I want to be good at this thing (the parenting thing - it'd be nice to be good at the blogging thing too, but you can't have everything). I read a lot - books and blogs and articles - I talk to other parents, heck, I even talk to my wife about it and sometimes we agree (actually, luckily, we agree on most of it). And the more I read the more confused it all becomes.
Thankfully the conclusion I've come to is that most other people feel the same way I do.
In the beginning I read a lot of books about parenting. Some were really good, some were intimidating and some were down-right frightening. After our daughter was born I read more and started frequenting some parenting forums. I found some parenting blogs, too (there are one or two listed in the blog roll over there ->).
It was hard, in the beginning. It seemed as though everyone else had all the answers and was so much more together with this parenting thing than I ever was - or dreamed I ever could be. The advice in the books seemed all well and good in theory but something in my practice clearly left a lot to be desired.
Finally it was a day out at the local playground, watching other parents (many of them, let's be honest, dads) wrangling their children with such widely varying degrees of success and frustration, to make me realise that I was not alone. That 99% of the parenting world are stumbling along, making it all up on the spur of the moment and feeling that everyone else is so much better at it than you are.
I still feel that I could do it so much better and I think our second child is going to be so much more well-adjusted than the first because we've managed to iron out a lot of the kinks in our parenting approach and honed our skills on our first child.
But now I know not to sweat it.