Here are three things to help tap into your own intuition:
- Look at the baby/child/teenager in front of you. Is your baby gaining weight, peeing&pooping, and seeming content at least some of the time? Trust that. It doesn't matter if your neighbor's younger infant is already crawling. It doesn't matter if your nephew was reading at age 4. You're going to figure out what works for you and your family by noticing when it feels right for you. Notice those good days - write it down even so you can remember on a not-so-good day!
- Find your community. It's helpful to have others in your life who think similarly to you. You don't have to agree on every little thing, but if you have a friend who parents in a way that does make sense to you or that you admire, enlist their help to shore you up with a "You're a good mother. You're doing what you need to do. It will get easier again" at the challenging moments when you're doubting it all! Doesn't matter whether this is online, at a parenting group, or amongst your oldest friends spread out across the country, find someone.
- Pause. I know that I'm most often challenged by my child's behavior when I've been stretching the limits: too little sleep, too much rushing to get everything done, not enough self-care. I end up feeling disconnected from my self and my child. That's the moment that the lure of an expert to "fix" things is often strongest. And often, just by recognizing this, my frame of mind shifts and the challenges ease up a bit. So, don't forget to nourish yourself so that you can nourish your intuition. Enough sleep, enough (good) food, enough getting outside, enough moving. Just pick one thing to do for 5 extra minutes.
And lastly, just a word about posts on the internet - including this one! If something I've written here resonates, fantastic. If it doesn't land well, that's ok. I strive to write the way I approach my private practice: from a supportive, nonjudgmental place. I hope you "take what works and leave the rest" from my writing and from all the rest of the internet, too!