Parenting Choices – Crossing to the dark side

Today, I crossed over to the “dark side” of parenting.

I bought B4 a dummy (pacifier).

Now, I feel the need to justify why. He’s trying to suck his thumb but misses his mouth and pokes himself in the eye or scratches his face. So that makes this OK, right? It’s a temporary arrangement, until he can work his hands better, so that makes this OK, right?

Hang on a second, why do I have to justify my parenting to anyone?

That brings me to another question, why is there so much guilt attached to parenting?

For some, the guilt starts in pregnancy.  You’re not doing this right, you’re not doing that.

For others it starts with the way they gave birth.  I had specific requests for all 4 of my births, that was my choice and no one else’s business. It was my personal choice. I would never bash or criticise another mother because she chose a different way to give birth.  Who’s business is it? We’re all warriors anyway for growing another human!!!!

I’ve breastfed 2 babies and bottle fed 2 babies.  I was bottle feeding B2 in public and a complete stranger come up to me to say how breastfeeding is best and why am I giving such a young baby a bottle.  I then wouldn’t feed him in public. WTF! Breastfeeding in public I’ve had comments to cover up or go elsewhere to feed.  A couple of weeks ago I was at a venue and asked if they had a room where I could feed B4.  I was directed to the toilets.  Um, hello, are you going to eat your lunch in the toilet????  What sort of world do we live in where no matter which way I choose to feed my baby I am made to feel self-conscious about doing it in public.

I breastfed B3 until he was 2 and a half.  How dare I breastfeed an older toddler and “damage” him.  Um what????? Damage him???? Wouldn’t damaging him be forcing him to wean because society doesn’t feel comfortable seeing an older child be soothed and comforted by a breast! I allowed him to self wean, there was no drama, there was no stress, there were no tears, it just happened, naturally and neither of us gave it a second thought.

Stay at home Mum v working Mum.  I’ve been both. Returning to work when B1 was 6 months old and then again when B2 was 11 weeks old I faced a barrage of criticism, how dare I leave such a young baby with a stranger at a Child Care Centre. Well excuse me it’s either work or not have a roof over our heads and food to eat.  And these “strangers” have become like extended members of my family, they are the most wonderful people who treat my children like they are their own and I am forever grateful that my children have been cared for by them.

With B3 I stayed home for 12 months and at this stage with B4 I’m unsure when or if I will return to work. What’s that?  I’m lazy for staying at home and not working to provide for my family. LAZY!!! Come spend a day at my home and see how lazy I am.

Then, I happen to make comment that I need something else other than children to keep my mind busy.  OMG what a terrible mother I am that I don’t enjoy this 24 hours a day 7 days a week and I need something else to occupy my mind.

10 years ago I don’t remember there being different parenting “styles”.  I’d never heard of attachment parenting.  I researched it and put many of the theories into practice with B3, but more out of necessity. Hello, 3 children and I have 2 hands – someone is always going to miss out and both my older children were “runners” so it made sense to wear B3.  I’m doing the same with B4 for the same reason. But apparently I’m spoiling my baby by wearing him all the time.

I’ve let babies cry it out to try to get them to sleep, I’ve rocked, I’ve held, I’ve comforted.  It doesn’t matter, when they’re young they’re not designed to sleep! Do what works for you and move on.  I’ve tried everything over the years and none of my children are spoiled from being held all the time and none are cold serial killers from being allowed to cry a bit.

Screen time. Hmmm, my 2-year-old knows how to turn on the TV, find Netflix and select age appropriate programs.  My 10-year-old knows more about the latest technology than I do and my “day job” is in IT.  Yes, I use the TV as a baby sitter from time to time. I like to shower in peace!

Guess what?  Sometimes at the end of the day I look at my kids feet and they’re covered in dirt from running around on the tiled floor I haven’t mopped for a week, I know the staff in the local McDonald’s drive through by name, sometimes we have cereal for dinner.  And do you know what else?  I’m a bloody good Mum, my kids are awesome and I would do anything for them!

