We live in the information age. If I want to know why flamingoes are pink, a simple internet search is all it takes to find out. (Shrimp. That’s the answer to the flamingo question—they eat brine shrimp and that makes them pink. Interesting, huh?) We have grown used to having the answer to any question we have as close as the phone that rarely leaves our fingertips.
Today I was talking to a young mom who told me that as a new mother she was constantly googling “how to be a mom” topics. That made me giggle a little. If you want to get a thousand different opinions and “sure fire tricks” to potty training, just ask Google. You’ll find mothers who set a timer for 15 minute increments from daybreak to bedtime to take your toddler potty. You’ll find others who only potty train in the summer when they can let their child run around naked. (I’m not even kidding.) You’ll find those who think potty training should start at age two and others who figure as long as they are potty trained before kindergarten that is fine.
Many moms are experts after they raise their first child. They’ve figured out the secret formula for molding this tiny human into a brilliant, well-adjusted toddler and they will gladly share their best secrets for making your child turn out just as nicely. Then the second child comes along. Moms who were experts the first time around figure out pretty quickly that the secret formula is different for second children. (And there is nothing that will humble you more quickly than a strong willed second born! I know this from experience.)
No matter what works for your friend or your sister in law or your neighbor, there’s no guarantee that it will work for you. That’s the thing about little people….they are all unique. I’m not saying there’s no value in talking to other moms and getting a fresh perspective or a new idea for a problem you’re having. What I am saying is that your child is just that—YOUR child.
I think there’s freedom in understanding that YOU are the expert on your little one. We all feel like we are guessing our way through this whole motherhood thing at least some of the time and I think that’s ok. Have you ever seen the hilarious pictures of Pinterest fails? ( I could show you a few of my own!) You see this adorable craft project or decorated cupcake that looks easy and foolproof. Then you try to do it yourself and find out that there’s no such thing as “foolproof” and you are the one who is the fool. That’s kind of what it is like to try to raise your kid using someone else’s formula.
There’s no one that is more motivated to see your child succeed than you. And there’s no one who knows your child better than you do. When you feel like a failure as a mom and you’re sure that you’re doing it all wrong, just know that you are in the same club as all of the other moms who have secretly felt that before you. Don’t be deceived by the highlight reel you see on everyone else’s social media. They have a B roll that looks remarkably similar to yours.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are searching for solutions, but trust your gut, mama. You were made to be the mom to these little people. Your neighbor wasn’t. Your mother in law wasn’t. Your best friend wasn’t. You. You are the one.
Hi! I'm Janet and I've been the Director of the Before and After School and Smart Start Preschool Programs at the Troy Rec since 1994. My hubby and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown sons. Each of them is married and blessing us with grandchildren left and right. Life is good even when the nest is empty!