Friday, February 19, 2010

Thanks for your input, but...

Before I begin this...this, what? Rant? No. This tirade? I guess that's not an accurate word, either. There's a very good chance this will end up being a perfectly ordinary post, but I guess since I'm feeling pretty touchy about this subject right now, I feel the need to warn you: this post MAY end with me standing on top of car with a megaphone saying some very regrettable things to anyone unfortunate enough to pass by. Anyway, before I begin, I just want to say that PARENTING has been a hot topic lately (at work, between friends, with that lovely mother-daughter pair that cornered Adam and I in WalMart) and I'm just feeling like I need to vent a little. So that's what this is: AN OUTLET.

When I was pregnant I was often annoyed amazed at the overwhelming amount of advice I recieved. Everyone from my close family members to random strangers in the grocery store had something to say. "Oh, you're carrying low... Should you really be eating that?... When I was pregnant..." Often it was innocent enough--mostly small talk. Sometimes it was a bit obnoxious. On occasion it was completely ridiculous. Opinions varied drastically from one person to the next. I eventually learned to listen to each person, nodding my head and saying 'mmm-hmm' in the appropriate places, then, as they walked away, I'd promptly forget everything they'd just told me.

I didn't for one second believe that this behavior would stop after Morgan was born. It did, however, take on a different and perhaps more intense form. As much as people have to say when that baby's inside of you, they have EVEN MORE to say once that baby's outta there! Now I get to hear about how I'm doing this wrong, or how that is totally inappropriate, and don't I know I should be doing this?

Here's the thing: I know I'm just a rookie at this, but I firmly believe that the way you parent is completely different from the way I parent. And I also believe that's totally fine, in fact, I believe that's the way it should be. I don't believe that a single method exists that will work for every family, or even for each child within the same family. We are all so different that what works WONDERFULLY for you and your family may not work AT ALL for me and mine. And visa-versa.

I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing momma. I believe in routine, but not a strict schedule. I embrace what I know about the benefits of using sign-language with children and, with the help of my amazing babysitter, I've begun signing with my baby. I've parented by instinct since Morgan was born: letting her tell me what she needs and responding in whatever way works best for us. I didn't know that I had a "parenting style" but as I've read about it, I've found that the things I've done so far, and the reasons why I do those things, are in the same school of thought as attachment parenting. (If you care to click on that link, you may also want to click on this one about what attachment parenting is NOT.) I think this style (as well as most others, I'm sure) can be taken to extremes, and I'm not a fan of ANY extreme whether it be in religion, fashion, politics...whatever. I believe a happy medium can be found in any enterprise, and I'm only beginning to learn what mine is as far as parenting.

If you feel the best and most healthy thing for your baby is to give her a bottle of formula every three hours, on the hour, please feel free to do so. And if you let your child cry-it-out for as long as 40 mintues before they finally fall asleep, more power to ya! If you're one who believes that a strict and unwavering schedule is the only way to go, that's wonderful! Really. There are countless ways to do things, and I promise I won't judge you for whatever method you opt for. But please know that as you're trying to convince me that your way is the ONLY way, I'll be nodding along and smiling with you, but as you turn to walk away, I'm going to promptly forget everything you've just said to me.

Because my child is different than yours. And you and I are very different people. And that's okay.


  1. What the heck did they say to you in Walmart?

  2. Teresa,
    The WalMart was a couple of ladies who happen to know Jessica and (to put things very nicely) were giving a commentary on the different ways Adam and Jessica choose to do things. They weren't offensive, necessarily, just sticking their noses where they didn't belong and it rubbed me the wrong way, I guess.

  3. Gotta love ladies who think they know it all.... and hey your baby is cute


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