The act of becoming a parent reminds me of participating in a pinata party for the first time.
You decide you’re ready to go all in and take your spot in line - eagerly awaiting your turn. You can’t wait to take a swing at the dangling donkey and are confident that you have planned out just the right moves.
As you step up to the front of the line, ready for your turn, someone explains the rules to you. They tell you that all you have to do is take the stick, hit the pinata and out comes the candy.
In theory it sounds so easy - so gratifying.
Then they mention you will be blindfolded and, to make matters worse, they’re going to spin you around five times so you’re dizzy and disoriented.
Still driven by the promise of a prize, you stagger in, blind, wobbly and full of determination.
After a few hits - and a whole lot of misses - the time’s up and you’ve either hit the jackpot or gone down swinging - never giving up on the dream of accomplishing what you had set out to do.
Parenting is much the same. Everyone goes in thinking they’ve cracked the code, with careful moves and the promise of success. But everyone is caught off guard when they discover they’re going in blind and racing against the clock to get it right.
The truth is, even as a parent of three kids, I still have no idea whether my choices are going to directly result in the jackpot prize - happy human beings who make a positive impact on the world - or if all of my hard work will have little impact on the final outcome of how my little humans turn out.
As “practiced” parents, we are the kids standing on the sidelines - the ones who have already taken our swing at the pinata. We watch - often with envy - as the “new kids” step up for their first turn, with hope in their eyes and no clue about what’s about to occur.
We want to tell them how to do it right, so they can succeed on the first swing, but we also know that we don’t have all of the answers - that no one has fully cracked the code and found the technique that promises the best results.
So, some of us stand quietly on the sidelines, knowing that there’s nothing we can do but cheer on our friends and hope for the best.
Others encourage our parenting peers to give it their all - we tell them to swing their hardest, to reach higher, to never give up even when they fall, because they’re so close. We tell them how we did it when it was our turn, how we made lots of connections, and maybe even had a big win.
The main reason why the practiced parents always want to give advice is because we’ve walked in your shoes, and while we may have taken a different path or a different approach, the end goal remains the same. Please know that we just want to help, because like the kids watching on at a pinata party, a big win is a win for all. In the end, we all just want to share the candy that falls.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee.