Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Parenting, Not Politics

When I found out I was pregnant with my 1st child, I immediately started thinking about parenting. What kind of parent did I want to be? What kind of parent did I not want to be? Would I let my children watch TV? Would I feed them mac n' cheese from a box? Would I immunize? Would I breastfeed? When I started considering all of my options, I considered what I thought was best for me, my husband, and our child. I wanted to breastfeed as long as I could, however long that may be. I was fairly certain I would opt out of a few immunizations based on a family history of severe allergic reactions, mostly my brother's extreme, non-verbal autism (I'm not getting into THAT discussion, not right now anyway). I didn't want my kids to watch a ton of TV but some would be OK, and that's because I don't watch a ton of TV. I'd probably make mac n' cheese. from a box. a lot. because it's damn good. I thought about the best parent I could be. Do you want to know what I never once considered? What kind of parenting would be the most controversial? What can I do that is going to make all the other mom's at the park whisper behind my back? What are the parenting hot topics that I can argue about with every parent I meet? No, I pretty much just want to be the kind of parent whose kids grow up to be healthy, upstanding citizens. I want them to be smart, funny, loving, but most importantly good-looking successful wealthy, um, good people. I don't want all gender neutral toys, all of my children will be born in a hospital with the aid of either drugs or doctor wielding a scalpel, I'm not wasting money on all organic food, I'm definitely not making my own baby food or using cloth diapers, and I'm sure as fuck not breastfeeding my kid until he can walk up to me and tell me to give him my boob. I chose not to do these things because I just don't believe in the benefits; these parenting styles just don't fit with my life. I didn't, however, decide to go in this direction because I wanted to be controversial. I'm not preaching to every mother to be that she shouldn't immunize, or that she needs to breastfeed for exactly one year; no more, no less. Those are decisions that every mother to be needs to make for herself. Ok, I guess she can discuss it with her husband too.

That all being said, I don't give a shit if you want to do any or all of those things. 1st of all, I believe every parent has the right to raise their children based on their own values and way of life (assuming it isn't harmful). I also have the right to choose my friends, so if I am uncomfortable around a mom because she is breastfeeding her 6 year-old, I have the choice to not hang out with them anymore. I absolutely cannot stand being around parents who insist on pushing their parenting philosophy down my throat. We are all just trying to do a good job. We need to support eachother, not berate eachother for insignificant differences in parenting style. A very dear friend of mine breastfed her daughter for 8 months, but it was far from easy. She nursed, then pumped, then bottle fed, then pumped again. 4,5,6 times a day. That kind of schedule is mentally and physically exhausting, but she endured for 8 whole months. When she finally made the decision to stop, she felt guilty. Why should she feel guilty? Why can't other mom's just applaud her for all of her hard work? She should be proud of herself. I'm proud of her. I can't understand why anyone would care how long she nursed for. And guess what? Her daughter is perfectly healthy so all the haters can shove it.

My point, if I haven't made it painfully clear yet, is that contreversal parenting topics are just parenting topics. People with a thirst for drama and a need for attention create the controversy. I don't like those people, and I don't have the time or patience for them. I'm not reading their blogs, I'm not humoring them. I'm ignoring them in hopes that they will get the point that I don't need them to preach to me.


Anonymous said...

If I ever had a kid I wouldn't make my own baby food. That's what Gerber is for. I don't want to put someone out of a job.

So...uh...some kids DO breast feed past a year? said...

Luv your post... I was another person who struggled with bf and had to supplement and finally gave up after 5 months of torture and my son weaning himself... went through the guilt but know that I did what i could... and was lucky to have supportive friends who understood my whole journey not just the one decision.... as long as you are happy with your parenting style, I say go for it!

tbjenkins07 said...

Love the blogs new look........ I agree with you on different strokes for different folks.

I made my own baby food cause my daughter never liked canned food lol!

I didn't have a home birth because I wanted to be controversial. Its what felt right for my husband and I as parents!

You made such wonderful ponts