I parent by feeling things out in my heart and gut. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I ask for advice, but ultimately my heart and my gut makes the end decisions. I put faith into my mommy-gut that it will guide me to making the decision that is ultimately correct for Baby Bird, K., and I. The only decisions I regret making to-date are the ones where my mind said one thing, my gut said another, and I sided with my mind.
People-pleasing is a tendency of mine which causes me a great deal of anxiety when the action required to please a person would also require me to ignore my intuition. At no point has this been more evident than since I became a parent. Trouble is, some days it seems like everyone tries to tell you how you need to raise your child, and people pleasers can get caught up in that haze of conflicting advice so easily. Still other days, I make assumptions about what others close to me expect of me that aren't even valid - often these people do not truly judge me for my parenting decisions, regardless of whether those decisions are congruent with their own beliefs or not.
I often think about how strong "Mommy Gut", or a mother's intuition, really is. Having been one to follow my gut feelings throughout my life, I am STILL blown away by how clearly a mother's intuition will speak to her. I don't have to sort through a confusing array of thoughts and feelings to find my answer - it is right there telling me in no uncertain terms what to do.
I believe that all we can ever do as parents is trust ourselves to decide what is best for our children. That's not to say there is never a season for asking advice or seeking facts, just that your parental instinct will ultimately guide you to do what is best for you and your child. And if what you feel and ultimately decide is right for your children isn't congruent with popular opinion, or what other people think you should do, screw 'em (to put it somewhat less eloquently than the rest of my post).