I was recently having a discussion about Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing her food and feeding her son. Then we discussed the whole “co-sleeping” debate when Mayim Bialik wrote about attachment parenting. Everyone had an opinion on what was the right and wrong way to parent. I remember getting all sorts of parenting advice, whether it was warranted or not, and there were days where my brain actually hurt.
Should I breastfeed? What about formula? How long should the baby sleep in our room? Should we use a stroller or baby carrier? There was so much to think about and we were getting advice at every corner. All I wanted was to raise a well-rounded, polite, out going child. That’s not too much to ask is it? I asked the likely people for advice, my doctor, my mom and mother in-law, friends with children and did my own research on the internet. Then I would get it from people on the street. I didn’t even ask them for their opinion, I merely passed them on the street. What the heck?
Now that I am a mother and many of my friends are having children, sometimes they come to me for advice. I do what I did. I went to my own mother, my mother in-law, ask my doctor and did my own research. At then at the end, I did what I thought was best for my daughter. And that was all they could do. I told them I was not about to be an insufferable know-it-all and tell them every last detail of my parenting experience and that ultimately, they would do what they thought was best for their children. Do not listen to all the chatter, use your natural instinct and your child will turn out alright.
Historically speaking, women came together and birthed and raised children as a community. Now it is more of an attack on parenting. We are judging each other instead of helping each other. Good grief, parenting is hard enough without everyone and their neighbour chipping in their two cents. So what if you co-sleep? If it works for you, then by all means. Pre-chew food? Not my first choice, but then again, it’s not my child. Parenting is as deeply personal as religion is. It varies from person to person and if we are not supposed to judge people on their beliefs, then lets not judge them on how they raise their children. What works for them, may not work for you or I, but it works for them.
I am quite proud of how I raised my daughter. I gave birth via c-section with an epidural. I breastfed until she was 5 1/2 months. She wore disposable diapers as opposed to cloth. She was in her own crib, in her own room at 2 months. I immunized her, but didn’t opt for the flu shot. I never put her in a playpen to play. I took away her soother at 6 months, and stopped bottle feeding at 14 months. I made my own baby food in the beginning then switched to jarred. I give her allowance, as I make her do chores. She gets put in timeout. She has pets, and reads the Goosebump series. I didn’t give her juice until she was 20 months old and only because she contracted Norwalk Virus. Her “security blanket” is actually my old bra (she has been dragging it around since she could crawl, and actually hides all my bras on me now. I will find them in toy box and under her pillow from time to time.) I stayed home until she was 18 months and then went back to work full time and put her in daycare. I will not pierce her ears until she is 5. She has had overnight sleepover at a friend’s homes. She still has naps and enjoys morning cartoons. And while some people may not agree with some of this, it doesn’t matter to me. My daughter is an independent, intelligent, creative and imaginative little girl. She says please and thank you, she gives hugs and kisses, shares and plays well with other children. Only I know what is best for her, as she came from my body.