1. Resist Google
I would lie if I claimed that I haven’t Googled every question I have about my children, their health, development, or my motherhood experience. Google gives me an answer, but I get 100 more questions. Google gives me the ability to calm my doubts and uneasiness as a parent. What I get is just increased anxiety.
This anxiety can be relieved by having a trusted friend to text or a pediatrician to call. These people are trustworthy, honest, helpful, and trustworthy. They also provide the guidance and support I need without confusing me with contradictions.
2. Do what works
There will always be moments in parenting when you have to make difficult decisions. I try to be kind and give myself grace in these situations and tell myself, “It’s the best thing right now.”
Parents can be hard on themselves. It’s easy to feel like you must do everything right. My parenting journey has been a pivotal one. I learned to accept that sometimes it is OK to do what works.
3. Keep your eyes fixed on your work
It was something we were taught by every teacher in grade school. Social media has a real impact on parenting and it is hard to avoid playing the comparison game. This is a trap I often fall for.
It is a fact that each parent, every child and every relationship are different. Trying to compare your life to another person’s is not sustainable. There are so many other things we can think about, and the mental energy that we use to compare ourselves to others must be let go.
4. Photograph the real thing
Because I have a passion for photography, I am always looking for perfect backgrounds and even lighting to capture my children’s lives. The photos I envision in my head are not often realized because they don’t care about the same things.
The reality of our lives, including the absurdities, chaos, and joys, is what I strive to capture. This is what I will look back on in years to get a sweet, accurate view of their childhoods.
5. Let them be themselves
Everything changed when I realized that my job as mother wasn’t to raise my child in the best way possible, but to get to know him and help him become his best self. My job is to understand them and to give them the support they need.
This helped me feel confident in all aspects of my parenting. Now, if I receive an unwelcome comment about my decision to be consistent in bedtimes or “let” my boys dress pink and sparkles, it is not a reason to respond or defend.
6. If you must, white lie
No, I’m not trying to tell your child that the ice cream truck has gone to sleep or that Target is closed.
A little white lie can sometimes go a long ways in conversations with acquaintances, strangers, and even friends. My first baby was my mistake. I answered truthfully to someone’s question, “So, how’s he sleeping?”
I quickly realized that no one was actually looking for the truth. The question was just something people say in conversation. Instead of feeling disappointed at not receiving the support that I needed in these interactions, my response was to simply say, “Oh, his great, thank you!” This brought out smiles and ended awkward conversations.
7. Your partner can be your own parent
As a mom of a newborn, I struggled with control and routine. I wanted everything to be the best I could. I was also very rigid and had difficulty being flexible.
This was most apparent when my husband assumed certain responsibilities and my method of managing them wasn’t the best. After much reflection and squabbling, I realized that my husband is a different parent than I am. His relationship with his children and me is very different.