Do You Trust Your Instincts?

Mar 01

I’ve written before about my passion for plans, my delight in following directions.  This weekend, I took those tendencies to extreme lengths, abandoning my instincts and trying to adhere to an agenda that did not work.

We started potty training Big Boy on Saturday.  In advance of this big day, I did some (admittedly scatter-shot) research and discovered a book that offered what turned out to be the toileting equivalent of a get-rich-quick scheme.  Given the success we’ve had with sticking to plans for our kids’ sleeping and feeding, I figured a structured approach would work for potty training too – so I ordered that book, read it cover to cover, and got ready for the magic to happen.

And I’m still waiting for that magic.

The problem was that the idea worked for me, all nicely laid out as it was in bullet-point form in the book.  But it didn’t work for Big Boy. Nope. Not at all.  He didn’t like the potty doll.  He didn’t like the sticker chart.  He really didn’t like the practice runs to the potty every time he had an accident.

And it wasn’t only that he didn’t like it; he simply didn’t get it.  He didn’t connect the rewards to the positive behavior and the consequences to the undesired one.  As far as he was concerned, I had gone crazy and was asking him to join me.

He didn’t get it, and I didn’t get that.

So we spent the day at odds, me clinging to a rulebook and him throwing it back at me in the form of tears and wet Spiderman underwear.  I violated every tenet of the parenting version of the Hippocratic oath: I made my child cry; I hurt his feelings; I injured his spirit.  I did harm.

The worst part is that I knew in my gut that the approach just wasn’t right.  Every instinct told me that the plan was both punitive and went against Big Boy’s wiring in every way.

But I didn’t listen to my gut voice.  Instead, I stuck to the plan.  And, ignoring my instincts completely, I found myself at sea (no pun intended) when the plan failed.

Thankfully a fortuitous double nap that afternoon allowed me to sit down and revisit our tactics.  A knotted stomach and the echoes of Big Boy’s sobs provoked me to do what I should have done long before: focus on the child.   Think about all of the progress he had made that day.  Think about how to reinforce that progress.  Think about how to help him listen to his body.   Think about how to help me listen to my instincts.

And I did better.  And he did better.  There were accidents, but there were triumphs.  There was celebratory ice cream.  There was a four-man family bobsled made out of pillows and a rocking chair.  There was “I love you, Mommy” while reading Shel Silverstein poems in the bathroom.

I went to bed that night still feeling guilty about the way the morning had gone.  Husband reassured me that no great damage had been done.  As I lay falling asleep, I wondered whether I would be able to retain my own lesson from the day: to let my instincts speak as loudly as the voices of the experts in my books.

Are you good at listening to your instincts?  Which do you tend to trust more – “expert” advice or your own gut voice?

Will you forgive me for making my 29-month-old son cry?

Image: when things go wrong potty training DSCN9426 by johnbullas via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine LaRocque March 1, 2010 at 7:11 am

My goodness…this could have been me! Not this weekend, but when we first tackled potty-training with my 3-year-old, this is precisely what we went through. My experience was different only in that the pressure didn’t come from sticking to a plan, but rather from my husband and caregiver who were so much more keen to move forward with potty-training than I was. I made the decision to start based on what they wanted, not on what was right for my son. It felt so wrong, he clearly wasn’t ready, like you I hurt his feelings, I injured his spirit. I beat myself up about that for a long time. It was a dark day in parenting for me. I don’t like to think about it because it went so against how I normally do things. I’m happy to report though that we did stick to it, I just found a way to do it with less pressure. It took awhile and then one day (I can’t even tell you exactly when, it was so fleeting) he just went on his own. We never went back.

The most important lesson I learned from my experience is that, as mothers, we have to be able to forgive ourselves when things don’t go well. Remind ourselves that we are only human and can’t be expected to do it all perfectly. If we can forgive ourselves, then our children will forgive us too.

Good luck with this new adventure! I wish you speedy potty-learning.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

I know that feeling of pressure well – in this case because it was I who introduced the pressure to the situation. Husband’s approach was much more “go with the flow” (gosh, so many potty-related puns available!) and I was the one pushing us all forward.

