If you have internet access and minimal interest in parenting methods you know that the number of experts, theories and research to back everyone up is overwhelming. What’s more, it’s impossible to fit one method to every family, I’d even say that it’s impossible to fit a full method to one family because the hypothetical family from experts philosophies doesn’t exist.
Families are all different, with so many challenges and personalities. Children are all different. Parents of more than one know it best – it is so rarely possible to raise both children the same way with same effects. Yet, experts try to convince us they have solution for everything that their way of thinking will sort out every parents problem with every child. They all contradict one another, it is scary that they are all basing their theories on research or backing it up with research only proving that science can’t help much with parenting: number of variables is simply infinite.
Not believing the experts 100% is how I do understand parents who identify themselves with gentle parenting but use CIO method for sleep training or choose to breastfeed but not agree with attachment parenting. This is why we should all go back to basics and start using the best method every mother is armed with – intuition.
The only problem is intuition can be confused with so many things, e.g. parents needs. In theory there’s nothing wrong with it. A child must accept that it is a part of family and, later, society. But there’s a limit to everything, extremes are never good. Parenthood requires compromises and sacrifices.
Intuition works when we take time and patience to get to know our children, respect them, respect ourselves and our families. Only when we take time and tune into our child. Only then can we rely on our intuition.
It is very hard to rely on intuition these days. Ironically it’s much more difficult for educated women, those lacking self confidence and those who need to know everything. Education brings knowledge and hunger for knowledge. Educated women need reasoning, ask questions and have doubts. The more they read, them more they dig, the more they know, the more confused they become. They realize they can/t rely on knowledge when it comes to parenthood, it may cause panic attack!
I was like that during my pregnancy and first 6 months (or so) after Z. was born. It made me insane. I was unsure of everything, had questions about everything. Had no idea how mothers functioned ages ago without pediatricians available 24/7, internet and instant access to other moms knowledge via smartphones, playgroups etc.
I don’t remember what happened but a day came when I had enough. Stopped listening to experts. I choose people I could trust. It’s not that I divide parents into good and bad, it’s just that some match my lifestyle, and my parenting style, better than others. After few weeks I started becoming confident. I accepted that the perfect parent and perfect method simply don’t exist. I also accepted that having doubts is normal – it’s all about how you deal with them.
Stop beating yourself up. Trust your gut!