I've been a mama for 10 years now. I've gone through a lot, learned so much and really feel that I've become sort of a seasoned vet at this whole mom thing.
You don't start out knowing everything.....or much of anything for that matter. As soon as that baby comes home, all you read and researched, goes out the window. Experience is what teaches you. You can tell your friends and family that you wont ever bottle feed, spank, yell, let them watch tv, eat any sugar....blah blah blah. It's just words until you GO THROUGH IT.
When Laura was born, I was so for sure that she would just sleep in her bassinet and be cool about it. No, that did not happen. She probably slept in that damn bassinet 4 times. She preferred sleeping in her bouncer. One night I had no idea what to do. Here I was, a mother to a 6 year old, yet I couldn't figure out how the hell to get my newborn to sleep! I put her in the bouncer for a minute and bam.......she was asleep. I let that sucker bounce her to sleep for weeks and weeks after that. It went against EVERYTHING I read, and was so sure would happen. By the time I had William years later, I wasn't nervous about HOW he would sleep. I knew he would figure it out and we would see what worked for him. I got lucky, and he preferred sleeping alone in his crib. Never a bouncer :)
Nicholas was bullied one year when he was about 9. I had never dealt with anything like that before, so I was kind of lost when he came home crying. The first time, I talked with him about being the bigger person, about trying to be nice to the kids that were being hateful, because they were obviously either jealous, or upset about something with themselves. After the 3rd or 4th time of him coming home crying because of kids picking on him after he got off the bus, I had had enough! He told me these kids CHASED him all the way home. I was furious. My little boy was upset, and needed me to help him. So, he was red faced, sobbing and I hear kids outside of my house LAUGHING. That was it. I got right up and ran out of my house and right after those kids. I was bare foot, running after 10 year olds. I wasn't going to DO anything, obviously I'm not that type of person. But I had already spoken to the school, and to the PARENTS about this. Nothing changed, so mama bear ran! I am sure I seemed like a weirdo. I had recently had a baby (Katie) and was in yoga pants, bare foot stomp/running after KIDS. LOL......yea I laugh about that one still, but it worked. They never picked on my kid again and he even became FRIENDS with them. (No children were hurt during my run. ;) I would have never been able to catch them if I tried!)
I've been a mom long enough to have been around lots of other moms. I've heard lots of advice, seen lots of other parenting styles and read more than you would probably believe about parenting, to know what works for me and my family.
That's all it takes. Experience. One thing that works for one kid, won't necessarily work for another. All 4 of my kids require different approaches. It takes lots of time and work, to find out what works for each child. Realizing that every kids is different, is the first thing to learn.
I've learned that believing in yourself means so much. Putting other people's advice to the side is a must. Judging how other's raise their children is a waste of time. I don't let my kids have tv's in their bedrooms. It works for us. It doesn't work for everyone though, and it doesn't make one parent "right". It took time to learn that.
Through all of these years of parenting, we have gotten into our own groove. It takes lots of patience, love and time, to become the parents you really want to be. You learn so much more from parenting, than reading ABOUT parenting. It just takes time.