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Ignore the Experts (Most of the Time) continued...

Arming yourself with information can be useful. But too much expert advice can lead you into the trap of believing that there is one right way to do things and that if you’re not doing it that one way your kids will suffer -- a perfect recipe for mother’s guilt.

In real life, moms get stressed and lose patience. Sometimes, we yell. "But one of the things that those articles never mention -- and I’ve experienced -- " Hicks says, "is that children are very resilient. And they know that when you act in love that you’re acting on their behalf."

Going With Your Gut

Once you’ve talked to your pediatrician, read a few books, and perused some good parenting magazine articles, it’s time to step away from the schooling and start trusting your internal mothering guide. "We joke that kids don’t come with directions, but they do in a sense," Hicks says. "The directions are your values, and they are the basis on which all of your decisions are made."

If you feel strongly about the objectification of women in the media, for example, then a lot of your decisions about what television programs your kids can watch will be made with that in mind. That’s parenting.

"If you make those little decisions along the way, you start to create a path for yourself that looks different from everyone else," Hicks, who is also a columnist and author of Bringing Up Geeks: How to Protect Your Kid's Childhood in a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World, says. "Then you create a pattern of decision making. And the more you do it, the longer you do it, your family has its own unique personality. It just gets easier as you go, and people know what to expect of you."

Silencing the Critic

Still, it can be hard not to let those snide comments get under your skin.

Over the years, Linggi has developed some techniques for building a shield around herself when it comes to critics of her parenting skills. Rather than showing she’s been bothered by a comment or getting riled up, Linggi smiles widely and gives her standard line: "Thanks for the input!" That polite yet non-engaging statement seems to stop parenting know-it-alls in their tracks.

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