Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Great Thing About Parenting...

...is that you get to choose your own way.

As a parent, you have the choice for HOW you parent your children, with very few exceptions. There are so many different ways to do everything, and many of those choices can lead people to judge you as a parent, as a person in general. But the thing is, there are basically no wrong ways to do things, just different ones.

True, there are extremes - ways that we will all (hopefully) agree are not healthy and do more harm than good. But this isn't about extremes such as child abuse, neglect, etc. I'm talking about choosing things like circumcision, diapering, parenting approaches. And while I may have my own opinions about what is right for my family, many others choose to do things differently. And that's perfectly ok.

I have a lot of friends that think similarly to me when it comes to parenting. We agree on the things we do, don't do, believe, etc. I have many friends that are NOT like-minded when it comes to our parenting approaches. And I have friends where we overlap and have a bit of both going on. In fact, one of my best friends...while we are very similar ourselves and our values, there are some great differences when it comes to parenting. We recognized early on that this could be a source of tension between us. So what did we do? We agreed to simply overlook those differences and agree that we could be different and not let it affect our friendship. And we haven't looked back! Every now and then we might say "yeah, you do that differently." But that's as far as it goes. No harm.

I know a lot of people can easily judge other parents, especially mothers (judging other mothers), when they see things done differently than they would. I think this happens especially when people don't see or understand the motivation behind the practice. Or they may not have learned about a specific approach. I think we can all benefit from knowing people that take different routes with parenting. We don't learn if we are only surrounded by like-minded people. And we need to create safe places to share how we do things, what we know, how we think so that we can learn from one another - or at least understand where others are coming from.

So...in light of that, I'm willing to share a few things myself. And hopefully open up some dialogue. This is not to be a debate or to open up any sort of heated discussion. I'm willing to go into more detail about any of these topics, sharing more of my reasoning and how I came to parent this way. I have realized how parenting is a constantly evolving practice. I am a completely different parent with my infant now than I was when Camden was the same age. I want the same things for my children, but I have learned different approaches.

Like I said, this isn't meant to be a DEBATE. The point being to share what we do, what we've learned, what we know or want to know, give suggestions, etc. The point is NOT to state what is "right" or to judge others for their approaches. I think when we start to judge or believe that our own way is the only way, we end up hurting ourselves and we close ourselves off from learning more. My ways are in no way my "own." I did not create them completely on my own. I take in a lot of information (I research so much, it's crazy), ask all kinds of people their opinions, and I use it all to come up with what I want for my family. My ways are not right for everyone. No one way is right for everyone. So, whaddya say? Can we share and discuss without judging? If so, great. If not, hit the road Jack, 'cause this ain't the place for you. :) (And if comments get out of hand, I will moderate as needed - meaning those comments will not get posted.)

To start off, here are some topics and a brief (and I mean brief) statement on what we do. I'll post about each one individually. Please stay tuned and join the discussions! And bring your friends along for the ride.
  • Diapering. We use gdiapers and cloth.
  • Circumcision. We did not.
  • Vaccinations. Yes, we do - but on our own schedule.
  • Crying it out. Nope. Don't do it.
  • Co-sleeping. We do now. (Maybe this will be the first one...b/c I think almost nobody knows this about us and most are probably very surprised.)
  • Breastfeeding. Huge fans!
  • Baby Food. Did it later than four months, and we make our own.
  • Television & Other Media. Less is more. And none for baby.
  • Car seats & seat belts. This is a HUGE topic for me!! You'll see why.
  • Miscellaneous. How 'bout we talk about BPA, PVC, pthalates, organics, etc, etc.....
Did I miss anything?? Let me know if you think of anything I should add!

Now, while I said before that I think it is unfair to judge people on their parenting approaches, I must add this... I think it is VERY unfair and very wrong to judge someone when you are not experienced with it or when you have not taken the time and energy to learn about the topic. Can you really argue what vaccination schedule is best when you haven't researched it? What about circumcision? Have you researched both sides? I tend to research all of this in depth. It's not always necessary, true. But I want to know WHY I am parenting a certain way. And I would always rather be safe than sorry. I don't just go with the flow - I learn and make choices based on what fits our family best.

Some could say I'm "picky," but I like to think that
I parent with purpose.

And I can always tell you why I do something. Ask me. Really. I am very comfortable sharing why I parent the way I do.

If someone disagrees, that's ok. But I do not think it's ok to tell someone they are wrong if you do not know the topic well and cannot explain why you think they are wrong without something to back you up (other than opinion). I think we should all be able to share our parenting ideas and approaches, learn from one another, and be ok parenting differently. Besides, does it really hurt one family if another does things a little bit differently than them??

