Last Thursday seemed promising, I thought as I lay in my bed, watching my baby thrash around in her crib playing contently. I sorted through my emails, gave my fur babies a little love, then rolled out of bed ready to conquer another day. (It helped that Tess finally slept through the night again, for the first time in over a month.) We completed our morning routine; diaper change, song singing, and peeking in the mirror, before we headed downstairs for some breakfast.
We are still introducing new foods to Tess, slowly but surely. I’m not sure she enjoys it–I think she’d stick with carrots, sweet potatoes, and avocados if she had the choice, but she is doing well. After she ate I set out in the kitchen to prepare some applesauce and blueberry puree for her next venture, and I got to thinking about parenting. About how happy I was to be able to make such things for Tess, yet how judgmental people are about decisions parents make–similar to mine to make baby food.
Before Tessa was even born people were rolling eyes, and giving advice and recommendations on what to do for MY child. And every now and then I catch myself paralyzed by the voices of others impacting my decisions for my child. Today, I took my organic apples and blueberries out of my fridge, and prepared them for cooking and I could picture faces of people who would tell me I was wasting my money. Or “what is wrong with the normal baby food?” So it got me to thinking–
Truth is, I think parenting today is harder than it was for our parents, or theirs. Sure, was have modern conveniences, and research to back best practice. We have cutting edge medical technology, and super fun toys. But it’s exactly that, in today’s society which makes it SO much harder. Along with that, for me, having a degree that I thought would make parenting a breeze, (child development) just leaves me wanting LESS.
Parents of babies today, have a plethora of knowledge to sort through. An overabundance of dos and don’ts. And plainly put, its terrifying. “If I don’t do this what will happen?” “If I do this what will happen?” “Which option do I choose?” This coupled with today’s society that thrives on judgement (you know what I’m talking about; Who wore it best? Wife Swap, American Idol, etc. etc.) makes it all seem a little overwhelming if you let it.
My favorite thing to do when I get overwhelmed is to think about my parents, their parents, and beyond. What did they do? How’d they do it? Am I okay?
Yes, yes I am. So is my brother, and my sister. And my mother, and my father. You get the point.
For the most part, they didn’t have the same research, technology, advice and organics as we face today, but we all survived! We all made it, and most of us are happy and healthy and continue to be so. Now, I realize that they also didn’t have the same chemicals/toxins and pollution problems that we face today–but ultimately that is a moot point in regards to my conversation.
The fact of the matter is, we chose to do what we thought would work best for our family. Based on our morals, finances, knowledge, and lifestyle. And so should everyone else. To base your decisions based off of social stigma, outside pressure, and comparison will only make your job as a parent harder.
Why is it that it seems okay now for parents who make a decision they deem best overall to make other parents feel like they’re wrong? What about feeding your child organics, sending them to private school, homeschooling, or cloth diapering (etc. etc.) makes parents feel like they are super-parents, or the better parent in a group? You’re child will likely turn out just as good as the next, regardless of factors external to family and the love we give them.
I just want to say it: Don’t judge me because I choose to give my child the organic dirty dozen but don’t really care about everything else. Don’t judge me because I use cloth diapers. Don’t judge me because I had my baby sleep in her crib alone since she was born. Don’t judge me because I stay at home with my child. Don’t judge me because I use research to steer my decisions. Don’t judge me because I am giving my baby blueberries at 7 months old. Don’t judge me because I mix her laundry in with my own. Don’t judge me because I buy her cloths second hand. Don’t judge me.
You’re parenting decisions do not make you a better parent than me, nor do mine of you. So why can’t we all just help each other out. What is with this one-up parenting culture we’re in? We are all in this together, for the same reasons really; so lets work together and support each other and each others decisions. Leave the judging for American Idol, and US weekly. Seriously.