I recently drove past a bus stop that had an advertisement on it that wrote: “Kids Don’t Come With Instructions”. It resonated with me, and so I read on. The rest of the ad said something like: this is why you should trust your hospital with your child.
I was left with the idea that we need to trust an outside source when it comes to our children. In this case, it was about their health, but how often have we been directed to an outside source when making a decision for our family?
I began to wonder… how many times have we been guided to actually trust ourselves; our intuition, our instincts, and our knowledge when it comes to our parenting choices? After all, does anyone know a child better than his or her own parents?
The truth is that our children do not come with instructions (I so wish that they did though – that manual would be priceless!). Parenting is unlike any other experience in life. It can definitely be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, and at times, intense.
For all of our other choices and responsibilities, we have unlimited access to training and education. Think about that for a moment: we spend years in college to become knowledgeable in a profession, we have apprenticeships, training, internships, workshops, continuing education, etc.
Parenting, on the other hand, the biggest job we will ever have, the one that comes with the most responsibility, has no prep course. You literally shift gears within 24 hours, and you hope for the best every single day that you are on the job.
Sure, you could read a few books and talk to a few parents, but the reality is you don’t know what to expect until you’re rocking that boat.
Personally, I had no idea what hit me when I had my son. I tried to stay afloat with all the sleep deprivation, lifestyle adjustments, and major changes that came along from a career woman one day, to a mom the next morning.
Eventually, I found the answers to many of my questions. I had an eye-opening revelation: I was actually guided the entire time. Motherhood was the most amazing, mysterious and transforming experience of my life, and my guides? My children and my intuition.
By tuning into my kids, their needs, and their true nature, trust slowly became a part of my parenting experience. I grew confident, and knew that what I felt to be best for them actually was the best choice for them.
At times, I noticed that I “knew” what I should’ve done in a situation, yet I hesitated because someone more knowledgeable told me otherwise, or because I was ambivalent and not confident enough to follow through on what I felt I should do.
That was a great learning experience. Every time I told myself, ‘I knew I should’ve done that’, it actually served as a confirmation to just trust myself the next time. Eventually, I began to rely on that little feeling within me, and the more it guided me in the right direction, the more I trusted it.
Years later, and after all that intuitive practice, I now feel empowered that I truly do know what is best for my kids, and my instincts have always led me to the right choices.
And so, yes…unfortunately our little ones are not dropped off by a stork with a care package and instructions. But we don’t have to lean on an outside source to figure it all out. You already have the answers within you, and your children will guide you.
Allow yourself to feel your way through a situation a few times, and be patient. Begin to trust yourself more and more, until you no longer doubt your inner guiding system.
And so with that I say…tune in, turn up your volume and enjoy the ride!
This article “Kids Don’t Come With Instructions ” by Maria Gavriel was originally posted on Love Centered Parenting . To read the original article, click here.