As soon as you make the call to friends and family that you are expecting a child, your world changes. Of course, you knew it would and hopefully, you are happy about this turn of events in your life. But whether you are or not, your course in life has taken a sudden and drastic shift.
One of the most unusual and difficult changes to deal with is transitioning from a person who knew what they were doing and had finally mastered themselves and their world to a person who is racked with fear and uncertainty. It is odd how in the realm of child rearing that the pursuit of knowledge and information frequently leads one to more questions and not answers. On top of this, you find friends and family and even perfect strangers bombarding you with passionate opinions about what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong in the practice of raising a child.
Prior to expecting your first child, you probably had some firm ideas about this. Most people either want to replicate their upbringing or create a version that is the complete opposite. But once it comes time to get down to the business of parenting and the reality settles in, the weight of decision-making and options and conflicting information becomes a strange burden that is difficult to shake.
The other disheartening development that frequently occurs as a result of these quests for the “best” method of child rearing are wildly adversarial groups of parents that not only break away into their own distinct groups but openly and viciously attack each other for disagreeing or not complying.
Here’s the best advice I can give for the entirety of the parenting spectrum from pre-birth to adulthood:
- Learn all you can, listen to your instincts, listen to your child and do what is best for you both. Always.
- Seek out the support of like-minded parents if you need to but don’t judge those who disagree. We are all in the same boat, trying our best and if you go on to have more than one child you will quickly learn, we all have children with different needs.
- Don’t judge but don’t hide your choices either. You might just give someone else the confidence to parent without fear as well. Don’t give away your power to make choices for your child and don’t hide in shame if you truly believe what you are doing is best.
- Reevaluate as needed. Just as children learn along a continuum, so should we. Don’t be afraid to be wrong from time to time. They are here to teach us a lot, if we let them.
- Be humble. Your child is your gift. Don’t forget that.
- Always take care of yourself. You are also your child’s gift. Don’t forget that either.
- Set priorities. No one can do it all.
- Practice gratitude.
- Practice forgiveness. Especially for yourself. You will make a lot of mistakes. You will have regrets. But you need to let them go. The goal of parenting is to do the best you can for what you know at the time. When you know better, do better. And move on.
- Be real. Authenticity will go a long way with your children as well as your fellow parents. You are not here to be perfect. You are here to try your best.
While we should all remain open to learning new information and should certainly continue to pursue as much quality knowledge and experience as we can as parents, at the same time, we need to parent in confidence.
The beauty of fearless parenting?
You can stand secure in your choices. You can share your ideas. And when that barrage of advice and opinions comes pouring in, it will not bother you. Instead, you can do what I’ve always done. Take what works for you and leave the rest behind. And don’t look back.
- Roots and Wings (ataleoftwomamas.wordpress.com)
- Parenting Tips – Essential Ways To Parent Your Kids (aboutthechildrenblog.com)
- I am “A Different Mommy” (alissats.wordpress.com)
- Does Sacrifice Make You a Better Mother? (theperfectmother.wordpress.com)
- When you’re “too tired to be a good mother” (beautifulinhistime.com)