Images

In the age of the internet, it’s easy to believe that the answer to everything is out there somewhere. And if it isn’t, there’s someone on Reddit who can give their two cents.

And that’s how I found myself lost in the depths of the subreddit “r/SleepTrain,” trying to figure out once and for all why my infant woke up from every nap at 37 minutes on the dot and, more importantly, how to make it stop.

I’m a new mom, and I’m also somewhat of a control freak. As it turns out, these two things are very much at odds. Because babies don’t really care about your agenda and they’re excellent at doing whatever the hell they want. You were hoping to shower and sneak in a chapter of your book during their morning nap? Good one, Mom—baby’s awake an hour early. You wanted to go on a Target run? Wait a sec, baby just decimated their onesie and car seat. Control in parenting is an illusion, if that. You can seek answers to your problems, and they might even be out there. But will they work? Eh, maybe.

In the darkest days of this nap problem, I was venting to my mom, who raised her babies before public access to the World Wide Web. “You know, she’ll sleep eventually,” she said. “You might just have to give it some time and wait it out.” Wait it out: The three words I didn’t want to hear, but which turned out to be the best, most universally helpful parenting advice I received.

The cons: You’re not promised a timeline of events and you have to endure some level of frustration. The pros: It’s nearly guaranteed to work eventually. (It’s not like my baby is going need naps until she goes to college.)

As for the verdict, this wait-it-out approach has worked for me so far. My baby is now nearly eight months old, and the great 37-minute nap problem has largely resolved itself. (It’s taken about three months, plus some gentle sleep training, to slowly improve.) Breastfeeding issues: I waited it out and they got better. Separation anxiety? Yep, waiting it out, again.

We can all go to every parenting-related corner of the internet in search of lifechanging tricks that might make our babies sleep longer or cry less, and maybe if we keep at it every day for three weeks, it will work. But by that point, was it the Reddit advice that did the trick? Or did our babies just rapidly evolve on their own? I suspect it’s the latter, and I’d rather spend those three weeks trying to enjoy the ride than trolling mommy forums. (Not that I don’t still do that, let’s be real.)

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...