parenting by instinct, or faking it

I’ve been a parent for almost 12 years now. 6 years of that was parenting an atypical child, and then I added some “typical” (albeit weird) kids. Nobody really gave me advice with the first one, since most of them had no idea what to do with oxygen tanks and hydrocephalus and seizures and what-not, but once I had Toby and Brynn, I became aware of Mommy Wars. 

There’s no manual to parenting, we all have to make it up. Since that’s insane, we buy books and watch shows and read the internet and then your mom and your grandma say stuff like, never get a baby’s head wet, or if you take them out without socks, they will be rebellious LATER. And all the books and the websites and the aged women say different things. Here you are with this little moldable human, and your only strategy is schizophrenia. 
It comes to a point where you realize, no matter how you do it, you’re doing it wrong.
Lemme help you out a little, mommies. Every dadgum kid is different. Even identical twins are different. There is no real “normal”. Your goal is to figure out YOUR kid and do what they need. And cut your mommy friends a break. If they’re doing it the opposite way, they probably have a reason. The goal is to love our kids. Read the books, listen to friends and family, and then do what comes naturally to you! 
For me, that meant feeding my daughter excessively and sleeping with her in my bed until she was 18 months old. I tried other ways, and ultimately, things that seemed unnatural to me, or I had to force, weren’t the right choices for me and my baby. When the time came, she was ready to wean and sleep in her bed, and it wasn’t a fight like it had been with Toby, who I tried to parent “by the books” on that subject. 
For your baby, they might sleep better separate, or maybe you can’t breastfeed, or they hate being worn. Don’t force it! Just learn your kid. You know them best. Try parenting by instinct, just a little. You’ll probably find it a relief. 

Now I’m figuring out parenting preschoolers. Totally making it up as I go along, and stealing advice from the Bible and doctors and grandmas and TV shows and then making it all fit into my crazy wonderful chaotic kids. I think we’ll be all right.

8 thoughts on “parenting by instinct, or faking it

  1. Lisa lee says:

    Thank you for sharing. I found this encouraging. Our daughter is the so called "normal kid". Until we have a seizure then people think they have the place to till me how to deal with everything that comes with it. I feel blessed to have read this blog.


  2. Amen Jessica! You are an amazing mom! You have gained so much wisdom in way less time than it is taking me! LOVE reading your blog!


  3. Kris Watson says:

    I love how you share parenting with us. I was a mom more than 30 years ago, and I see a lot of myself in what you share. Which means that your children will grow up to be highly successful individuals, with astonishing sense of humor and will care deeply for their mother! And they will take a lot of pictures!


  4. Anonymous says:

    You rock Jessica – Richy


  5. Brittan says:

    thanks for writing this. I often times find myself judging friends for different parenting styles, instead of thinking, well that's just what works for that child. Great way to look at it!


  6. Anonymous says:

    where is wed, thurs & fri


  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this. So encouraging. I am a new mom and have already been overwhelmed and stressed by well-meaning advice. Am learning MY instincts for MY baby feel the very best and most peaceful…for us both…especially when the peace comes after my wild cry for HELP from the Lord. Ps…discovering and reading your blog has saved me in these early days. Love your "voice"; your humor and your realness. I've had to stiffle my laughter and grab a Kleenex for tears. Thank youf or for being here.


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