It’s so important to feel confident in our parenting choices instead of second guessing ourselves all the time. Here’s how you can know you are making good decisions for your family, even if they are different than others.
Plain and simple. The reason mommy wars exist is because we all want to do the perfectly right thing for each of our children and – when faced with others who do things differently – we feel fear, then insecurity, and then we judge.
If people would just let the above sentence sink in then everyone would stop shaming and hating. And just be happy with their own choices. But people can’t be happy with their own choices if they think their choices are wrong because, after all, the kids are at stake here.
So I’m here with one surefire and easy way to tell if you are making the right parenting choices in your own family. Because once you know you’re making good decisions – I mean once you really know it in your heart, not just your head – you won’t feel the need to enter into any type of parenting debate. It won’t matter. There’ll be no reason to go out of your way to be mean because, quite simply, you are happy with your home and that’s that.
So here it is….
The litmus test you’ve been waiting for…
I mean,go get a cup of coffee so you can contemplate deep thoughts after this…
And let go of years of guilt…
Or perhaps realize that others were right?
“Wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Matthew 11:19
There’s more to that verse and passage, but I’m going to simply take this truth and break it down to say this:
If your choices bear good fruit, they are good. If they do not, you might choose differently.
By now y’all know I’m a routine gal. A Type-A mom. I make it a point to promote good sleeping habits and do not reinforce bad ones. I’m not an “attachment parent”, though my kids are incredibly attached to me. I’m a mish mash of many things. I am a mom of order and yet I am very free range in my thoughts.
And I used to come up against other opinions, articles, suggestions, and strategies for parenting that were very different from mine and I’d feel insecure. Worried. Am I screwing them up? Until I read that passage one day in my devotion and I felt simultaneous waves and floods of relief and guilt wash away. Why?
Because I get good results.
Of course all my choices aren’t great. I wish. But the overall canon of my parenting philosophy is producing happy, obedient (most of the time), confident kids. So here’s how we can apply this to our own choices.
What kind of fruit do we see for a particular choice?
If you start feeling the guilt or concern you are doing it wrong in a certain area, stop for a minute and think about the results. Let’s use discipline as an example. It’s a very widespread thing now to forget about time out because it doesn’t work. I’m fine with that completely except, in our home, it does work. I don’t shove them in some dark room and “make them pay.”
But if I sit them down to calm down, have a think, and get a happy heart, then it actually does change their behavior. Call that “time out” or “time in” or whatever… I don’t feel a smidge of guilt about it when I see licensed professionals say this is a bad choice. Why? Because it works for my children. The fruit is good. Am I saying it would work in every home? Of course not. Are there other choices that are equally if not more effective? Of course. But I’m fine with what I do differing from what others do.
Maybe they are right.
I’d rather stay popular and leave this out, but honestly, it’s important. Sometimes other people are right and you just can’t see it. This happens to me, you, and everyone else under the sun. If you are trying a certain method to get your child to demonstrate less angry and aggressive behavior, and it doesn’t work, then it’s time to try something new. The fruit of that method isn’t good.
Doesn’t mean you’re “wrong” or a bad mother or whatever else you say while feeling defensive. It just means that particular choice is not wise and you could improve upon it. It may mean you stop being so firm and employ positive parenting solutions. Or it may mean you become more firm and resolute. Look at the fruit and let it guide you.
Where does this apply?
If you feel that mom guilt we so often suffer from, here are a few areas you can begin to let your fruit guide you.
- Breastfeeding/bottle. Is your baby nourished and thriving? Good. If you are breastfeeding, but don’t produce enough milk then wisdom would say to supplement. If you are formula feeding and your baby is constantly chronically upset then wisdom would say to find a new one. That’s it.
- Attachment or not. I’ll say in certain countries it’s the norm to demand feed, co-sleep and baby wear. If you’ve got a happy healthy baby all around: good fruit. If you do those things and end up with a cranky, overtired, unsettled mother and baby that’s bad fruit. Don’t be afraid to go against what everyone around you does in search of good fruit.
- Sleeping issues. Y’all know I talk about sleep a lot and share my thoughts. But if you are doing the exact opposite of everything I say and have a well-rested baby, that’s good fruit. Keep it up. If your routine has worked and no longer does, change it up and find the good fruit again. Co-sleep or put them in their crib or wear them or whatever you decide produces good fruit.
- Screen time. Aside from the general guidelines put forth by research, use your head. I’ve found even an hour of screen time for my 3 year old son makes him whiny and aggressive so we only do screen time on weekends. Is screen time the devil? No. Does it produce good fruit in my home? No. At least, not what he was watching. Yours might watch some educational videos for an hour a day and see good fruit. Keep it up.
I could go on and on and on. But I’m hoping you get the picture by now. It’s not about one general way that is best for every single person and we best fall into line now or all our kids will end up paying $150 an hour to some psychologist in 30 years. (Note to self: tell all my kids to go into psychology)
It’s about the fruit in our own homes.
The fruit in our own hearts and lives.
The fruit in our children’s lives.
Keep up what is causing good fruit. Change what is causing bad fruit. And I promise you, you’ll no longer be threatened by what other people do differently.