|Hanging with friends at the bluegrass festival 2013|
And, looking back, I realize how absolutely ridiculous it was, and is, to obsessively hang on every word some "expert" says about parenting.
Because, ladies and gentlemen, we all come from different situations, different kids, different experiences, different battles to face, and different futures. And as I have aged in this whole parenting thing, I have realized that often, those "expert" opinions and "this is the best thing you can do" stances, don't serve much purpose except to put un-needed pressure on new parents, who already feel antiquate and worry about what is best and if they are doing the right stuff.
Here is the truth I have learned. None of us are perfect, none of us will ever be perfect, and the trend now will not be a trend latter. We are going to mess up, and that is OK. It is OK for our kids to see us fail. It is OK to appologize to them when you lose your temper and realize you went overboard with the yelling. It means a lot to them to see you are not perfect, and takes pressure off them to live up to perfect standards that they are going to all too quickly realize they can't achieve.
Just like us. Take the pressure off. Don't worry about cloth vs. disposable. Don't freak out or feel defensive about breast vs. bottle vs formula. Don't go on parenting forums. There are crazy people out there that will make you feel horrible and like a failure because you don't have your little ankle biter all scheduled in the latest Montisouri school that offers Chinese and Spanish, along with Gymnastics and Chess for three year olds.
What works best for you? What makes you enjoy parenthood the most? What makes you feel more calm in your life? Pick that one.
For me, I did cloth diaper, mostly to save money, and used the same 25 diapers on three babies for the past 7 years almost non stop. When we traveled? Disposable it was. Behind on laundry? Disposable it was.
Breast milk? I did, again to save money, and partly because I knew the antibodies were beneficial to immunity. But you know what? We also did formula just so Bill could also enjoy feeding babies. And when I wanted to drink. And I even pumped and put breast milk in bottles for times when I just didn't want to nurse in public, because that made me more calm. Do what works for you.
Vaccines? I'm still hardcore for vaccines, but don't go on forums to make your choice. Don't listen to Jenny McCarthy. Talk to Drs. Read the online medical journals about Autism and vaccines and make your decision. Is Autism worse than your child catching a preventable disease and maybe dying from it? Again, your choice, but make an educated one, not because some crazy loud moms shouted it in your face and you jumped on the wagon with them.
Discipline? I love all of Kevin Leman's books and his reality discipline approach. But you know what? My kids are far from perfect, and I'm far from perfect, so you will probably see me with a tantrum throwing two year old as some point in the grocery store and I'll have no idea what to do, even after three babies, a degree in early childhood, and working in daycare, preschool and nanny settings. But you know what we can always do? Just smile at moms going through the same thing, and give a sympathetic head nod to let them know we have all been there, done that and will do it again.
Make the choices that keep you calm and help you enjoy this wonderful gift of parenting, because just like the last tantrum your toddler had, this season shall pass and be just a memory.
Do what you need to to make it an enjoyable memory. And don't stress about the rest of us.