Upon leaving the hospital with their newborn, I think most people are astounded by the realization that they are now in charge of keeping another human being safe and alive. Oh sure we mamas had nine-ish months to wrap our minds around the idea, but nothing can really prepare you for that moment when you meet your sweet one and soon they are in the car headed home with you. I remember thinking, “I’m still a kid myself, what am I doing?!” And I was 26 when my first kid was born!
It’s true that babies don’t come with a manual, but there are several books and articles out there that would lead you to believe there are “parenting experts.” Is your baby awake all night? There’s a book for that! Is potty training a nightmare? There’s a method that will work! Is your discipline plan not working? There’s a 5 step process that will work every time!
I’ve done it, I’ve read books, I’ve ascribed to the methods, I’ve given advice (I mean I AM a mommy blogger for pete’s sake!), I have probably even been a little sanctiMOMious at times, but I’m hear to let you in on a little secret….come close…..
WE’RE ALL JUST WINGING IT!!
That’s right we are all just figuring it out as we go along and I for one usually take comfort in that fact!
There are no parenting experts for YOUR kid because each human being on the planet is a unique individual! That can sound amazing to you or if you’re in the throws of sleepless nights and endless tantrums can feel very scary. All we can do as loving parents is keep trying, keep learning more about our kids, what makes them tick, what motivates them, what calms them, what nurtures them, what drains and exhausts them.
That process in and of itself can be exhausting as a parent, especially if what worked for Billy doesn’t work for Sam and then when you think you’ve figured Sam out, he changes over night! And then Harold comes along and somehow he’s completely different than the other two!
But that’s also the beauty of motherhood, getting to know these beautiful souls you grew, created, and nurtured! Nobody is going to know them like you do. Nobody will be able to read their expressions from across a room like you. Nobody will know how to hold them just right in their lap to calm them down. Nobody else will know talk to them about the difficult things they are facing.
But YOU will. Not at first. No manual or book can tell you these things. But winging it, through trial and error, you will become the parenting expert of your own child. And if you want to write a book or blog on those things, have at it, because you might just help or encourage another mama on the same road. But if you’re a mama who has read ALL the books and tried ALL the things and feeling defeated, don’t give up. Those authors haven’t met your kid and they don’t know you’re family.
You can read authors and if they give you ideas and their methods work then great! But keep in mind parenting isn’t a one size fits all thing. The best thing you can do is keep trying, keep winging it, keep loving your kids through the hard times and phases and milestones. We all have our trying times, but take heart in that there is no one who knows your child better than you. You can and will get to know them better through all of your life’s shared experiences.
When you start to feel jealous thinking some other mama has it all figured out, she seems put together and her kids never misbehave, remember no family is perfect. She’s winging it just like you are, and chances are if you sit down with one another, talk about it, you’ll find out you have more in common with her than you think! We are all on this motherhood journey together, so let’s learn from one another when we can, share what works, listen to each other when nothing seems to work, and remind one another we aren’t alone!