Published on Mar 29, 2018
Parenting is a bit like a lifetime of a guessing game with no clear rules. The game where everyone watches you play, and everyone has something to say.
Since the moment my girls were born I remember asking myself when will they finally sleep through the night, am I following the routine enough or too much and are these aliments good for them or will they cause allergies?
There were no right answers then and to be honest it hasn’t changed much. I’m still doubting my discipline, asking myself constantly if I’m too permissive or too strict and if I should force them to eat the veggies they hate or just let them choose food for themselves.
Us moms, at any given day we are bombarded with tips and how to’s: what to feed a baby with, when to start the solids, how to potty train a toddler, what to never feed a toddler with, how to play with kids so they develop social skills and why you shouldn’t play with them so they can develop their imagination on their own. There’s so much contradictory advice out there, and I know that finding our own parenting balance sometimes takes years.
See, some days I still ask myself if that smoothie I’m giving them is a vitamin packed healthy snack or is it actually a sugar bomb that sets their expectations for sweet treats even higher?
I look at my two daughters play, when they dress up and play princesses and dolls and I wonder if they shouldn’t have more construction toys that would develop their analytical thinking?
And when thy fight with each other over a little misunderstanding, as kids often do, I still never know when is the right moment in which I intervene? Should I actually let them resolve it entirely on their own? Even if I hear that what’s happening is unjust?
And I know I’m not the only one who’s in doubt – about my parenting methods, about the food I feed them with, about their health and about my discipline – or the lack of it.
But what I have learned and what I know for sure, is that everything changes.
It hit me over a year ago, when I realized for the first time, how I used to struggle with a terrible twos in my life – oh boy, let me tell you, I thought I’d lose my mind.
The everyday tantrums, the struggle to dress them in weather appropriate clothing, and the bath time : ‘there’s water in my eyes” ritual. All that was so exhausting! I remembered how I used to be looking for advice, and how I would find many contradictory tips and tricks: some used to preach timeout, while others where saying that it’s only the time-in that works. Some used to say that only by being consequent the kid can grow out of that terrible two phase, and others would say to not ever use the world “NO” and to always be positive and calm.
Well you know what? I think I was both trying to be positive, as I was repeating the world NO a hundred times a day. I’d send my kid for time outs only to see that for her, it’s actually the time-in that worked. And do you know what happened when I thought there’s nothing else I can change and my sanity was on the edge? It passed. It all passed, and a new phase has begun. And I haven’t even noticed it up until a year ago when I finally realized that I don’t deal with terrible two problems for awhile now.
So here’s what I know for sure now – there’s no right or wrong way to potty train, to install the routine or to stimulate you kid – there are just many different ways and some will work for me, but not for you, some will work for you and maybe for me in the future, and some will work for other kids but not for ours.
We will always be doubting ourselves. And not because we are bad parents, but because we care.
And what I know for sure now, is that even with all the doubt, we are still doing a great job!
It’s all just a phase. And once you’ll have it all figured out, everything will change, and the doubt and questioning start all over again. That’s just the way it is. But in all that, we are all doing our best, and we are all in this together.
So next time you doubt your parenting decisions, remind yourself that it’s normal, that there’s no one and only way to raise a happy and kind human being, and that it’s just a phase that will pass. Oh, and you’re doing a great job!