Quite a while ago I posted this piece on “The ‘Right’ Way to Parent”. As I had hoped , some of my friends shared this article on their Facebook feeds (thanks, lovely people!). What caught me off guard and saddened me was the response one person shared.
Apparently when reading the post, what they got out of it was that my way of parenting was being pushed as the “right way” of raising a child.
I was appalled to hear this. That was the exact opposite to the message I had intended to put out there. I guess I did a poor job of explaining my thoughts, so let’s see if I can clear this up.
I had not meant for anyone to be made to feel inferior for choosing to parent a different way than myself. I was merely ranting about the different points in my parenting decisions that I get the most flack for, and trying to express why I make these decisions, and why they are the best ones for my family, at this point in time. The whole point was to encourage and support EVERY parent in ANY way they parent, as there is no “right” way. There is only what we all decide for ourselves what works for ourselves and our families.
Surely breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for your babe. There is no denying this, it is scientific fact. BUT it may not be the best choice for the child in the whole picture of that child’s family life. There are many reasons why breastfeeding may not be the best choice for the child in the overall experience. If there is stress or pain being caused on the mother, it may be causing more harm than good, and pumping or formula (or even puréed beef, in one case of a friend I know) would be of better benefit to the whole of the child.
One cannot forget that the individual experience is by far more important than what may be seen as “ideal”. Choices need to be thoughtfully made in regards to each situation as it applies to each child, mother, and family in their personal and unique situation, at a certain point in time (remember to keep your mind open – change is imminent and what’s working one day may need some rethinking the next).
The same goes for each of the other points I mentioned as being what our family has found to be the “right” choices for us. If they are also what you find works for your family, then great, we have something in common. And if your choices differ from mine, then great – we still have something in common, which is far more important: we are being the best parents we can possibly be for our children by making choices that are “right” for our families regardless of what the books say. We are using our brains and our hearts to provide the best possible life for our children and ourselves. Making sure we as parents are having a positive experience and our needs are being met is vitally important to our children’s well-being, and should not be forgotten.
Everyone is on a unique journey, and we shouldn’t judge their choices. We have no idea what their experience is and why another does what they do. Only YOU know what is best for all the members of your family (including yourself – do not forget your importance!). The one single thing a parent should be doing is to be thoughtful in their decisions and follow their own gut in their unique situation, and stand by their decisions as to what is best for their child.
And to remember that we’re all trying our best for our children. Just because we do things differently (and we all do… I have yet to meet anyone that parents exactly the same as any other parent), doesn’t mean anyone is a better, or lesser, parent.
Be supportive of others. Life is tricky, especially when it comes to parenting. We can all use as much support and encouragement as we can get!
What do you do to be supportive of the parents in your community? Comment below and share this post to help remind others that we’re all on a different journey, and they are respected for whatever it is that they choose to do!