“Listen to your instincts.”
“Trust your gut.”
I believe in those words. As far as I’m concerned, tuning into your own personal parenting barometer is the only way to make choices you can feel confident about and commit to.
But trusting your gut is sometimes easier said than done, isn’t it? We can’t help but be affected by conflicting advice, a constant flow of “new” (or simply re-packaged) data, our own upbringing, our spouse’s upbringing, peer pressure, new parenting fads…sometimes it can be difficult to hear just what that gut is actually saying.
That’s why I wrote chapter 3 of The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood (it’ll be out soon–pre-order now!) The chapter is all about helping you figure out the difference between what other people say, what the experts say, and what you really think. It will help you figure out if your information-gathering style is working for you or just making you a mom basket case. And it’ll help you figure out how to tell the difference between real conflicts (like your spouse disagreeing with your stance on a parenting topic) and imagined conflicts (like some “expert” you don’t know or respect, and who doesn’t know you or your child, disagreeing with your stance on a parenting topic.)
Have you ever heard that 90% of the time, your first guess on a multiple-choice test question is right? I believe it’s similar with parenting: most of the time, the thing that feels the most right to us is the right thing to do–if we could only get out of our own way and make the choice confidently and with commitment. But too often I think we let imagined conflicts get between us and the decision we really want to make. We what other people might think, what some questionable new study suggests, or what might possibly go wrong down the road ahead of what we think, and it muddies up our decision-making. Then we feel guilty and uncertain no matter what we choose.
This week we’re going to be walking through the “trust your gut” process: first, locating our guts; second, identifying what they are trying to tell us; and then trusting them: tuning into the messages we’re sending ourselves, cutting through the outside noise by narrowing down outside input to those sources we trust and who matter to us, and identifying our own personal values so that we can make choices that support the lives we want to live and the lives we want our children to live. Our parenting choices are not about judging what anyone else does: it’s about doing what’s right for us, without allowing the judgment of others to cloud our vision.
I’d love you to put on your thinking caps and help me kick off the topic by sharing your experiences. I identified one real conflict (you versus your spouse) versus an imagined conflict (you versus some random expert) above, and it’s a topic I go into a lot of detail about in my book. Now I want to know: when you’re making a parenting decision, how do you decide whose input matters and whose doesn’t? Have you ever wasted time or energy worrying that somebody wouldn’t approve of your choice…and then realized later that that person’s opinion just didn’t matter?
So excited to explore this topic with you all this week!
By the way, have you “liked” The Happiest Mom on Facebook yet? I’m planning to beef up the page with space for more discussion and a place to discuss the book when it comes out, so if you’re a Facebook user please check it out!