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Melissa Stasiuk is The Globe and Mail’s head of programming and audience.

Ask enough parents about the most useful advice they’ve received and there is a good chance at some point you will hear these four words: “This too shall pass.”

I heard this phrase from several well-meaning friends, my sister and my mother at different stages of my young daughter’s life: when I was desperately seeking help on how to get her to nap anywhere other than my chest, when she refused to put food anywhere but the floor (if she would pick it up at all) or most recently, when she screamed at the very idea of sitting on a potty.

I wanted to find comfort in these words, like so many other moms said they did. Instead, they left me feeling defeated.

I’m under no illusion that parenting is easy, with ready-made solutions to every meltdown that arises. But I kept thinking: Was there really nothing I could try to help my daughter conquer these milestones and return our household to a happy equilibrium (no matter how short-lived that harmony may be)?

I did what any millennial mom would do: I turned to Instagram.

Many are critical of mommy influencers, or “momfluencers.” They portray a too-carefully-curated version of motherhood. They overshare. They profit off parents when they are at their most vulnerable.

But some of them offer real alternatives to common parenting woes, other than screaming into the abyss.

By the time my daughter was three months old, I hadn’t slept for more than two hours at a time. I was desperate to try anything. Taking Cara Babies, a program developed by neonatal nurse Cara Dumaplin, offered a step-by-step guide on how to help my baby sleep better. Within weeks of using her strategies, my daughter was mostly sleeping through the night and soon even taking naps in her crib.

When it was time to start my daughter on solid foods, pediatric dietitian Edwena Kennedy and her My Little Eater program taught me how to raise an adventurous eater and eased my fears around choking. After implementing her techniques, my daughter’s meals were mostly ending up in her mouth and there was rarely a food she wouldn’t at least try.

Recently, we tackled potty training with the help of Jamie Glowacki and her book, Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. After six days of following her methods, my 25-month old started telling me when she had to go pee.

I’ve also turned to Dr. Becky, a clinical psychologist with millions of followers on social media, who Time magazine dubbed the Millennial Parenting Whisperer. She offers scripts on how to deal with everything from tantrums to the kid who always says “no.” And I appreciate the approach of economist turned parenting author Emily Oster, who combs through data so parents can make evidence-based decisions on everything from when to move your baby to a crib for sleep, choosing between a nanny or daycare, and how much screen time you should allow your toddler.

Some of these momfluencers are not without controversy. Dumaplin ignited a social media firestorm after revelations that she donated to the Trump campaign. When Oster turned her penchant for data analysis to COVID-19 and the importance of reopening schools, she sparked outrage from those who felt she was being irresponsible given she wasn’t a medical expert.

If you signed up for all of programs and bought every book I mentioned above, you’d be out hundreds of dollars. But each of these women’s Instagram and other social media accounts are filled with free snippets of advice, designed to be easily consumed between tantrums or during a midnight waking.

What they offered me was light at the end of the tunnel. We are often made to feel that we can rely on “mother’s intuition,” that deep down, we know what to do when faced with the many challenges that arise when raising kids. But the truth is, sometimes we need help.

As a new mom, I was constantly worried about making the “wrong” decision that would surely damage my child for life. Turning to these practical, logic-based strategies calmed me and gave me back some semblance of control. I didn’t have to leave things up to fate. There was a better way.

Despite my best efforts, my daughter is not the perfect sleeper, eater, or potty user 100 per cent of the time. But in those moments where no amount of logic will bend her will to mine, I can always remind myself: “This too shall pass.”

What else we’re thinking about:

There is a lot about the state of the world to worry about right now, leading Jessica Grose of The New York Times to recently muse: How do I introduce my daughters to the reality of a world like this without making them despair? For inspiration, she turned to American Girl meme accounts on Instagram, which combine photos of the popular dolls with dark humour to work through the distressing news of the day. As Grose points out, there is a can-do attitude to these memes that she recognizes in how her own daughters interact with the toys. It’s a good reminder of the value of play and storytelling as a healthy way of processing stress.

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