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Getting Over the Myth of the Perfect Mother

momSecond guessing comes with the territory in parenting but trusting your instincts is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids. This story from Redbook, via the San Francisco Gate, interviews several experts —and mothers to come the conclusion that you know your child better than anyone and if you follow your heart versus the latest rigid parenting philosophy, you’re going to be fine — and actually better than if you toed some imaginary line.

It took me two kids and more than few screwups, but I’ve finally allowed myself to go with this —and not only am I 100 percent happier as a result, my kids are too. My overeducated parenting cohort pretty much universally approached the appearance of a positive pregnancy test with a trip to the library, racking up as much knowledge as we could before baby got here. When the baby in question actually did arrive, though, some of us struggled with our previously ironclad beliefs (and everybody who already had kids laughed and laughed, having already acquired the wisdom that your baby doesn’t actually read the same books you did).

What we all learn, hopefully, is that there’s no One True Path to perfect parenting (and in fact, so such thing). What works like a charm for my daughter is an epic fail with my son, and what he needs from me is different than what she does. I find, also, that the wisest, happiest parents I know are the ones who allow themselves to be fluid, versus clinging to Sears or Ezzo or Supernanny or whatever. Those folks —not to mention your mom, your mother in law, or your most judgy fellow mom —are not parenting your kid. You are.

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