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:
- Are my kids okay?
- Is this making me crazy?
- 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.