Parenting: Ur Doin It Wrong

Friday, December 11, 2009

I usually love following the conversation(s) on twitter, I love reading parenting blogs, I love engaging in this ‘community’, whatever that may be, however you define that. But sometimes – oh sometimes, it just drags me down.  And makes me want to stab a fork in my eye. Or, truly, what it really does? Makes me fundamentally question myself and whether or not I am good enough.

This week I learned of yet another thing I am doing wrong. I am putting my children in their car seats without warming the car up first, and with them bundled up in their warm winter coats or snowsuits.  I get what the article is saying, why the safety concern – but I don’t think it’s practical AT ALL.  There are reasons I don’t warm the car up first (it’s sitting in the garage and I won’t leave my kids in the house by themselves to go and turn it on, for starters).  And I can not put them in their car seats without their coats if I need to quickly drop them off at daycare when I get there – and what happens when I open the door to the car to get them out? A rush of cold air as we scramble to get dressed in the parking lot?  Just another thing to feel guilty about, eh?

Because you wanna know what else I do or have done TOTALLY wrong or TOTALLY right, according to people I follow on twitter/the ‘experts’/the media/everyone and their aunt depending on what day of the week it is?

  • I co-slept in the past
  • I don’t co-sleep now
  • My kids don’t generally wake up in the night unless they are sick
  • I breastfed (but not full time for 5 or 10 years, barely AT ALL comparatively)
  • I formula fed
  • I used a sling sometimes (but not always)
  • I used the wrong kind of sling (according to some people)
  • I used (and still use) a stroller
  • I used (and still use, for another few months) dummies/soothers/pacifiers
  • I used a few cloth diapers
  • I have used a lot of disposable diapers
  • I didn’t potty train until Oliver was over the age of three
  • I potty trained my kid when I thought he was ready
  • I let my kids watch tv, probably 1.5 hours a day total
  • I use that tv as a babysitter in the morning while I am getting ready for work
  • I use it for wind-down time at night before books and bed
  • We vaccinate
  • I go to work
  • I have my kids in daycare and don’t see them between 8am and 6pm most weekdays
  • Sometimes, I yell
  • Sometimes, I use time outs
  • Sometimes, I use tickles and silly distractions
  • I don’t make my kids clear their plates
  • I encourage my children to run laps around the family room to expel their energy
  • My kids don’t eat organic food
  • My kids eat a lot of home cooked meals
  • Sometimes, my kids eat fast food
  • We have plastic toys in this house — quite a lot of them, actually
  • I think it’s time for me to shut up and stop listing this stuff.

You know what? I am already hard enough on myself.  I am so hard on myself.  I don’t need this extra scrutiny from you.

You don’t judge? Yes you do.  Rebecca from Playground Confidential recently said it VERY WELL.  You judge.  You tell me how I should have done it differently, even if you don’t say it explicitly.

Even when it shouldn’t matter to you.  Because nothing I have done, when it comes down to it, has fundamentally affected the safety and well being of my kid. Or your kid. Or people in general.

It’s 2009. It’s almost 2010! We are parents. We have choices. So many choices!! Give us the information that we need and let us make our own choices – for the health and well being of our kids, and for our own sanity.  That’s what I make my decisions based on:

  1. Are my kids okay?
  2. Is this making me crazy?
  3. The end.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put that judgment and that effort into things we should all be caring about?  Bigger picture, macro scale problems.  Situations where kids really are not safe.   This is first world crap we are talking about here.

I did a quick Google check to see how many other people had entitled a blog post the same as this one. Thankfully, not too many. But there was this one from a month ago, with a perfect image, that also said much of what I wanted to say:


I wrote this the other night, feeling frustrated. And then I thought I didn’t even want to post it. And then I thought, what the hell, I have nothing else to say. I guess I was angry. But mostly, as always, I am just not a confident person.  I am very self-critical so even if I feel fine about a decision that I have previously made, if you later question it, I immediately question myself – instead of defending my position. In most cases.

I’m not the only person who is lead to question their decisions when others preach about parenting.  We’re not all as confident as you.  And sometimes — maybe almost ALWAYS, there’s more than one right answer to a situation.

24 Responses to “Parenting: Ur Doin It Wrong”

  1. lisa Says:

    I like your rules. If nothing is making me crazy, its a good day.

