Along with the journey of motherhood comes the advice from others. Thrown out like confetti at a wedding ceremony, it gets tossed out from the moment you become pregnant.
Sometimes helpful, sometimes timely, but sometimes desperately destructive advice from well-meaning friends, family members, or strangers who want to assist and support.
One comment or encouragement I have received time after time goes something like this: Your mommy heart will lead you. Follow your mommy gut. You will know what to do.
Now, there are times when I do know from the deepest place what to do and what will be best for my little people, and I walk forward confidently in that decision. But, this is often not the case.
More often than I am comfortable to admit, I simply do not know.
I have felt unprepared for this feeling in my motherhood journey. There are times between the knowing—when, despite being told, I really should know what to do—I just don’t.
From not knowing why my newborn is not sleeping or how best to burp her to when it is time for a doctor’s visit. Or when it is a time to fight for my child or time to let my child fight for themselves. When to stand firm or when to give in. When to give space and when to draw closer to them. Or how to navigate a sibling dispute while being fair and firm, gentle yet unwavering.
These are the complicated paths we need to navigate daily, often on an hour-to-hour basis, with our children.
Sometimes it’s in the big things and sometimes it is in those little, everyday things that cause you to stop in your tracks, mid-sentence, and wonder What do I do now?
And the truth is we can be honest. We should be encouraging each other to be honest.
We need to be honest with each other, ourselves, and our children and simply say, “I just don’t know.”
It feels so wrong for a mighty mom to have these words come off her lips, “Mommy doesn’t know.” But try it . . . because not knowing is actually OK.
We don’t need to know what to do all the time, and we don’t need to believe that in every case our mommy instinct will never let us down or always lead us in confidence in the next step we need to take.
We are not God, and we cannot know it all, all the time. Not knowing is not a weakness, but a very real trait, making us wonderfully human. So let’s use this to influence our children in the freedom and liberty of being able to say, “I don’t know,” and let that be good enough—not for every answer, but for some.