Why There’s No Definitive Book on Parenting (Despite All These Articles)

If you type “book on parenting” into Google or Amazon, you’ll find a wealth of books are available for your immediate purchase. Don’t have time to wait on Prime shipping? Type “mom blog” into your Google search bar, and see if anything pops up. You’ll see, of course, that there is no shortage of content out there for mothers about parenthood. And each day that passes, new content is posted and published.

As a contributor for Indianapolis Moms Blog, and someone who loves to write and read, the influx of content is not just a good thing, but a great thing. Information overload can be confusing, but I’ve always been one to err on the side of having too much information than not enough. And, as a mom who spent many 2 a.m. (and 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.) breastfeeding sessions in the early days of motherhood searching on Google for all the answers, I can say I know why there is no definitive book on parenting, and why there is an unquenchable thirst for more and more information, blogs, articles and books every day. It comes down to two reasons:

  1. There are too many questions to be answered.

Read any how-to article on a specific topic related to parenting – say, how to get rid of the pacifier, or how to get your kid to eat vegetables, as a couple of the many examples out there – and consider whether you have follow up questions come the end of the article. You might not right away, but once you try to proactively follow the 3, 5, 87 steps to achieving whatever milestone the article discusses, I’ll bet you have some.

I first discovered this when trying to teach my son to fall asleep on his own. Like many parents, we had rocked him to sleep for months. I didn’t mind doing this at all, but he was about to start daycare and I wanted him to have a chance of sleeping even if the caregivers didn’t have time to rock him to sleep before each of his three naps. I read that in order to get your child to fall asleep on their own, you should put them down, “drowsy but awake.” I read that advice in books and articles. It seemed simple. And it was. I could tell when he was drowsy, and I could certainly put him down. What articles failed to articulate is what the hell you do after the child’s eyes become as wide as a deer in headlights and they immediately start screaming. That’s my point: while there is ample advice, tips and thoroughly-listed steps out there, all the details of what to do are rarely listed, because the author can’t possibly know what reaction each child will have. Which brings me to the next point:

  1. Kids are all unique. 

Babies and children tend to meet milestones and start new habits around the same time as one another. Many children also tend to respond positively and sometimes predictably to the same soothing and teaching techniques. This is all well and good, except, some don’t. A parent of seven children doesn’t have all the answers, because she has never had to parent your child. Every kid is different, as is every person, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution, certainly not in any single article or book.

In case you can’t tell, I’ve looked to parenting “experts” for advice on a number of things, and as I prepare for baby number two, I find myself doing the same thing. But, the one thing I have in my mind and keep coming back to is that ultimately, I know best. I am an expert at parenting my son, and I’ll be an expert with my second son, too (eventually, anyhow). There will never be a single resource that has all the answers, but by taking in the valuable content out there, you better prepare yourself to be your own ultimate guide in all things baby, mommy and parenthood.

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