  2. Mary Lynn Says:

    Ohferpetessake, that coats & carseats article was the most ridiculously impractical thing I’ve ever read. I mean, yes, I’ve heard that kids are safer without the bulky snowsuits on, but it’s just unreasonable to expect parents to do all they suggest in that article.

    I’ve done everything on your list only I confess my kids never once wore a cloth diaper. Oh well.

    There’s a right and a wrong kind of sling? (Nevermind…I probably don’t want to know, do I?)

    What a boring world it would be if we all parented in EXACTLY the same way. I look around me and see that many of the people I know have vastly different parenting styles. But I also many wonderful moms and dads raising great kids, even with all the differences in parenting styles.

  3. Liz Says:

    Bravo! REAL parenting. I think Dr. Spock had it right – Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Emma W and Sarah Hildebrand, melissa. melissa said: RT @ewiller: Parenting: Ur Doin It Wrong: […]

  5. I love this! The truth is nobody can do everything the “right” way and, you know what? It probably doesn’t even matter all that much in the end.
    But we all have our sacred cows. For some people it’s organic food, for example. For me, it’s reading. I have done everything on your list and more, but I read to my children everyday, usually more than once. And when people say that they *don’t* generally read to their children, then I guess I do judge them. And then I usually give them a book.
    But everything else is totally up for grabs.

    • EWiller Says:

      You know what, I never even thought of that one – I guess it’s just been drilled into my head that we MUST read to them everyday, it’s become part of the woodwork. Like teeth brushing. So I don’t know what I would do if I met someone that I knew didn’t read to their kids. Food for thought.

  6. daysgoby Says:

    Yes! Back off my parenting. I’m not trying to parent YOU.

  7. Casey Says:

    🙂 I think that we’ve all felt like this at some point in the last 15 minutes. I did want to point out that if I’m going to use the tv, I might as well use it as a baby sitter, right? Why use it if I have time and/or really want to sit down and read or do puzzles with the boys? I might as well use it as the babysitter.

  8. Cristen Says:

    great post! I tried to do the coat off/coat on thing this year and now my 3 year old insists on NOT wearing her coat in a freezing cold car. It’s very cold here. I wish she would just forget and go back to wearing jackets already. Anyway….

    you’re totally right. Moms are SO hard on each other and it drives me nuts. Insecurity I guess, everyone just wants to feel like they’re doing it right and unfortunately, wants to tell others how to do it the “right” way.

  9. jamie Says:

    Oh my goodness, Emma, you used THAT sling???? LOL

    I totally know what you mean. For me the judgement runs around OUR CHOICE to homeschool. Why is that anyone else’s business??? My kids are happy, well adjusted little hooligans… sigh.

    Your poorly raised hooligans can hang around MY poorly raised hooligans any time. 😉

    • EWiller Says:

      I totally judge you, you homeschooler. My judgment is that you are a superstar, and I bow to you. For I would go insane if I did what you d0. Bravo, lady. And let’s get our hooligans together when the weather is warmer, yes?

      • jamie Says:

        Pffft. You are crazy. You run around like a maniac all day, and STILL have to do all the regular house stuff that I do!

        Definitely with getting the hooligans together! I like that idea a lot.

  10. Clare Says:

    Emma – thanks for putting a voice of sanity out there! I think your rules make perfect sense (and anyway I thought those coats would provide extra-padding and protection if you were ever involved in an accident).

  11. Here’s a
    and an
    for you.
    Motherhood has made me realize what a hideously judgemental person I was and continue to be…
    Keep on trusting you instincts and loving your babies. that’s all that matters.

  12. Vic Says:

    I think to be that perfect parent you have to split yourself into at least four. I gave up. I’m gonna do it my way even if it is wrong.

  13. magpie Says:

    There are NO right answers.

  14. mancais Says:

    You do what’s right for you, in your circumstances. Sounds good to me.

  15. mapsgirl Says:

    If there was only one way to parent, there would only be one book on parenting. I have yet to find the book called “The Rules”. Until that happens, I’m doing it my way. I’ll pick which advice works for me and if you don’t like the way I do, too bad.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself!

  16. Aurelia Says:

    I keep meaning to tell you, I really like this post. I’m just the world’s worst commenter and blogger lately!

    Which means I am doing it wrong too. Heh

  17. Awesome. So SIMPLE. Which is all this NEEDS to be. MY GOSH. Turn it off, people! And be HUMAN! Go Emma.

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