But I think you’re right: there are so many lessons available to us as parents and as humans, in every challenge we undertake.

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jennifer March 1, 2010 at 8:19 am

Forget the books. Kids are on their own timetables. My first was trained at 3 with the help of two older neighbor kids he adored. My second was nearly FOUR before he graduated, grudgingly, from diapers. My third, bless his heart, trained himself at when he was barely two. I’ll always remember how he stood up, arms raised, and said “I AM POOPERMAN!” Although my boys are now teenagers and the parenting problems facing us are much more significant, I do vividly remember the angst of toilet training – the Cheerios in the toilet, the Batman underpants, the competition with other mommies…good luck. It’ll be fine!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

Having lived in a girls’ dorm for five years while teaching at a boarding school, I appreciate your reminder that the stakes get higher as our kids get older. I have to think of puddles on the floor as a kind of basic training for the accidents that might come later.

And, yes, the competition with other mommies… I am ashamed to admit that some of the impetus to start potty training came from the fact that lots of my friends’ kids are training. Another bad mothering moment. Sigh.

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Heather of the EO March 1, 2010 at 8:26 am

I am finally FINALLY starting to simply let go of control when it comes to so many things. This includes potty training (two boys over here…one long process). I find I can do pretty well following my gut about things like struggles over food, sleep and potty training. Those are the things I can shrug over, saying “he’s not going to go to college in a pull-up.”

BUT, when Miles was going for a walk with his uncle yesterday, to look at the big icicles hanging from the building across the street, I gave them both a big lecture before they left. About how icicles can fall on you and they are BIG, blah blah blah. My gut did not tell me that my child would be pierced with a large icicle. I was living out of fear because I know someone who this happened to…but it was not going to happen to Miles and I basically instilled fear in him before a carefree moment with one of his favorite people.

ugh…I haven’t found a book yet that can tell me how to stop living in fear of the big bad terrible things that can happen in this life. We find THAT in our gut, too…in our hearts. My peace is just a bit buried. I can believe with my head that even if something horrible happens, in the long run, it will be OK…but my heart? My heart is cowering.

WOW, that was a long response and not entirely on topic. I’ll stop now…

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

I think this is a critical reminder, Heather, of the importance of prioritizing. There are so many real dangers in the world worth worrying about and I fear (yup, there’s that word again) that I am introducing an environment of anxiety into our home, in which we have to worry about everything, all the time. I know my own life would have been easier if I hadn’t been conditioned to worry about everything – so I really must work on not passing that tendency along to my sons.

Thank you for expanding this discussion and helping me recognize a connection between our weekend of potty-training and some of my general tendencies as a mom.

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Maureen@IslandRoar March 1, 2010 at 8:37 am

Oh, Kristen, this post brought me back! My son really just got into the whole thing. I had 2 potties around and “underwear-free” mornings. But the girls?? Forget it. Both of them were challenges in their own way. It took forever and I had to let it go, tough for me. Sounds like you ended the day the way you wanted, and I’m sure the morning was much worse for you than him!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:15 am

Thanks, Maureen. I hope you’re right and that he’s moved on even while I’m still dwelling on guilt!

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Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities March 1, 2010 at 8:39 am

Isn’t this what parenting is – a constant and shaky walking of that super-fine line between instinct and advice? I don’t think we can do without either. Both are important. But how to balance? I think this comes down to each of us. I know that I buy parenting books and they are lined up like solemn soldiers along my shelves, standing by. But far more than often than not, I surrender to the instinct that I feel and feel strongly to do things in my own way.

As for potty-training, I could write a novel on that one. And I might just do that :)

Happy Monday, mommy.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:22 am

I have that shelf too, full of books that grow dusty and out of shape and then are called into action with every escalating crisis (real or imagined).

I think your reminder is an important one too: I mustn’t over-correct in my frustration over the ill-fated experience with the first book. But it occurs to me that the best resources might not be books, but rather the people who have mastered that balance between instinct and advice: in this case, other parents. At least the ones, like you, like the community here, who are willing to say: Yup, I did this right. This was a struggle. I learned from this.

