There are so many experts telling us how to think, feel and behave on our life and parenting journeys. Much of the advice out there is also conflicting. Just look at the collection of parenting experts I found in just one visit to our local second hand recycling outlet.
Hundreds of years ago industrialisation and urbanisation reorganised families in a way which has changed parenthood significantly. People moved away from their families, they lost their villages, their practical help and their traditions and customs. The 20th century saw great advances in science and medicine and this reliance on ‘experts’ replaced the ‘expert’ advice from family and communities. Suddenly relational challenges (the feminine “being”) like parenting, were approached with a solution focus (the masculine “doing”). As a result new parents lost their faith in themselves and were conditioned to look outward instead of inward for answers.
Even today, in 2019, many parents look outward for the answers. We live in an information age, where we are glued to our devices and tapped into an almost 24/7 stream of information that provides a range of answers to our questions.
It can, at times, be useful to undertake some research when deciding what kind of person and/or parent we want to be: Sometimes we don’t know what options are before us until we are exposed to new ideas. It may be useful to broaden our minds, learn new concepts, challenge our perceptions and expectations, and be fully aware and engaged with the intent of our parenting actions rather than just following the status quo, or doing something because “it’s always been done that way” without a second thought.
However… issues may arise when we become over exposed and overwhelmed by the advice; when we feel pressure to behave in ways that are contrary to our beliefs or values; or when trying to adhere to parenting behaviours and standards (often set by others) gets in the way of bonding with our babies, partners and ourselves.
Instead – and most especially in the first few months and years of our parenting journey – our focus should be inward. It should be on developing parenting strategies that bring us peace and joy, and cultivate ongoing positive relationships that are learned, not through advice from experts, but from our own experiences and intuition.
How do you feel about your journey into parenthood and the parenting approaches and decisions you have made and are making? From where are you finding your answers