I know it’s a bit hypocritical to say what I’m about to because I write for a mom blog, but just hear me out when I tell you, “Stop reading so many parenting blogs!”
Let me explain. As a typical new mom trying to figure out this whole parenting thing, I was usually up late (and early!) nursing my son and would sometimes see a parenting article pop up on my Facebook feed that seemed interesting. Over time, I couldn’t NOT at least scan them to see what they were saying. I thought that if I didn’t read one that applied to me that I would miss something important. In the early months, I devoured them and took them as solid truth. Mainly because the author was usually a mom of three who must CLEARLY have this whole parenting thing figured out.
Wrong. So wrong.
Now four years later, I can’t scroll down my Facebook feed without seeing at least five shared parenting blogs or articles in a row, and it has become almost laughable, yet also super overwhelming. We all know the famous article on sleep that had us laughing, but this is honestly how I feel 99% of the time. My internal dialogue sometimes goes like this:
Before bedtime: “Pick up your toys, please.” Why am I saying please?? I am the mom, do what I say, period. Oh wait, but it models good manners and kids look to you for how to act. And then there’s the whole give your kid respect because how are they supposed to give me respect if I don’t give them respect. Blah blah blah.
Snack time: “Do you want a banana for a snack or apples with peanut butter?” I really hope he picks the banana. Much easier to get ready and clean up. Wait, why did I even offer the apple and PB then? Oh yeah, gotta give kids a choice, so they feel like they have some control over the situation. Or is it because it helps boost their self-esteem? Or helps with some cognitive something? Banana…pick the banana. Yes! Oh wait, he’s changing his mind…Ugh. Apples it is.
These are just two examples out of the hundreds that I could have given. When did we start parenting by other people’s standards and lose our voice along the way? I think a lot of the times, we do things because we fear that if we don’t parent a certain way, other moms may think, “Oooooh she must not have read that post on how important it is to give your kid a warning before it’s time to leave the playground…”
Forget that. Forget all of that.
I say trust your gut. You know your kid better than anyone–and only you and your husband are best qualified for the position. Take everything you read with a grain of salt. And try not to find your identity in what article you are sharing that day in hopes that other moms will think of how “you get it” or trying to read every article that comes your way. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. And if I’m being totally honest, it would take a lot to really mess your kid up. So I think you can let yourself off the hook and remind yourself that you’re doing a fantastic job. I say handle yourself the same way you should handle your parenting—with grace. Lots and lots of grace.
And please don’t hear me say not to strive to learn more or be open to new ideas, because obviously “it takes a village” is one of the most true sentiments out there. But as we seek knowledge, help, or encouragement in books or mommy blogs, just be sure to give more power to that voice inside your own head than to whatever author went viral this week. I say turn that uncertainty into confidence. Parenting is gaining confidence in unknown situations day-by-day and then living to tell the tale. Plus, I’ll let you in on a little secret: no one, not even mommy bloggers, knows what in the world they are doing — especially this one.