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It’s True, We All Have No Idea What We’re Doing

Photograph by Twenty20

I was watching one of my new favorite shows, "This Is Us," when I heard one of the main characters, a father, say something to his child that I couldn't stop thinking about: “It’s my first time, too.” In this particular scene, the child was upset that his dad was distracted and wasn't watching him swim in the pool for the first time. After apologizing, his dad gently reminds his son, that it's his "first time, too"—it's his first time being a dad, a parent, and he doesn't always know what the right thing to do is.

And isn't that the truth?

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When my son was born, I thought I'd always know what to do. I thought I'd somehow have all the parenting answers. I'd be able to soothe every cry and figure out every conundrum. Of course, I quickly realized that I didn’t have all the answers—not even close. And I was pretty hard on myself every time I would make a mistake. Why couldn’t I get it right? Shouldn’t I know what I’m doing?

And as my kids have grown, the opportunity for me to make mistakes has only increased because as children grow, so do their problems. I find that especially true with my son. Never having brothers and only having one son, I often become totally stumped over how to handle certain situations. I don’t want to mess up in the parenting of my son, but what I’ve come to understand is that it’s my first time being a mom, so if I don’t know exactly how to be one, that’s OK.

No one who does something for the first time does it perfectly.

I need to give myself grace in parenting. No one who does something for the first time does it perfectly. Everything you do takes practice. I'll always be facing new situations as my children grow, but hopefully as the years go by, I'll become wiser. I'll be able to apply lessons learned in past situations to new ones. I may still fall short at times, but at least I can learn from my mistakes and keep moving forward.

I also believe that if I'm humble enough to admit to my kids that I don’t always know what I’m doing, that they'll give me grace as well. I want them to know that I make mistakes, but I'll always try to do my very best. They’ll know that I’m human and fall short at times, but my love for them is never ending. And I hope they'll also realize that when they makes mistakes, it’s OK too. Taking the pressure off of me will also take the pressure off of them.

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It’s their first time going through life and I don’t want them to think they should always be perfect and have all the right answers. I only want them to do their best and not beat themselves up when they have no idea what they’re doing—just like me. We're all in the same boat together.

So don’t worry, mamas. None of us have any idea what we’re doing—and neither do our kids. We're all in the same boat together, so let's just try not to rock it too much and enjoy the ride.

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