The Guesswork of Parenting

Do you ever feel like parenting is just a series of on the job training experiences? Where you don’t know what the job entails, you don’t know how things are going to go, or how to solve the problems, but things keep rolling ahead at full steam and you have to make decisions on the fly or handle the job blindly. Sometimes I have no clue as to what the answers are. Or maybe I do know the answer, and at moments I am too weak to make the right choices. And then something happens and you kick yourself for not doing something differently. Lately I feel like that’s what parenting is all about. A series of guessing what the best answers are. Sometimes I know for sure I did the right thing, and sometimes it turns out I didn’t. And when you know better, you do better- hopefully.

Ultimately we have to learn from our mistakes and forgive ourselves for having moments of weakness or ignorance, because even if we screw up, the job is still going to be there tomorrow. Our kids will be still looking to us for guidance and there will be bigger decisions to make soon enough. At some point my biggest decision won’t just be how to handle a tantrum during dinner.

Before my kids were born I could tell you how many ounces of sunscreen I was supposed to apply and how often, when to start solids, potty train, and how many hours of sleep a night they require. Sometimes all that by-the-book mommy-training will be tossed out the window and you just have to play things by ear. Mothering is sometimes guided by advice, then after time, by experience and always by using your best intuition. And even after all that, you are still thrown curve balls (and screwballs and fastballs and sliders and change ups)!


My only hope is that one day my kids know that I did my best, and that one day all those fickle “I hate yous” that I hear when I’m being the “mean one,” all become “I love yous.”

I have to believe that overall that can be true.




4 responses to “The Guesswork of Parenting

  1. Every parent “breaks” their child. Forgive yourself, Love your kids, and try to do better tomorrow. Doing so not only frees you to BE a better parent, but it teaches your child how to get up when they fail, because they will have seen you model the behavior.

  2. This is such a great post! All Moms feel the EXACT same way and if they don’t, they’re the ones who should worry. I have the advantage of time on my side and I can promise you that your kids will remember the honest times when you may have stumbled but the genuine times when you hit a home run as a parent. I promise. Hang in there and listen to the little voice inside, she knows the answers. 🙂


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