The quickest way to rob a parent of the joys of parenting is to mute intuition by taking away confidence and replacing it with fear and anxiety. Intuitive parenting is a balancing act between filtering information and weighing it out against your intuition.
Intuition is that gut feeling we get when something isn’t right, or when something is right. It’s an inner knowing.
As a parent intuition is your guide, but you have to tune into it and learn how to tune out all the crap that tries to silence it.
As a parent, childbirth educator and a sleep coach I have witnessed parenting turn into a competitive sport. Businesses and marketers of all sorts are quick to take full advantage of that fear and capitalize on it. Not to mention that mommy wars are a thing. Women arguing and shaming one another about why their parenting choices are better than another’s. All of this does is mute our intuition because it makes us second guess what we are doing, and we just feel confused and insecure.
At the core of all this is comparison and as the talented shame researcher Brené Brown always says “comparison is the thief of joy”. (I recommend reading any of her books) Instead of staying in our own lane and embracing the uniqueness of ourselves and our children, we get caught in this loop of being bombarded with conflicting information and comparison. It’s difficult to listen to our inner voice with all that noise!
Informed decision making is the key!
Stay in your own lane and your intuition will guide you to creative solutions for your family. We live in a quick fix society, and when it comes to raising children, it’s definitely a long game!
Heck, no one is immune. I can always tell because I feel the fear rising inside me and suddenly that fear is calling the shots. One thing I have developed is the ability to call myself out on it fairly quickly, and get grounded in my intuition again when I feel that way. I have learned after 13 years of parenting, if something doesn’t feel right then it’s not right. No amount of advice from experts telling me how to do it right, changes that if it doesn’t feel right. It just tells me I need to find a different pathway. Do more research. Make a decision that feels right. You truly do know what is best for your child. Sometimes it is something we need someone with expertise to help us with, but it should feel right.
Marketers and businesses undermine a parent’s confidence. Just walk into any baby store and see how your baby will be smarter, sleep better, learn better with this product or that product!! Beware of businesses that tell are: a. authoritarian “experts” b. offer quick fixes. c. selling to a fear rather than a need. These marketing messages turn intuition off.
There is no such thing as a “right” way to parent.
Pay attention to how you feel when you see these messages? Your gut will guide you if you listen.
One thing I should note: using your intuition as a parent doesn’t mean that you just let your child float through life hoping for the best, nor is it managing every little breath and step they take. It’s about being armed with confidence. A balance between information and gut feeling, so you can in turn teach your child to use their intuition in life. Believe me, it’s easy to fall into the over-thinking, over-worrying and over-reacting because of how we think it’s supposed to be; only to step back later and know that it doesn’t feel right. That’s your intuition jumping up and down to get your attention.
Having a little compassion for yourself goes a long way. You are not perfect, but you are strong, and you are worthy of standing in your own path, while at the same time respecting the choices other people make. It’s all about embracing who we are instead of who we think we need to be! This is how we tune into our intuition.
So how do we learn to trust our intuition? Is this something we can really develop? Absolutely it is, and it’s simple:
- Stay in your own lane and resist the urge to compare your family and parenting to others. Don’t let comparisons rob you of your joy and intuition. Celebrate those differences! Instead as I tell my daughter every day the only person you should be comparing yourself to is the the person you were yesterday.
- Make informed decisions. Do the research and discard what doesn’t fit or feel right. Take away what does fit and walk away from what doesn’t and feel confident in your decision. Yes, you may need to do something different again the future, but that’s ok. You start the process over again, but at least it’s from a more confident place. What is right for you might not be what is right for your friend and her family, and vice versa.
Like all skills, the more you practice listening to your intuition, the better you get at it.
Reconnect with your gut feeling, and while it’s great to have people with experience to guide us, it’s more important that we filter that and find our own way as parents. This in turn will help us all raise confident, intuition trusting children!
Stay in your own lane and feel good about it, and when it doesn’t feel right, find what does feel right. Parenting isn’t about certainty, it’s about using our knowledge and insight- our intuition guided by information.