Asking for recommendations seems like an essential part of motherhood. From Facebook groups to parenting websites to playground conversations, moms everywhere are asking each other for recommendations on all sorts of things — pediatricians, restaurants, strollers, weekend activities.

Receiving recommendations can be great, and it’s clear people place a high value on this in their decision making. But for me? It’s quite overwhelming.

I love a great guide or curated list. It makes planning and having confidence in my choices a lot easier, especially when it comes from a trusted source — one single trusted source.

But this can easily get out of hand. There are themed groups on Facebook that people join solely to ask for the best recommendations on anything related to the theme. Within minutes, any given post might have 250 comments from a variety of group members, all containing recommendations! People will ask for all manner of recommendations in group chats and then Google those suggestions to read additional information and reviews before making any decisions.  

How do they do it? Don’t get me wrong — I ask for recommendations, too. But I often regret asking once the comments start rolling in and I don’t know how in the world I’m supposed to decide from the list that seems to extend to infinity and beyond!

If you’re like me, and you get overwhelmed with this type of information overload, do not despair. It’s OK to continue to fantasize about the day when you will be able to handle these situations with ease. At the same time — because two opposite things can exist at once — you can go ahead and do what I do, which has proven helpful and successful on many occasions:

Do your own research (eek!) — and trust your intuition when it comes to making a decision.  

Not sure it can be done? Here are a few of the awesome decisions I’ve made without asking for recommendations.

  • Taking my kids to Dollywood (twice!) before they ever went to Disney.
  • Sending my kids to a sleepaway camp in Maine when “everyone” in my town sends their kids to the same one in Massachusetts.
  • Hiring a local contractor to renovate my guest bathroom — our family’s first ever major renovation project.
  • Planning a road trip through Northern Ireland and Scotland with my husband, including lodging, food, and places to visit.
  • Choosing a location for my husband and me to travel to next summer to celebrate 15 years of marriage.

One last piece of unsolicited advice? There are no rules here. Ask for recommendations if you want to, and choose from what you get — or don’t. Next time, try going rogue and making a decision without asking for advice. And so on forever and ever. Do what works!  And try not to let yourself get too overwhelmed. 

Angie V Martin
Angie was born and raised in Panama and attended college in Massachusetts, after which she took a couple of years to work in Boston and enjoy the nightlife before attending law school. Soon after becoming an attorney, Angie got married to the love of her life. They set down roots in Jamaica Plain, where they welcomed their firstborn, Henry, in 2012. Angie now lives in Nahant with her husband and two children (little Eloisa was born in 2015) as well as their rescue Boxer dog, Hobie. Angie is passionate about public interest law and serves as the pro bono director at Veterans Legal Services, a nonprofit legal services firm serving Massachusetts military veterans. Angie is also a certified life and leadership coach and loves supporting women and mothers on their journeys in their personal and professional lives. In addition to feeling honored to be a contributing writer for Boston Moms, Angie also enjoys writing in, and translating Boston Moms articles into, Spanish — she is a firm believer in ensuring every Boston mom feels like she/they belong here!