One of the craziest things I learned as Mom is that peer pressure is not just for children — it’s for us parents as well!
From the time my kids started going to nursery school, then onto kindergarten, and then to after-school classes, and beyond; it was always a lot of “what’s the best this” and “what’s the best that.” This is the best camp or the pediatrician or extracurricular...the list of things to compare goes on and on.
I have to admit that I really did feel the pressure to keep up with “the best” of everything at the very beginning when the whole parenting thing was so new. I definitely went along with what all the other Moms were doing, talking about, and insinuating was “the best” when it came to every single aspect of parenting. It was understandable, I didn’t want to mess it all up. However, as time went on and I gained more experience, knowledge, and self-confidence, I realized that opinions and the top rated things really didn’t matter — my kids would survive without following the most popular trends and to-do’s.
While most of the time my kids wanted to do what everyone else was doing, they ended up not doing what was “best” for everyone else — they ended up finding their own personal “best”! I slowly realized that we didn’t have to follow what everyone else was doing to be healthy and happy. I’ll admit that it took me almost as long as it took my kids to realize that the popular thing and the right thing aren’t always the same. The bottom line is that everyone has to find their own version of “best”, and oftentimes the other parents pushing their version of “best” are also trying to follow the crowd or convince themselves that what they’re doing is the best! Whatever the reason, it’s all good, it’s all a part of the process of parenting and growth for the entire family.
The best thing I still remind myself as well as newer parents, is that you can only do (and you should only do) what makes you feel comfortable. With a little bit of time, we all figure things out for ourselves in the ways that are unique and right for each of us. The stress of it all usually comes from the pressure we feel (and put on ourselves) of having to do whatever everyone else is doing. The best thing to do is what works for you and your kids and family! There is no such thing as the #1 best route. It really is a personal thing.
Remember that as you get more knowledgeable and experienced as a parent, you will see that in the end it all turns out the same. Whether it’s this school, or that doctor, or this camp, or that after-school activity; our children will get what they need in the long run. So have no fear!