There is so much to debate around parenting. There are endless choices to make – different styles, techniques, “tricks,” ways of disciplining, and so much more. But what if those choices don’t matter? What if there is not a right or wrong way to parent? Stay with me here, don’t worry, I’m not suggesting it’s fine if people are neglectful of their children.
A friend and I had a long conversation about how overwhelming motherhood can be. Before becoming mothers, a lot of us have an idea of what motherhood will look like, but it can be challenging when reality doesn’t match up (you can read more about realistic expectations of motherhood here). While I was very shocked by how challenging I found motherhood as a new mother, looking back, it makes sense. How can we know how to parent our child when we don’t know who our child is?
We get ideas about what parenting is – guidance, discipline, teaching, and love. But these ideas make the assumption that our child is an empty vessel for us to pour into, but anyone that’s been around children knows each kid comes with their own unique way of being. Research even backs up the theory that children are born with personality traits and differing temperaments. Some kids are happy to play alone and are often quiet, while some cling to your leg screaming all the time. No two kids are the same, and therefore, should not be parented the same.
Ok, so kids are different, why can’t we parent them the same?
Well, the short answer is, you can.
But it won’t feel right and it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the child (look into the concept of goodness of fit for more info on this).
The more you grasp for answers outside of yourself, the more you follow what others say you should do, and the more you parent from the ego (decisions based on what might make you feel embarrassed or proud & taking your child’s behaviors personally), the more you’ll feel disconnected.
It doesn’t matter the style of parenting you want to do, what matters is what makes you feel aligned and connected as a mother (or parent).
Parenting disconnect is easy to recognize – you have a lot of guilt, you often feel like you’re failing, you are typically overwhelmed, parenting doesn’t feel fun and most days, feels like a challenge. While parenting intuitively won’t solve all your problems, it will, without a doubt, allow you to feel more present and connected as a mother.
“Learn to trust it, trust your intuition, and in good time, answers to all you seek to know will come, and the path will open before you.”Caroline Joy Adams
What Is Intuition?
Intuition is the ability to know something without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind (Forbes). We all have gut feelings and science is now reaffirming the importance and value of listening to your “gut instincts” or intuition in daily life.
Scientists believe intuition operates through the entire right side of our brain, the brain’s hippocampus and through our gut (digestive system has neurons as well).Forbes
How To Start Parenting Intuitively
When you have parented by all the “shoulds,” it can be challenging to make the switch to intuitive parenting. Getting in touch with our intuition and listening to it can take practice and patience. It is totally normal to need to check in with yourself to decipher if you are parenting from a place of fear and judgment or from the gut. As I began making the shift, I utilized meditation, journaling, podcasts, and alternative parenting/motherhood books (read some of my favorite books for gentle/alternative parenting here) to help me get more aligned and connected to my intuition.
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Resources To Help With Intuitive Parenting
Intentional Parenting Challenge
Sacred Motherhood: An Inspirational Guide and Journal for Mindfully Mothering Children of All Ages
Research has shown that expressing your thoughts and emotions in your journal can enhance your emotional intelligence.Psychology Today
You may also like: When I Am Not Being The Mom I Want To Be, 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Commenting On My Parenting – Natural Parenting, 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting, and The Peaceful and Intentional Mom Challenge