INSTINCT: Any behavior is instinctive if it is performed without being based upon prior experience (that is, in the absence of learning), and is therefore an expression of innate biological factors. (Wikipedia)
A wise woman once said to me that never has parenting been more complicated and difficult than it is now. And that wise woman (yes, alright, it was my mum!) was right.
Parenting is now analysed from a million different angles, and labels are put on things that don’t need, nor have ever needed labeling. Motherhood can without doubt be overwhelming, not just the first time you become a mum, but every other time after that too. (My third was definitely my most challenging!) Phrases like ‘cry it out’ or ‘attachment parenting’ and their pros and cons are regularly debated and, in my opinion, only add to the pressures of motherhood – which already has enough challenges without confusing us further.
Whatever happened to trusting our instincts? Reading our children instead of a stack of parenting manuals? When did we lose all confidence and trust in ourselves that we are instinctively wonderful parents, and naturally do what is best for our children, simply because we love them and know them better than any book?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying never to seek advice or look for reassurance, research into babies and their habits has undoubtedly helped many an overwhelmed mother, but what happens if your baby doesn’t do what the manual says it should be doing? Surely this then makes you feel even more overwhelmed? Could these manuals and labels at times actually lead us away from our natural instincts instead of helping us to nurture them?
As a mum of three I’ve parented each of my children very differently…because they are all very different. I have a feisty and confident 11 year-old daughter, a gentle and caring three year-old son, and an unpredictable 9 month-old baby boy! I’m lucky my mum instilled a fantastic sense of confidence in my natural mothering instincts. It’s not been easy, but learning to read my children and respond to their needs instinctively has been refreshing and has helped make motherhood an enjoyable and rewarding experience. (Most of the time!!)
So that’s why I have started this blog, hopefully to help others like me to have the confidence to trust their natural parenting instincts.
So…when was the last time you trusted yours?