I think life would be rather boring if we all did everything the same way, don't you?

So, let's get started! :) If you want - you can subscribe to my blog in your reader, you can access the posts via facebook in the notes section, you can follow in blogger, and you can subscribe via email. With email - for some reason, for a while there the posts were not going out each day like they should...some were going out after a week sometimes? So...consider that and check back here, too. It seems to be working just fine now, though! Also, please comment HERE on the BLOG - not via email or facebook. Let's keep it all in one place, folks. :) And please include your name when you comment - it's only fair, even if it's just a first name.

Looking forward to it!


brannockd said...

We're wanting to use gdiapers w/ the new one in August...how are they? I wish they were less expensive :( But, I'm pretty sure they're a lot less expensive than buying the disposable ones lol. We loved co-sleeping until he was big enough to crawl out of the little divider we had him in when he slept with us. Plus, we got to where the bed wasn't big enough for all of us lol. Hopefully that'll change when we can get a larger one after graduating :)
I'm actually considering stopping the vaccinations/immunizations all together due to the whole micro-chip thingy...eventually that will be part of the immunizations, I believe.
And, I'm a big fan of "letting them cry it out" lol. (After he turned 1...before that...never)
Loved the breastfeeding, but not for me...at least not while I'm in school full-time and working. I remained too stressed to continue after about 3 months of doing it all the time.
Yay for the television!! We don't even have one..and better off for it!

Daisy and Ryan said...

Dreama - gdiapers don't have to be so expensive. :) I'll send you a message with more details, but you can buy them cheaper sometimes. Using amazon subscribe & save, you can get really great discounts on the flushable inserts. BRU is carrying them (all stores as of Earth Day this month) - where you can use coupons and they run sales/deals sometimes. I can get you a coupon code for gdiapers.com that doesn't expire until this summer. And if you're up for trying cloth - you can save a TON of $$. :) I'll email you with specifics soon. Looking forward to some of the topics and what you have to share! :)

Tabitha said...

I am curious why you have chosen to not circumcise. I have been told by my mother that her brother wasn't circumcised and that he didn't like that because it was more difficult to clean. I had always assumed that circumcision would be the best way to go, but I've never really looked into it. Thanks for the info.

Daisy and Ryan said...

Hi Tabitha! :) We'll definitely talk about that when we get to that topic. That was quite possibly the hardest choice to make b/c there is SO much to consider when you really get into it. We didn't make a definite choice until AFTER Aiden was born! It was a hard one. Hope you join in when we get to that topic! :)

Petrina said...

So I take it first topic tabled is diapers? We're using disposables right now due to cost factor. There was an insanely good deal at Walgreen's while I was expecting where you could get 3 jumbo packs of diapers for about 58 cents total after use of 2 coupons. We ended up stocking up an entire closet full that will likely last us another month or so. So we basically got about 9-10 months worth of diapers for about $30-$40.

We've thought about cloth diapers too and have read conflicting reports on whether it's as environmentally good as some say. Since she's having less diaper changes and we're nearly out of Walgreens supply, we may end up switching to gdiapers- and Daisy if you have coupon codes, this may help sway us that way too.

I think I'll have a lot to say on other topics as well and am looking forward to a great discussion on each. Thanks for starting this up Daisy!

Daisy and Ryan said...

Hey Petrina!! You know, I hadn't actually decided what would be the first topic. The list was just a list - no specific order. I thought about possibly doing the co-sleeping first b/c I'm pretty sure many people are surprised to hear we're doing that - so I thought I might address it soon. ;) Hmmm...we'll see! I'll send you the gdiaper coupon code, too! We think they're pretty awesome.

Petrina said...

I think some other good topics would be corporal punishment/discipline, home schooling, stay-at-home/working moms pros and cons...I'll watch out for your post on co-sleeping and then chime in on that. This should be fun and informative! I'm looking forward to it.

Kevin A. Puckett said...

I watched a boy full time for about six months who was in cloth diapers. It was a great deal messier to change his diaper and it took longer. It often smelled really bad too. I have watched many other children in disposable diapers. Honestly I can't see how it was worth it, and I didn't even have to wash them! I have considered putting Silas in cloth if our budget demanded it, but I am in no hurry to. Also the little boy was constantly wet by the cloth. He overall just seemed uncomfortable in the cloth. I understand that people do cloth to help eliminate some extra waste, save money, and protect baby's skin, but I am just not so sure. You also have to be careful to be very sanitary with cloth. For me, I live in an apartment in the city and use a shared laundry room, so cloth is not an option. Overall, I think I'd like to "eliminate some extra waste, save money, and protect baby's skin" other ways.

