Scenario A: You’ve put your baby on our schedules BUT your sister-in-law tells you all the reasons why it’s better if you let the baby dictate her own schedule.

Scenario B: You’re using our 15-Minute Rule BUT your best friend says letting your baby cry for any amount of time is dangerous, cruel, mean, and most definitely NOT the way to go.

Scenario C: You’ve put your baby in the nursery, starting on night one at home BUT you’re hearing from your mother-in-law that she should sleep in your room, in a bassinet, for at least the first three months.

Scenario D: You’ve started vaccinating your baby BUT your neighbor gives you an earful about why she believes you really shouldn’t.

If you’re a practically perfect parent, odds are you’ve heard all of the above scenarios and probably much worse. It takes real guts to parent with a  schedule in today’s environment! And everyone’s got an opinion about it all of course. So we take our hat off to you for sticking to your guns when it’s not popular to schedule in your inner circle.

We want to help!

To help stave off the stress, frustration, strained relationships, and TEARS, we’ve compiled our 5 go-to strategies for you:

1.Remember: it’s most likely that this person really loves you and therefore actually wants what’s best for you and your baby.

Your baby is a hugely important part of your life, but she is also important to the other people circling your new nuclear family. People who genuinely care about you will be naturally bonded to your baby and in a very special way that will make them want to offer their help. Remembering this may give you the perspective you need to handle their interference more gently and in a way that leaves everyone’’s feelings unhurt (or at least a little bit less hurt). But regardless of the advice, remember too that this is your baby, and in the end, only you and your partner have the power and authority to raise your baby the way that you think is best. That means you’ve already won the war! So if the relationship with the “advice offender” is truly important to you, you can find a loving way to work through it so they can continue to be a part of your lives.

2.Give them a chance to explain where they’re coming from.

It’’s a completely natural first-response to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you, but chances are you are not really being criticized. The odds are better that the other person is just sharing with you what they feel to be really valuable insight, based on their own experiences. Try your best to listen because: a) you’ll learn more about where the other person is sincerely coming from, and b) you may actually learn something valuable — who knows?

3.Ask for their ear too.

By explaining your methods, philosophy, and intentions you’re giving the other person the opportunity to understand better what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Times have, and always will, change in the world of parenting but being a “practical parent” is actually more in line with your parents’ parenting methodology than today’s — so give the other person a chance to learn about it. Of course, if they’re still badgering you…politely but firmly ask them to respect your decisions in the choices you’re making in parenting your baby.  And sometimes just saying out loud that it’s your baby is all they need to hear to stop themselves from going on and on.

4.WALK AWAY if it’s not getting anywhere.

If the other person won’t budge or if they’re non-diplomatic, insensitive, or in any way rude to you — they’re not respecting you.  In this scenario, our advice is to smile, nod, and make a non-committal response such as “Good to Know!” and then move on by either walking away or, if you’re seated next to them, by turning your head and beginning to talk to someone else. That’s sure to get your point across without letting yourself get dragged through the dirt. You must teach this kind of person that you won’t sit around, nodding dumbly, while they chew your ear off. Life is really too short — don’t waste this sacred time in your life by allowing combative, pushy people to invade your family’s precious space. Let the “Mama Bear” (or “Papa Bear!”) in you wake up and get protective!

5.Pick your battles, but stand your ground too.

If your mother-in-law insists that your baby needs to wear socks with her shoes (even when it’s 75 degrees out!), go ahead and put the darn socks on her. It won’t hurt your baby and it’s just temporarily placating your MIL. However, never surrender on issues that are truly important to you or the health and well-being of your baby. You would only be proving to that person that they have undue influence over your family — or worse, that you clearly need their advice to survive. Remember, you are the adults. Act like it by not being afraid to be vocal and to set the boundaries your family and friends (and acquaintances) need to know about your family.

Posts to share: Why Use PPB Schedules?, Back to the Future: Retro Parenting Today, Nursery, Night One!, All Our Schedules, How to Become a Practical Parent, The PPB Story