Parenthood is full of many questions: What is he eating? How is it dinner time already? We are how late? What’s that smell? While some questions make us laugh and others make us cry, there is one serious question that many parents come back to time and again; “Am I doing this right?” This is a question that, on some days, I ask myself more than once.
This elusive question grows with parenthood as well—all the way from infants to teenagers and beyond.
At the infant stage, you ask the question in regards to feedings, diaper changes and everything in between—from the big decisions, all the way to the small and mundane ones. You question everything when it’s your first child and self-doubt inevitably creeps in. This is where you first meet the question that will follow you throughout parenthood, “Am I doing this right?”
As your baby grows into a toddler, your self-doubt diminishes slightly, because at this point you have been a parent for a few years and feel like you have at least some aspects of parenting figured out—that is, until potty training meets the emotional rollercoaster that is your toddler. As you are scrubbing the bathroom (for the tenth time in a day), and are seriously doubting how anyone has ever done this whole potty training thing, you quietly whisper to yourself, “Am I doing this right?”
Our precious toddlers (do in fact figure out the whole potty training thing) and mature into school-age children, which inevitably brings an onslaught of new adventures. Between picking out the “perfect” school for your little one and signing them up for the “right” amount of extracurricular activities, you are faced with new questions and decisions. At this stage you are vetting friends and tackling homework. Yes, the dreaded homework hour. You again find yourself asking, “Am I doing this right?”
Before our eyes, our young children turn into teenagers. We all remember being teenagers ourselves and know the challenges of this tender age. Teenagers are balancing a fine line between childhood and adulthood—which evolves into frustration, angst, and excitement. At some point, all of these emotions boil over, and you fall back to the recurring question, “Am I doing this right?”
No matter what stage of parenthood you are in, you are trying to make the big decisions that fit your family and child. No parent is the same, no child is the same and no situation is the same. You are rocking parenthood! By even asking yourself this question, it shows you care, are self-aware and aiming to be the best parent you can be—and that in itself means that, “Yes, you are doing it right”.
The next time you are out and see a mom balancing the demands of a newborn and toddler at the grocery store, a child meltdown or just having a wonderful afternoon with her baby—give her a “you’re doing a great job” smile or even better, go up to her and say, “You have lovely children.” Kind gestures like these let mamas know that they are in fact doing this whole parenting thing right.