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.....
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!