If you are a parent, you likely remember how daunting it was when that little bundle of joy was first placed in your arms. As soon as you realize you’re pregnant, you begin formulating ideas on how you want your family life to be. Many of your expectations were likely based on how you were raised, whether good or bad. Once you begin making those decisions on family life, though, you start realizing how many labels come with parenting.

There are so many books, experts, theories, research, and parenting blogs out there, and every style mentioned has a label. Before becoming a parent, I never would have believed the number of labels available for parenting styles and how often I would be asked what my parenting style is. You may be labeled a helicopter parent or a free range parent. Perhaps he practiced attachment parenting or went for the cry it out method. Maybe you believe in weaning a baby at one year, or practice baby led weaning. There are more parenting labels and I feel is appropriate, many of which I have never even heard of.

Now, I understand that we as a society prefer to be efficient with our words. When I became a new parent, though, like many other parents, I found myself constantly asking if our doing things the right way with all the parenting labels out there, the rules behind each label can make parenting more difficult.

Shortly after becoming a parent, I realized that trying to follow any of the labels only stressed me out and made me miserable. Everyone parents differently. Even if you claim to follow a certain label, there are extremes within that label. Though my parenting may fall under some of the labels used, I adopt the advice given and do what I feel is right for me and my family.

If you are a new parent struggling with labels, my advice is to listen to your instincts. Simply do what makes you and your family happy. Only you can determine what is best for your family.

These days, I could care less about a label. I simply call myself a parent and couldn’t be happier.