Daisy and Ryan said...

Thanks for chiming in Emily! I think it's great you went for watching someone in cloth - sorry it wasn't a better experience, though! I'm not sure what type of cloth diapers this little one was in, but we haven't had those problems, really. There are so many different kinds out there, though! We use bumgenius and we use cloth in the gdiapers, too. Aiden's bottom is always really dry when we change him - we use good types of cloth up against him that wick away the wetness. And Aiden isn't a smelly poopy kid. Haha! Really - we have to watch for those dipes otherwise we might miss them! (And we still change every two hours, so that helps with all those smells, wetness, and all.) But if you're talking about ammonia smell from the pee - that depends on how well they are kept clean, etc (which really is not hard if you know what you're doing). We've never had that problem. We use detergent that is really good and use grapefruit seed extract to disinfect. Have no problems at all! You're right about being careful with sanitation - but it's not hard. I can see how using shared laundry equip would be an issue, though. And also - we could NOT live without our diaper sprayer! It would be messy without that thing!

But you know - it's not for everyone!

Maybe I do SHOULD do the diaper discussion first instead of co-sleeping. It seems to be the one topic that most people are mentioning already! :) Hope you'll chime in on that one, too!

Amy said...

You're a brave woman. I can back up all my parenting choices, but participating in discussions can be very emotionally charged for me. I tend to feel very strongly that My Way is the Right Way. Which I know in my head is illogical, but that doesn't translate to feelings.

Maybe I'm still trying to justify that it is the best choice for me?

Maybe I think because it's the best choice FOR ME, it is the best choice FOR EVERYONE?

Maybe I'm just arrogant enough to think I've got it all figured out and am smarter than everyone?

I hope I don't come off that arrogant in person, and I do try to remember always that ALL parents want to do the best possible thing for their baby and their family and the world in general.

Kevin A. Puckett said...

Can we talk about circumcision now? or is it cosleeping next?

Kevin A. Puckett said...

One other thing I wanted to say in regards to me saying I'd like to "eliminate some extra waste, save money, and protect baby's skin some other way." One thing we need to keep in mind is that one powerful tool the media has is agenda setting. That means they cannot tell us what to think, but they CAN tell us what to think about. One of these things recently is cloth diapering. Another I can think if is fair trade coffee or chocolate. So let's think about this... If people go out and buy cloth someone profits from this, the cloth diaper companies. If people go and buy fair trade, those who are involved profit. The fact that these companies are getting us to think about these things is huge because we consider and react to it. Think of this, why isn't anyone advocating that we do not purchase extra clothes we do not need for our children? That would save moeny and the environment. But no one cares, it is not on their agenda because no one profits from this. Same with fair trade coffee, why not fruits? It was just put on the agenda because someone who profits from it put it there. All I am saying is, there are many things we can do to help the planet and our pocketbook. We should not feel guilty because we are not doing the things on this agenda list right now, because there will be more things that will come at us.

Daisy and Ryan said...

Ok everyone - first topic is up on the blog. Check it out and share what you do and how you feel about things. Remember the rules, though - be nice! It's not a DEBATE over what is right or wrong. We're simply sharing our own ideas. :)

And I wanted to comment on Emily's last statement.. You said "why isn't anyone advocating that we do not purchase extra clothes we do not need for our children? That would save moeny and the environment. But no one cares, it is not on their agenda because no one profits from this." I agree that this is one thing we need to be doing more instead of just buying new things that are good for the environment. BUT I would have to disagree that no one is advocating this. I have actually been seeing more and more of this mentioned. Not with companies selling a specific item, of course. We know why that isn't going to happen - they want to sell their product. But on websites, blogs, forums, and other places (common places that are visited often by many people, too!), reusing instead of buying new is mentioned a lot. I think it is a focus for those that are really concerned with either saving $$ or the environment. I certainly advocate it. It's not that environmentally friendly to go out and buy all new if you already have things you can reuse at home (or from consignment stores, etc, etc.) :) I'm glad it's being brought out more lately. Maybe I'm seeing it more b/c I am seeking out websites that are thinking similarly to me, but I think many of them are common sites that other frequent, too.

Amy - one reason I'm doing this (well partly) is b/c someone has said that while they think some of my decisions are "interesting," they disagree with many of them and notice that I don't give reasoning for many of them. I've mentioned we didn't circumcise but didn't say why. I never felt the need to explain everything, but they claimed I came across as arrogant b/c I simply acted as if certain things I did were the "only" way to do them. I certainly hope that is NOT the case. But it led me to consider doing this and explaining but also having a discussion with others that might feel the same, might disagree, or might just want to learn more from others about the topic. We'll see how it goes!