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crnnoel March 1, 2010 at 8:43 am

He’s still young! Potty training was by far the hardest thing we’ve done as parents, and I believe we had it relatively easy with Fynn. He decided he was done, and we had to help him stick with it, but for the most part he initiated. I think there’s a window of opportunity that comes and goes, and you just have to know when it appears and go with it. It’s such a tough thing, because it’s the most frustrating thing in the world, but you don’t want to appear frustrated with him. You just have to keep cleaning up the messes and go with the flow…

And don’t even get me started with the fact that at 18 months Paige thinks she needs to use the potty as well…. oy….

Good luck! Hang in there, it’s a rough ride, but it gets easier. It really does!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

You’re right, Corinne, he is young. Concern over that window closing was part of my motivation, but all of the voices in my head turned into a cacophony that drowned out the one voice I really should have been listening to: his.

And hey, if you want to send Paige over here, I’ll work on both of them at once. (Since I’ve obviously done such a bang-up job so far.) I have the carpet cleaner standing by.

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Elizabeth (@claritychaos) March 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

I’m big on instinctual parenting. The books can offer ideas, but never a plan. No one but you is an expert on your kid, and personally I always found the plans and schedules of the experts created a pressure I didn’t need.

I have learned that I rarely regret going with my gut, and I always regret ignoring it – whether we’re talking about skipping an errand because someone seems borderline meltdown or letting the potty training thing go.

(Potty training is a hard one b/c kids vary so much. One son started on his own at 14 months and was out of diapers by 20 months, another was almost 3.5 before he was done. No interest at trying AT ALL. Now the baby, at 14 months already wants to sit on the potty like his big brother! Just go with your kid and toss the books. ) :)

Good luck Kristen!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:27 am

Thanks, Elizabeth, for this: “I have learned that I rarely regret going with my gut, and I always regret ignoring it.” I have learned that too – or at least I’ve been taught that. It’s the recall and application that I’m having trouble with.

I also appreciate your suggestion that one of the major by-products of these books and parenting websites is pressure. And pressure is definitely something I do a fine job of applying without any extra help.

Always nice to see you here!

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Nicki March 1, 2010 at 9:12 am

Ah, a blog post I can wrap my arms around. When attempting to “train” the twins the first time – yes, you read correctly, the first time – I would tell my sister-in-law, when she commented on how good my hardwood floors looked, that it was from urine.

Truthfully, I found it was easiest to let the child tell me when he/she was ready to use the toilet. Saved me a lot of laundry and frustration and save the child a lot of agony.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

Although my preference is for wood – for aesthetic reasons as well as cleaning ones – we have wall-to-wall carpet throughout most our house. So I’m not able to enjoy the wood-polishing benefits of potty accidents. That would be some comfort, I suppose.

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Andrea March 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

Oh my god, potty-training is a nightmare, no matter how you look at it (my advice…wait till summer and let him run around outside naked). I think I have buried my instincts so deeply under layers of parenting advice books, dreamy blog fairylands of magical perfect parenting, my own upbringing and extreme exhaustion that I don’t think I’d recognize an instinct if it smacked me with a 2 x 4. So I’m impressed that you not only recognized your instincts (so early in this process too), but that you have been able to reassess and change directions.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

Yes, it was a bit of an excavation finding that last shred of instinct – but in this case, the book’s plan was just so wrong for my kid and his reaction was so strong that it was easier for me to access the instinct and act on it than it would usually be.

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PinesLakeRedhead March 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

I forgive you and I’m sure your son has already forgiven you.

The only parenting book I owned was “What to Expect the Fist Year.” I’ve been winging it ever since. As the other moms have pointed out, each child is on their own timetable. Learn to listen to it and teach them to listen to their own bodies. You guys will do great!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

Thanks, PLR! I hope so!

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Trailer Queen March 1, 2010 at 10:02 am

I may be too far in the other camp – I eschew any book or magazine that attempts to “help” me raise my children, preferring my own motherwit/instincts/common sense.

Women have been birthing and raising children forever and it always cracks me up at the “new and improved” ways to do it that come out every year or so – cashing in on the trend out there that somehow mother’s need to be told how and what to do for their own families.

You absolutely know best. Keep trusting your gut. :)

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

Thanks, Queen. I will try.

