How to Find Your Child’s Parenting Manual

I needed to be reminded by my own message today. Tune in. Trust.

Thank you spirit for this reminder that came in the form of a conversation with my friend Katharine — a loving mama (to a very lucky little five-months-old boy) who is navigating the sometimes crazy road of mothering an infant, seeking balance as she lives with sleepless nights  and the many questions we moms face as first time (heck, as ANYtime) moms. “Am I doing it right? What does my baby need? Am I a good mom?!?”…

My friend is a warrior because she is taking the spiritual path of motherhood ON. It’s not always an easy path, but what it lacks in ease it makes up for in soft baby kisses and looks of love that could charm the devil himself.

Here is what I am remembering today.


Ok…where’s the manual??? How many of us have felt that way when we are first sent out of the hospital with our little bundle of joy held snuggly in our arms? It would be nice though. Just turn to page 3 on crying and you will see exactly what you need to do. Not sleeping? Please turn to page 12.

Well, this may be hard to believe, but our children do come with a manual. And we actually get a different one with each child, each manual as as unique as they are. And like all manuals, just because we are given the manual doesn’t mean we immediately have all the knowledge inside memorized just by holding it. No, we will actually have to READ the manual if it’s going to help us. Or in the case of the manual that comes with each child, we need to LISTEN to it. You see, this manual is called our intuition.

The hard thing about intuition and parenting is that so often, as new moms, we are clear about one thing…we know nothing!!! I know it feels that way. But I am here to tell you, and hear me loud and clear, “Yes you do!!!” If it feels like you were absent the day this thing called “a mother’s intuition” was handed out, relax. It might just be that you are standing there holding it in your hands, wishing you knew what it said inside, frustrated that you don’t. Hey, I got an idea. Let’s OPEN IT UP and let that information in!

Developing Your Intuition

Sound hard? It’s not. It can be as simple as taking a deep breath and asking yourself (silently in your head or people may start to wonder about you) what you want to know and then waiting for your body to give you the answer. What if your body gives you two answers you ask? No problem. Try them both on and see how they feel.

If, for instance, you are deciding whether or not to go grocery shopping now (with your child) or later (when your husband is home and you could go alone) try them on. Say the one option and feel what that feels like. Now say the second and get a sense of how that feels. Now for the moment of truth. If I were standing right there in front of you and quickly demanded to know which felt more “right”, what would you say? Quick! Now! Survey says? There is no right or wrong answer, just go with your gut. Yeah, your gut; that is so often where intuition lives.

And don’t get all crazy if you can’t solve the major issues over night. Was Rome built in a day? Did Mark McGwire stand over home plate and knock the first pitch ever throw at him at age 5 out of the ball park? No, probably not. And so it stands to reason that you too may need some practice here. Start with little issues and as you build confidence with your “inner knowing”, start to tackle the bigger ones. Do I give you peas or corn today for lunch? Corn, I think. Smile. Do I change your diaper now or after we get to mom’s house? Now, I think. Smile. Do we try to go to dinner while mom watches you for the first time? Yes. Smile. Are you ready to move from my bed to a co-sleeper by my bed so I can sleep better ’cause I’m so worried I’ll squish you? Yes. Smile.

Okay, and now you are ready for the big leagues. Keep this up and by age 3 you will be tackling, “Do I put you in time out or take a deep breath and smile and ask you to do what I was hoping for you to do…again?” You breathe and smile. Hurray…your tot listened! And then the World Series. You sweet little baby is now 13 and you have ever so many different issues to manage. Breathe, tune in and act.

Intuition. You have it. I promise. Of course it’s still okay to ask other moms, to read all the parenting books or what everyone is saying on; but in the end, it’s your intuition that will tell you if what you read or hear is right for you and for your child. Use it, and it will grow as surely as your child will.

You have your child’s parenting manual. It’s right there within you. Tune into it. Trust it. Open yourself up to the powerful messages it has for you and let it guide you.

Suzanne, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and twins born in February of 2010, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and Parent Coach. 


  1. This echos my entire philosophy on parenting so well. I honestly believe the secret to parenting is to trust yourself. You know yourself and your kid better than anyone else in the world.

    I love thinking of it as a manual. That’s a great analogy. 🙂

  2. Great Post! How many times do we seek out that “one size fits all” book or parenting advice solution? It just doesn’t work when we go home and practice on our own kids. I have three boys and I used to feel like with each one, the “issues” changed every few weeks and there was no way to “check” and see if I was “doing it right”! Great perspective- you should check out Parenting on Track because it’s all about helping parents find their intuitive parenting philosophy in what they call a “roadmap for success.”

    Anyway, it’s so true to go with your gut…and for real- one way I find my manual? If I STOP and think it’s not going to matter in the long run, then I usually trust that. Even if it is my 5yo saying “butthead.” lol

  3. hi to “Life happens…”(couldn’t find name on post…). thanks for comment. you say in your blog, “the tools I need to raise the kids I want DO exist within ME….” yes. yes they do!!!

    manual….no user’s manual…the message that this article and the post you mention above (which at first glance may appear to be opposing) are actually one and the the same. ………… “trust your intuition” ;p


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