7 things you can quit explaining to the people in your life, even if you feel obligated.
Can we please just stop. Stop it. The not so silent war that goes on between parents has got to stop. We get enough judgement from the media, the government and the school system, parents need to ease up on each other.
I get that we all want to "share" our opinion and have people agree with us, but the polarizing struggle with parenting is that no one will ever completely agree with everything we believe. That's the beauty of parenting. We can change the legacy of our families; substance abuse, physical abuse. Continuing messed up traditions that our family keeps hanging onto, no longer serve us. Parenting gives us the opportunity to reset the story and begin to create our own journey.
Here are 7 things that parents make huge decisions about and owe an explanation to absolutely no one!
1. Breastfeeding vs. Bottle feeding: No matter what anyone tells you, both choices give you the opportunity to bond with your baby. There is a myriad of reasons why women can't or don't breastfeed. HER choice creates zero impact on anyone else's life. ZERO. The law protects her right to load up a bottle and feed publicly.The law protects your right to breastfeed publicly. Neither choice is WRONG. Feed your baby the way you want, the way that works for you and your family and your sanity. A peaceful mom is much better for any baby than a stressed out mom who dreads feeding time!
Full disclosure: I nursed all three of my kids to 18 months.
2. Cloth vs. Disposable diapers: Environmental impact aside, there is a time for disposables and there is a time for cloth. If you choose cloth, there will come a day when you either run out of cloth diapers or you are facing a diaper emergency (yes they do happen, ask any parent 3 seconds into a "poo-splosion"). Some parents simply do not want to use cloth diapers and that's okay. We can't all utilize cloth diapers. Seriously, there are children starving all over the world. Can we quit arguing about diapers already? We should be addressing our frustrations to the manufacturers who continue to manufacture products that harm the environment. I am sure that what we all want is a baby butt covered so that when the "poo-splosion" happens, everything is all sealed off!
Full disclosure: I valiantly tried cloth diapers, unfortunately, my daughters were allergic to one of the chemicals the diaper company was using, and I ended up having to deal with brutal diaper rashes. Switching back to disposables finally gave them some relief.
3. Circumcision vs. Non-Circumcision: To snip or not to snip? There is supporting literature on both sides. There are medical reasons, esthetic reasons, and religious reasons. There are organizations that solely support non circumcision and organizations that fully support circumcision. In the end, this very emotional decision lies squarely on the parents' shoulders. It's not a simple decision. The bottom line is whether or not a boy is circumcised or not, there is absolutely no change to your day or how you go about living your life. Whether you circumcise or not, the only one who has to live with it is your son. If, at some point, he wants to know why, have an answer ready for him. Chances are, he probably won't ask.
Full disclosure: my son is not circumcised.
4. Natural vs. Assisted Birth: There are healthy labor and delivery stories; there are unhealthy labor and delivery stories. There are easy deliveries and there are emergency deliveries. Thankfully, there are incredibly gifted medical professionals that are ready to go when things don't go as planned. There are medical reasons to have epidurals, spinal blocks, and caesarean births. No labor and delivery experience is exactly the same between two women. Asking for pain relief in labor doesn't make you a lazy mom. Going through labor and delivery without drugs doesn't make you a rock star. Your labor and delivery is YOUR labor and delivery. Make it what you want it to be. Have a plan, ask for support and bring your healthy baby home. This is the goal, right?
The old adage is true, your pretty much forget about the labor part when that baby is placed into your arms. Let's quit judging someone's birth experience shall we?
Full Disclosure: My first was breeched and I had a caesarean birth after 17 hours of labor. Second baby: VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) at the hospital with a nurse midwife. Third baby was born at home in a pool with a midwife. The first delivery clearly needed medical intervention when no doctors at the hospital had breech delivery experience.
5. Junk food vs. No Junk food: Should our kids eat fast food every day, all day? Of course not. Will a hamburger and fries from the local drive thru once in a while harm them? Probably not. Anything in moderation will not harm us. If you can feed your family organic everything, excellent. If you are unable to budget for that, life goes on. Not everyone is looking for a grain fed, free range diet. We can all agree that feeding your family junk food every day is not a good thing. Sugary soda and fried foods aren't good for anyone every single day. It's okay to have a treat once in a while. Every single parent needs a break from time to time and sometimes, that break comes in the form of a drive thru meal.
Full Disclosure: I budget for one trip to the drive through once a month. It's a family event.
6. Public vs. Private Schooling: With rising fees, sagging education budgets, exhausted and overworked educators, crumbling schools and crowded classrooms, it's enough to make any parent wish for something different. Private schools have been around forever. Whether it's homeschooling or a private organization that provides the educational foundation, it has always been an option for families.
Often, the biggest barrier to private education models is the expense. Private school can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month. The classroom sizes are significantly smaller. Resources and access to technology, fine arts and learning experiences are much larger. Private education is a bigger and better deal more often than not. That doesn't mean that a parent who chooses public education is any less intelligent than the parent who chooses private education. The most important idea to focus on is educating our children and fighting for the very best education you can have for your child. Become an advocate for their experiences no matter what you choose as an educational model. The reality is, YOU are the education your child needs for life. The building is irrelevant when you are the catalyst for your child to learn.
Full Disclosure: My kids all attend public schools.
7. Co Sleeping vs. Solo Sleeping