This week we’re talking about simplifying family life. Tune in all week for strategies and tips for every area of life, and if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, be sure to check out the Huge Simplify Family Life eBook Sale!
Amazon.com currently has more than 33,706 books on parenting. 33,706!
Is it any wonder that we agonize over the simplest parenting decision with advice coming at us from all angles?
The “experts” all know exactly how you should parent — and yet none of them agree on what the best methods are. Family, friends, neighbors & strangers all have opinions too. And somehow, we need to wade through all of the information that we read and hear — in real life, in books and on the internet — to make decisions for our own families.
It’s hard, and all we really want is to figure out what’s best for our kids. We have a picture of how we’d like our kids to turn out, and we make decisions to try to reach that point.
I don’t know about you, but I often wish that someone would tell me exactly what to do to deal with non-sleeping babies and tantruming toddlers. I’m sure the same is true when you’re dealing with moody preteens and independent teens too! But no one — not even the so-called experts — can guarantee much of anything.
I’m not against learning from other people. I read parenting blogs and books, ask questions and learn from the things other people are doing. But at some point we have we trust our own gut, taking bits and pieces of everything we’ve heard or read to make our own decisions.
The Experts Aren’t Always Right
Anyone can pretty much call themselves an expert, but even the people who are actually entitled to that title aren’t always right. Think about it. How many accepted practices from 10 or 15 years ago are now considered archaic or just plain wrong. Today’s experts make a living disproving the experts that came before them.
Add to that the fact that no two children are exactly the same, and that each family has its own parenting style, community and family culture, and there are really too many variables to predict. Rather than looking at experts as omniscient beings who have all the answers, keep their fallibility in mind as you read, so that it will be easier to sort through their recommendations.
Take What You Can, Forget the Rest
I love to read and hear about a variety of parenting philosophies and approaches, and even in cases where I disagree with 75% of what someone is saying, I can learn from the other 25%. Incorporating things you’ve heard from a variety of sources truly allows you to make your own decisions without being tied down by any single one. You know your kids best, and that makes you the best decisionmaker, not the experts, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from other people.
Be Confident in Your Decisions
Once you make a decision, be confident in it and fully embrace it. All too often, we shoot ourselves in the foot by making a decision half-heartedly. Our kids know it and we know it, and it usually ends up backfiring. We’re all going to make mistakes and wish we’d done something differently, but that’s okay.
Learn from others, trust your gut and be ready to admit when something isn’t working, and motherhood will be just a tiny bit simpler!
Have you ever experienced advice paralysis or expert overload when trying to make a decision? Do you trust your gut?
|Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.|