There is an uncomfortableness I often feel when people ask about the way we live and choose to raise Bella. From no TV (cable/satellite) to natural food, from baby led weaning to cloth diapers. Our decisions have often been the butt of jokes or incredulous stares.
And we’re pretty moderate when it comes to natural parenting. ‘Cause I heart Clorox Wipes. Sam loves bleach. Gerber snacks saved our sanity on the last two trips out of town. And the toilet wand with the throw away scrubbies? That thing and I are like this ::crosses fingers::
However, I notice immediately that there are other moms who get offended/irritated/angry even when I say something about how we parent that differs from them. Although it has nothing to do with them, they are quick to either poke fun at me, or discuss the benefits of their parenting style over mine: “We fed little Johnny regular food and used disposables and he turned out just fine. Never grew an extra arm or anything.”
It’s almost as if some people think that because we live this way, we have a sort of competition going. A one upmanship. That I must consider myself the “better mother” because my kids (apparently) run around naked in (non-genetically modified) wildflowers while eating (organic) clovers and playing with (hormone free) chickens and goats.
And therefore, I must think I win at mothering.
Or deserve some sort of a (lead free) medal.
We raise Bella, and live, the way we are comfortable with. It works for us. Sam and I like natural parenting.
I’m not out to prove anything with how I raise my child. I’m not doing things differently to be stubborn or difficult, to make people feel slighted or that I moved myself up one notch above them on the parenting totem pole. Sam and I live our lives in such a way that natural/attachment parenting just fell into place. For other families, different things work better.
It’s time to all stop judging each other, to stop being offended that a mother still breastfeeds her 3 year old or someone takes their son to McDonalds for a lunch date. Who cares? Why does it matter to us what someone else chooses to do with their life and their children?
And if you are upset, perhaps you should re-evaluate your parenting style or your understanding of theirs. Because if you mock someone for the different choices they’ve made for their family, maybe it’s because you wish you could do it that way.
It happens to me – and I’m trying to turn immediately defending my own choices into a discussion to learn more.
Of course there are issues to fight for; conversations and debates to be had. But one of them shouldn’t be critisizing choices families make for themselves. It’s hard enough as a parent without the methods you use being under scrutiny or ridicule.
I don’t care how you raise or raised your kids. As long as they are happy, healthy and loved – no one should. At the end of this journey, all of us have the same goal. To look at our children, have them love and appreciate us, and know that we did the best we could for them – whatever your personal best may be.