You know the funny part of all of this? I never even considered asking my mom how she potty trained me and my brothers. I think my aversion to competition with the other moms I know has scared me off asking for advice from actual people – including my own wonderful and wise mom.

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TheKitchenWitch March 1, 2010 at 10:06 am

Both of my girls were complete disasters to potty train. They’d get it, then backslide. Over and over. Miss M. is still struggling at FOUR. I hate it. I even went to child psychiatrist, it was making me so crazy.

Gee, big surprise–his answer was, “Back off. Let it go.”

Obviously, I suck at listening to my instincts!

Good luck with Big Boy. He’s still young, and for reals–he won’t go to prom in a Pull-Up. At least that’s what *I* tell myself!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

Could we please become actual neighbors so we can at least worry about everything together while eating some of your delicious food?

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cevraini March 1, 2010 at 10:12 am

Oh my, we have all sooooo been there. Worried that we’ve inflicted damage on our precious ones!! Our mothers worried too! It’s part of being a mom.

I have tried to trust the books, the magazines, the so-called experts. The best advice I’ve received has been from my mother & grandmother & friends, but even then, no kid is the same!

I’ve slowly been learning to trust my instinct – which is actually what my mom has always advised. In the end, you know your child and what they are ready for and how they feel.

I’ve been a mom for 19 years and still make a ton of mistakes! There are just fewer of them and most importantly, I’ve learned from them and forgiven myself – as you should too! :)

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

Thanks, Shawna. I’ll keep on chugging along – trying to make the mistakes fewer and farther between!

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suzicate March 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

So, glad you endedup following your owninstincts. You know your child better than any book. I’ve found a lot of child rearing books are written by doctors who have NEVER reared children. Some books informative and some just not sensible. All children are different, and it takes different approaches, even with children in the same family, to get the desired results. Following your instincts proves that you are absolutely on the right track.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

This is a great point, SuziCate: if two kids in the same family can react so differently to the same plan, what would make me think that one plan could ever work for every kid out there?

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Amy at Never-True Tales March 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

Oh, I’ve been there. You put that so well…that you ‘did harm’. I’ve done it, too, while knowing the path I was on was not working. And I stayed stubbornly on my path.

I’m glad you give in to your instincts, and you’ve reminded me to do the same. I’m very ‘accomplishment oriented’, and sometimes, my children suffer.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

“Accomplishment oriented.” That’s me too. I worry about how this will play out once my kids get to school. I suppose the trick is remembering how much value I’ve found in non-goal-oriented tasks and finding a way to convey that feeling to my sons. Doing so might just take the pressure off.

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Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts March 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for this post. I too am a book-reader and rule-follower, and could see myself being prone to the same pitfalls you describe here. IEP is still quite a way off from potty training, so I’m glad to have read your post before I wreak any havoc of my own.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Please feel free to use me in any and all things as an over-planning cautionary tale!

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Diane March 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm

wow – awesome comeback! Bobsled, ice cream and poetry in the WC. I’m impressed with your creativity and ability to connect with your child on his terms. Bravo!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Thanks, Diane, for the positive spin you’ve put on it. It helps. It really does.

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Linda from Bar Mitzvahzilla March 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Kristen, I feel for you. When my son would hide in corners from me grunting at age 3 1/2 I was in absolute despair! Another mom said to me, “Do you see any teenagers around still wearing diapers?” And I, of course, said, “No.” And she said, “I guess he’ll figure it out.”

The miserable thing about once they get potty trained is that then you spend the next couple years being called by bellowing voiced to the toilet to wipe them after who-knows-what happens in there! The day THAT stops is the day your freedom begins!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Yes, Linda, I have already realized that potty training might reduce our diaper costs, but it also increases the amount of time we spend thinking about and dealing with the bathroom situation. As they say, the grass is always greener…

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Terry March 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Oh yes! Listen to your instincts and then teach your children to listen to theirs. Potty training is where I first learned this lesson,too. Many years ago.

