My daughter Kerissa is a very curious one-year-old who follows everything her three-year-old big brother, Kellus, does. If he runs in circles, she runs in circles. If he falls to the floor, she falls to the floor. If he sings “La la la la”, she grabs her Elmo and starts singing. Rightfully so, it’s cute! Who wouldn’t smile at the cute little people playing “follow the leader.” It is adorable, but there are times when I have to try and explain to my son how he’s a leader and everything he does Kerissa will do.

So, if he jumps on the couch, knowing it’s wrong, she will. If he throws a ball in the house, she will. Get’s on Mommy’s laptop, she will.

Although going through a never-ending circle that surrounds the word no, I recently had to sit back and think of how much this reminded me of me sometimes. As a mommy to two toddlers, it’s really easy to play “follow the leader,” too, with other mommy friends. You see, I’m sure we can all agree that being a mommy to little people has its challenges. And when they are two or three years apart, we’ll go through a ton of follow-the-leader games in the house. Well, because we are still learning ourselves, watching other mothers who look like they have it all together can be a little intimidating. So, what do we do? Naturally, think to ourselves, “Well, if that works for you, it just might for for me.” And sometimes, that type of thinking leaves us with wondering what happened moments later.

The truth, which is often a hard pill to swallow, is that not every mother’s routine works best for other mothers. Every child is different, and although there are some basic principles when it comes to raising children that help, it still doesn’t mean it will work the best with your child. Children learn differently, potty train at different times, start walking at different ages, and even learn how to socialize in different ways. It has nothing to do with your motherly skills. You aren’t failing any mommy test every month. And although it really can feel that way, especially if you surround yourself with great mommy friends, the best thing I found to do is trust that the Lord is going to give you the ability to raise your child(ren) the way he needs you to.

One important thing I’ve learned so far about parenthood is that these are little souls we’re raising that belong to the Lord. God has graciously allowed us to borrow them so that we can raise them properly. But the process of raising kids (and we all know it’s quite a process) is a unique one that we all handle in our own unique ways.

So, the next time you’re around your mommy friends and they brag about what works best for them, you should smile and say, “That’s great!” because you know that may not work, but there is a better way for you!