Monday, December 9, 2013

Purposeful Parenting: How I Parent is Not a Judgment on How You Parent

First, can I just say that us mamas are so hard on other mamas? I don't really get this. We should be united together to raise our children because Lord knows, I need some good mamas in this battle.

Thankfully, the good Lord does know and has placed some wonderful mamas in my life {you ladies totally know who you are!}. And one particular mama warned me of something that I have personally experienced numerous times since Bug was born. She told me that when I share how I'm raising Bug, in a conversation where it is naturally mentioned, that others will hear what I'm saying about what I'm doing and believe it's a judgment on them if they are not doing or did not do what I am doing.

In other words, if I share that I'm going to keep Bug rear facing in her car seat until she's 2 years old because that's the safest way to transport her and you did not, then I'm basically saying you don't care about the safety of your child.

Because I'm only giving Bug breast milk because it's the best food for a baby {in rare circumstances, it may not be, but I'd wager that 99.999999% of the time, it is} and you chose to give your baby formula, then obviously you're the worst parent ever because you formula fed.

Because I co-slept with my baby for the first six months of her life because sleeping near each other helps regulate her own heartbeat and breathing and because it forms a good bond between mama and baby and you did not, then obviously you should be shot because you didn't do this.

In case it isn't obvious, I really and truly do not believe you are a horrible parent if you don't parent the exact same way I do. In fact, if you're even reading this post or any part of this ongoing series, I'm going to assume you're a fantastic parent!

We all parent differently. God has made all of us individually and has placed certain beliefs on our hearts. I don't judge others by what they do or do not do, assuming of course that we're all keeping our babies clothed, fed and housed. If you're abusing your baby, I definitely have no respect for you at all and think you should be shot but again, I assume if you're reading this post, you're probably not one of those people.

Just because I'm sharing what I do doesn't mean I'm judging you when you share you don't do that. Or if I share I don't do something and you share that you do, that's okay too! I'm pretty liberal when it comes to parenting decisions. But please note the key word there: decision. I don't know how okay I am with the parent who doesn't educate him or herself and just goes along with what this world calls normal. For instance, many people just follow the regular vaccination schedule without even questioning if they should do that. They just listen to their doctor and do whatever he or she says. This is just one example.

Not to sound like your grandfather, but if your doctor told you to throw your baby off a bridge, would you?

Maybe not.

I'm totally fine with you deciding to vaccinate your baby {not that you're seeking my approval, but I think you get what I'm trying to say}. But you should actually make a conscious decision to do that and know what you're really agreeing to.

I actually never thought we would co-sleep. I kept saying all the way up until Bug was born, even after researching a minimal amount, that Bug would always and only sleep in her crib.

Clearly, I changed my mind. Bug developed a slight case of jaundice. Due to that, we put her in a bassinett for the first few weeks or so of her life so she could sleep in the sunlight, then so she could sleep in our bedroom. After that with all of the additional research I had done, I made a conscious decision that she would join us in the bed each night.

Most doctors don't advise you to sleep with a baby in your bed. "You'll roll over her and kill her!" they'll say.

In most cases that I've heard of, there were other factors at play that involved a child dying while sleeping in a bed with adults. Maybe you were sick and took medication which affected your awareness of your baby in the bed. Maybe one of you drank a glass of wine at dinner.

This is definitely why I'm really glad Bug did sleep in her bassinett rather than with us when she was first born and brought home. I was on fairly heavy medication from the birth and it would not have been safe in any way for Bug to sleep in the same bed as me.

Years and years of sleeping with Preston, our cat, has made Jason and I very aware of someone else in the bed with us, especially since Preston comes and goes and we never know just exactly where he is in the bed. We sleep well, but we're always in tune and aware of lumps in the bed. We never had a single issue with Bug sleeping with us.

But anyway, I digress. You have to complete your own research and form your own conclusion on parenting matters. Different things work for different people, and even once you decide on how you're going to handle a certain issue, I promise that down the line, something can happen or you'll hear of another's experience, and you may just decide to change course.

The point is to be active in your parenting decisions and to be involved with what's going on.

And the true point of all of this is is that I'm not judging anyone with the decisions I'm making. I'm just doing what I believe is best for my daughter. What's best for her might not be what's best for your little one. That's not my call to make. I'm not your little one's mama. You are. The difference between my kid and your kid is me.

You decide what's best for her or him. You're the mama. You're in charge.

But please respect that I'm in charge of my little and I decide what's best for her.

It is a two-way street, after all.

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