When it comes to making decisions, especially important ones, I like for things to be black and white. THIS is the right choice and THAT is the wrong choice. But, when it comes to the world of parenting, it seems like nothing is black and white. Just search “parenting books” on Amazon, and see how many search results you get. I’ll tell you . . . more than 200,000! That’s a lot of people with a lot of opinions about all the decisions and issues you face as a parent.
For example, what’s the best car seat to buy? The best type of stroller? Most effective discipline strategy? Best way to put a baby to sleep? Should you choose public school or private school? The list goes on and on, and guess what? There is no ONE right answer. It’s up to you to make the right decision or choice for your child. Whew . . . talk about pressure!
And that’s where the grey comes in. One night, while pondering one of the many hard decisions I’ve had to make since our daughter came into the world 3.5 months early, I came up with this incredibly brilliant (in my own humble opinion) realization and comparison that parenting involves SO much more grey than the 50 shades offered up by Christian Grey and his complicated existence. Hence, the title of this article.
So, HOW do we go about making a decision black and white in such a wide field of grey? I’ll attempt to explore this, based on the experience I’ve gained in the past couple of years.
Research, Research, Research
I consider Google one of my BFFs. I Google everything and love nothing more than getting lost in the depths of the search results, learning everything I can about the topic of the moment. Since becoming a mom, I’ve Googled everything from micro preemie survival rates, homemade baby food recipes, feeding therapy techniques, autism and most recently tips for traveling with a toddler. While I completely realize that not everything you read on the Internet is true, there is definitely a wealth of information out there for people to consume.
This is also where the 200,000+ books come in. Those people must know something if they went to all that trouble to write a book, get it published, and convince Amazon it’s good enough to sell, right?
Ask Your “Friends”
This is where I could actually write an entire post about the positive aspects of social media. Sure, it’s definitely got its negatives, but, in my short time of being a mom, Facebook has been SO helpful to me. In fact, it was doing “mom research” that led me to being a contributor here at the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog.
In addition to being a micro preemie with an impressive 234-day NICU stay under her belt, our daughter has a feeding tube, a severe feeding aversion, speech delays, and, most recently, an autism diagnosis. I have been so impressed by the multiple parenting groups on Facebook dedicated to all of these issues (and so much more!) The Fort Worth Moms Blog Neighbor Groups are excellent resources you can use to find moms who are on a parenting journey similar to your own — whether regional, living in your neck of the woods, or by shared experiences, such as adoption, special needs, multiples, food allergies, etc.
On more than one occasion, I have used these groups as resources and received many thoughtful and helpful answers. Of course, there is usually some not so helpful feedback, but you just have to be prepared for that.
Using Your Mommy “Gut”
How many times has someone told you to trust your mommy intuition? How many times have you told someone that? I wasn’t a mom yet the first time I heard that phrase, and I remember thinking how ridiculous it sounded. But, I was also intrigued. I was curious about how becoming a mom automatically gave you these special powers.
I remember the first week that Avery was in the NICU at Cook Children’s, and I had all these doctors and nurses telling me “You know her better than we do,” and “You know your child best; trust your mommy intuition.” I remember thinking they were crazy. They were the ones with medical degrees, but even they believed in the power of a mother’s intuition. I will always remember that and often remind myself of that when I am questioning my judgment.
As silly as it sounds, I do think the phrase and concept is legitimate. Trusting it has allowed me to make some pretty decent decisions so far. Hey, at least our mommy guts are good for something, right? One thing I don’t trust it for? Telling me I need another slice of pizza or more chips and queso! Ha!
So, what about you? What’s the hardest decision you’ve had to make for your child so far? What decision has been really “grey” for you?