Thirteen years later I was teaching it to kid outside of a party he was attending. I dropped him off my everything inside me said just sit in your car and wait. And I did. Fifteen minutes later kids began to run out of the party. I ran in find my son. He walked with me back to the car. Some kids had decided to try this game where you hyperventilate and then someone hits you hard in your stomach. Things quickly got out of control. I told Kyle and all his friends that day that you have to listen to that moment when all your instincts tell you this is not a good idea. Remember that feeling and go with it.

I hope that my kids will trust their instincts. And when it comes to raising kids. Your instincts will be the best!

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Stories like these are why I am tempted to lock my boys in their bedrooms until they’re 30. But you’re right: a firm grounding in good instincts is the most valuable gift we can give them – whether those instincts pertain to using the bathroom or avoiding dangerous behavior.

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sylvanstyle March 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

When I was preparing for the birth of my son, my mother’s advice to me was “don’t listen to anything your mother says.” Her [sort of] joke reflects her real bit of advice: Trust your instincts. My parents both led us by that example (“You can do it… You’ll know what to do… I can’t make that decision for you… What do you think?”), encouraging independence, assertiveness and common sense.
Which is great – until I come to territory so uncharted that I don’t have much of an instinct!
My boy is not quite two, and when it comes to potty training my only instinct is that he isn’t ready yet. (My mother’s is to housetrain first. We live in the country, so we can entertain that sort of thing.)

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 8:38 pm

This is just where I found myself this weekend: “territory so uncharted that I don’t have much of an instinct.” But instead of applying related instincts or allowing a fledgling instinct to grow, I headed straight for the books and drowned out my gut. Wrong move.

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Stacia March 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I’m pretty sure we read the same book. And it didn’t work for us either!

I have a hard time trusting my instincts in every facet of life, and mothering is no exception. I feel like I NEED books, resources, tips, to make up for it. Sometimes they help, sometimes they don’t, but I’ve found if I follow the “guess-and-check” method, going with what seems most right and adapting from there, I usually figure it out. As for harm done? That’s a constant worry, isn’t it??

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

The “guess-and-check” method. I love it. And hey, if it’s worked for generations of scientists, why not for us?

Thanks, Stacia.

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Eva March 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Nice reminder that we are each unique, and no matter the overwhelming research and best intentions of “the experts” we each do things in our own way, in our own time. Another example of throwing the concept of “this is how it SHOULD be done” out the window.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Yes, Eva, just another entry in the Should’ve/Would’ve/Could’ve brigade.

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BigLittleWolf March 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I’m with Jennifer. Forget the books. Forget the comparison charts. Take your cues from your child. Try something, and ease back to see how it goes. He’ll let you know.

By Year Two with Baby One I’d pretty much tossed the books and realized I had to go with the flow – as led by my little men.

Harder, if you’re organized, a planner, an achiever, a Type A. But easier, as time goes on, and for our household – pretty much the approach that’s worked for us, always.

That doesn’t mean chaos, but it’s a reorientation of what we think of as parenting.

Now, I think you probably deserve a few margaritas, and your hubby cooking dinner for the next few nights. Flowers would be good, too. All of this is much harder on the parent in the long run.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I actually owe you a lot of credit for inspiring me to reassess the situation on Saturday. An aside in one of our e-mail exchanges made me stop and really look at what was happening and how we were experiencing it.

And then it was BLW to the rescue again that evening: to pamper myself, I gave myself a pedicure. Not Cherry Crush (http://bit.ly/bopWQt), but close: I’m Not Really a Waitress. Also red; also fabulous!

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Belinda Munoz March 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Nothing makes me more insecure as a parent than potty-training. My son turned three a few weeks ago and we are nowhere near where I’d like us to be. I’ve pumped all my mom friends (since he turned 1!) for advice and I’ve finally decided to let him be until he’s completely ready.

I do generally trust my intuition especially when what it tells me is contrary to logic. I apply this principle in most aspects of life but when it comes to parenting, I tend to subscribe to a trial and error method. It’s working so far while my son is still very forgiving.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Oh, Belinda, I wish we were neighbors so we could go through this process together – reminding ourselves and each other to let our little guys be and to trust our instincts.

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Terresa Wellborn March 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I love your point, “to let my instincts speak as loudly as the voices of the experts in my books.”

