What’s the One Thing You Need to be a Good Parent?

Stop light showing boundaries

You need boundaries.

I know. It probably sounded like I had a new gadget, or book that every parent should read. And instead, I’m just therapizing. (That’s not a word but you know what I mean). Boundaries, according to Merriam Webster, are:

something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.

So I’m saying that every parent needs the ability to set limits. For themselves, for their children, and for all the other people that will have things to say about their family. When you decide what is and is not allowed in your home, and who makes those decisions, you’re setting boundaries, and you’re protecting your family and yourself. You’re taking hold of your right to establish your family’s values, and that is difficult and important.

If you just know when to say no or yes, whose opinion you trust, and when to trust your gut, then everything else will flow from that.

But it’s easy for me to say this, as a doula whose job is not to have an agenda. Determining who gets a say-so in your life, and in your child’s life will guide has to be one of the hardest things for many new parents.

There are internet forums, websites, magazines, family members, doctors and even doulas that have opinions on everything. Everything! From what foods you shouldn’t eat while pregnant, to how long you should breastfeed to how to get your baby to sleep through the night, you’re going to hear lots of opinions.  

And most of these opinions are full of judgment. The “mommy wars” are bigger than just the moms next door. They’re on our social media, all over the news, and in the office next to yours.

And that’s why you won’t get a list of opinions and recommendations from me. I respect your boundaries, and am just here to help you sort through them.


The idea for this blog, like most of my blogs, came from a conversation I had earlier today. An acquaintance of mine was bothered by something on my personal Facebook page. I was initially kind of stunned, and sorry that something I was a part of had hurt her. I hate hurting people!

But I also felt a lot of other things, like irritation, and anger. And I’ve learned that often, those feelings mean boundaries have been violated.

Because I like to respond rather than react, I took some time away from the conversation to think about it, and especially where my feelings were coming from. I also considered her feelings, because I appreciated her honesty. But in the end, I had to make it clear that no other person gets to decide how I live my life, but me.

And that’s what made me think of you all, the clients and parents that read this.

Parents come up against people’s opinions from sun up to sundown! And you have to contend with so much judgment every day that sometimes I think it’s a miracle you all get up in the morning.

But the boundaries are what tells us whose opinions matter. Hint: in the long run, it’s mostly just your own.

So if you’ve landed on my blog because you have questions about if it’s okay to consider an epidural, the pros and cons of sleep training, whether it’s okay to formula feed your baby, if you can co-sleep, or any number of other questions that often invite judgement, I have questions for you:

  • What do you want to do?

  • What does your gut say is right for your family?

  • Who do you trust for advice?

And frankly, to hell with everything else.

So today, I wish you the ability to trust yourselves as you journey through life with your little people.

May you have strong coffee, strong drinks, strong pelvic floors and the strongest of boundaries.

1 Comment

  1. […] remember that you don’t have to talk about this with unsupportive people. Boundaries are good to have. […]

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