Over time in this 10 year career in motherhood I have learned:

  • by the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant (or more in 3 of my 4 full term pregnancies) you don’t care and it doesn’t matter how the baby comes out – pull it out of my damn nostril if it will help get it out as long as it comes out
  • it doesn’t matter how your baby is fed as long as it’s fed
  • it doesn’t matter if you there 24/7 or working to provide the best for your family
  • And it doesn’t damn matter if you use soothers, comforters, hold your baby day and night or put them in their bassinet to cry for 5 minutes why you take a breather.

So, lets stop the Mummy and Daddy guilt, lets support each other, acknowledge that this is the hardest job in the world and we’re all just doing what we can to survive each day and raise happy healthy kids.

 

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20 Comments

  • We definitely need to support each other. Give yourself a break and take whatever little “helps” you can get even if they are pacifiers πŸ™‚

  • I love this, and I wish more of us were supportive. Parenting is hard enough without all the judgement and bashing… We are hard enough on ourselves without “strangers” and their opinions! Great blog! Xx

  • Oh the guilt never goes away! Each child is sooo different. You have to do what you think is best. I’m raising 2 pre-college teens and I promise it doesn’t ever go away. You got this MAMA!

  • I don’t like people who are judgmental about methods of others. I’m sure you’re a great parent and you do everything you can to make your kids happy:) And that’s the most important:)

  • Its your kids and your choice as a mom to do what you wish πŸ™‚ either pacifier or thumb its up to you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise on how to raise your kids πŸ™‚

  • You know there seems to be more unsolicited advice, comments or complaints then there used to be. I don’t know what’s worse a comment coming from a man, a stranger, a childless friend or a fellow women.

  • Oh. my. goodness. Yes! Everyone has an opinion about what you’re doing! My oldest had her binky (pacifier) till she was three, my youngest, never took to one. You’ve got this mama!

  • I am not a mom, but I have so much respect for all parents out there. I know it’s not easy. It could be very challenging so you shouldn’t let others get to you. You know your kids more than anyone so you got this and I am rooting for you.

  • I know lots of different parents that use different styles that people like to criticise: soothers, breast feed until 5 years old, formula, and use tv to babysit. All the babies are turning out fine because the parents are doing their best and they are not neglectful parents.

  • I have a great respect for all the mothers out there. I know I will be a mother in the future (hopefully soon) and I know I might deal with these kind of negative people. Keep it up, and just ignore them as long as you do everything that’s best for your kids! πŸ™‚

  • This so needed to be said! We’re all so busy trying to convert everyone else to our own way of life that we forget OUR way may not be the best way for someone else. I see that even in my own family, where I am a different “style” of mother than my former mother-in-law – but we both love our children and we have both done the best we could with what we had. Even in my tiny little nuclear family, what works between me and one of my daughters might be utterly detrimental to the other. They’re different people, even being raised by the same mother – and I imagine they’ll someday be different mothers as well. But I have no doubt that they’ll grow up equally able to love and care for their own families, in the way that works FOR THEM.

  • Amen! Enough with the guilt trips and idiocy from strangers to people we know. If they aren’t the ones doing everything for the child, they have zero input if it is not asked (unless it is of dire need to do so of course). There is a difference between constructive criticism and criticism; the latter of which is completely unnecessary and uncalled for. Yes, this is one of those subjects that heats me to my core enough to want to jump over things to strangle the person. Much love fellow mum; I am a single mom of three kids all of which has been solely raised by me as I have no family myself plus, I have a full-time job too. I hear tons all the time and get “the looks”. Am I tired? Yep, for the past 11 years but, I would not change a thing! xox

  • like my mom told me, you are not a mom yet but the day that you will be raise your kids like you want that they will be, so she is right !! raise your kid like you would like, and you look like you are a great mom πŸ™‚

  • I think that’s the problem with today’s society. People are so worried about what others are doing that they can’t even focus on themselves. These are YOUR children that YOU make the decisions for – not theirs – so it’s irrelevant what someone else thinks. If you wanted to breastfeed a 5 year old, then guess what? That’s your right and you should NOT be judged (I’m not saying you are or that you would, just giving an extreme example).

    Just because one parenting method works for one child doesn’t mean it will work on another. These people don’t know you, they don’t live with you, they don’t pay your bills so at the end of the day, if your children are healthy, that’s ALLLLLL that matters. πŸ˜‰

  • It’s your child and your choice. Every persons choice for their children Will be different and outsiders do not know why these choices have been made and have no right to say anything.

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