I say, let your instincts speak even louder. ;)

Potty training can be hell. It doesn’t help that 1,001 people/books/articles are trying to tell you the “magical steps” to do it all “right.”

The first few years of parenting, I read and highlighted parenting books like mad. And I followed several “plans” more than my own gut.

I was a PTN with my oldest (as in Potty Training Nazi). I fear some days, even now, that I’ve damaged her permanently. She’s 8 years old. But she still hugs and kisses me, writes me love notes & calls me “mom.” I guess I haven’t failed quite yet.

Great post, I love visiting here & seeing what you’re up to. It’s always thought provoking.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Thanks, Terresa, for your kind words – and for letting me know I’m in good company, even when not at my best.

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Jana@ Attitude Adjustment March 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I say screw the experts. They just want to sell books. (I, like you, have wrestled with the idea that someone must know better than li’l old me. But it’s not true. Just because we live in the information age, doesn’t mean that all information is good information. You’re right to return to your instincts.)

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hmm…maybe I’ll write a parenting book based on this post and these great comments.

The title? Trust Your Instincts!

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Amber March 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Oh honey, we all have those moments. The best part about children is their resilience. He will forgive and FORGET. It may take you a bit, but that is part of the learning process.

As for instincts? My whole parenting model is based off of my instincts. I’m sure that’s why my daughter’s first sentence was “I wanna cookie.” Nothing wrong with a cookie, right?

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I think your daughter and I would get along. Very well. :)

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Contemporary Troubadour March 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm

It sounds like it was a trying morning. Those experts — frustrating, how powerful their words can feel, no? You do get to be an expert too, though, in this whole process, because Big Boy is first and foremost *yours.* I imagine you know him better than any expert out there writing for the general masses of yet-to-be-potty-trained children :)

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Kristen @ Motherese March 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Ahh, so I can trust my instincts *and* the experts, as long as the expert is me – I like this paradigm.

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Contemporary Troubadour March 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

There you go!

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Maria March 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

The thing is, Kristen, that we can only do our best. Sometimes, we fall short, other times, we excell. All we can do is parent and make decisions with our heart in the right place, and forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. Because, after all, our children are learning that lesson from us as well.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

Maria, this is such an important point: everything we do as parents – including how we react to our mistakes – is a teachable moment for our kids. Thanks for this reminder.

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privilegeofparenting March 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm

For what it’s worth, I forgive you, just as I try to forgive myself for all my best laid plans falling into chaos. As a psychologist I fully endorse the notion of ditching the experts in favor of the instincts.

When it comes to toilet training, I like to keep in mind that the gold is in the poop (http://tiny.cc/TccGw )

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Kristen @ Motherese March 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

If the gold is indeed in the poop, then I finally have the riches I need to finance our parenting revolution. Viva la mierda!

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3 Stinky Boys and Me March 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

I am knee deep in potty training myself. Ugh! The first day is the worst. : ) It gets better from here.

And yes, I try to listen to my instincts every time, but I, like you am a reader and an instruction follower. : )

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Kristen @ Motherese March 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

Tasha, I hope you don’t mean that “knee deep” literally. :)

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Charlotte March 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

From what you described, I tried the same book with my oldest and it was a disaster! After that I learned to trust my instincts, too. Mother instincts are a powerful tool and one we should listen to ahead of all the expert books.

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Kristen @ Motherese March 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I like the addition of the word “mother” to “instincts” – I agree that mother instincts are a particularly powerful sort. And, given the differences between kids, it stands to reason that our knowledge of them, combined with these instincts, is a more reliable gauge than any one-size-fits-all formula.

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naptimewriting March 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I love this post because it show that with the best intentions, we get something in our heads that are logical to us, but that forget how completely alien are children are from our own way of thinking. And their way is totally logical. It’s just different.
The amazing part is being able to recognize that something’s not working and to find something that fits their outlook. And it makes life easier.
This post reassures me that finding what work for my family rarely fits what a particular theory says (okay, there are one or two, but I’ve heard no end from family and friends how wrong those theories are). Instead, we can modify until something seems to work. As long as it respects everyone in the family…go for it.
Yay for the Motherese bobsled team!

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