Awhile back, when I decided to expand this blog to encompass more than just the projects that Andrew and I make, parenting and family was one of the topics I definitely wanted to include. Even though we intended to, we haven’t really had too many parenting & family discussions on here. The main reason I’ve hesitated is that in the few years that I’ve been a parent, I’ve realized (like many parents) there is a very fine line between honest discussion and unwanted advice when it comes to parenting.
However, recently somethings I’ve been noticing have made me want to have some honest parenting discussion.
The first thing I’ve been noticing is that, as parents, we haven’t been doing the best job at supporting one another.
If I’ve learned anything at all in the past (almost) three years, it’s that parenting is hard. Really hard. And many decisions you make as a parent are going to be difficult ones and sometimes the best options are the hardest to follow through on. This isn’t news to anyone who is a parent. The thing I’m finding really disheartening is that we aren’t supporting one another in these hard decisions. For example, if someone decides they want to feed their baby only homemade organic baby food – not the easiest route to take – and is finding it difficult to keep good on this decision, some parents would say, “Don’t be too hard on yourself, just buy some baby food.” – which of course would totally be fine! But the thing I’m not seeing enough of is someone saying “Just stick with it! You can do it!” It’s a subtle difference, but that’s what I mean when I say we aren’t supporting one another.
We need to root for our fellow parents, encourage and cheer them on! We need to help them to not compromise on things that are important to them. It was important enough to that parent to try to make their own food, why not try to help them follow through and stick with what they really wanted to do in the first place? And if that parent decides to forgo their initial plan and go another route, we should support them in that too. Which leads me to the next thing I’ve been noticing.
No parent is perfect. Regardless of what you see on blogs and Pinterest, it’s not always what it seems. I’ve seen lots of parents think they are “bad parents” because they don’t have a Pinterest perfect family-life, and don’t do crafts and make their own baby food, etc, which, of course, is not true at all. But I’ve also seen these same parents describe bloggers and other parents who DO make their own baby food, and do crafty things as “pretentious” and “stepford-wife-like,” which is equally as bad in my opinion, if not worse! Why would you ever want to discourage another parent and make them feel bad for doing something good for their kid/s?
What it comes down to is that different things are important to different people, AND THAT’S FINE! We need to respect that the decisions other parents make are in the best interest of their kids, just like the decisions you make for yours, and that’s all that matters. It’s okay if it’s not important to you to buy expensive organic diapers or breastfeed your baby, but it’s also completely fine if IT IS important to another parent. Not doing these things doesn’t make you a bad parent. And doing them doesn’t make you pretentious either. We need to stop judging each others parenting styles because it’s hard enough to parent without having to worry that others are criticizing our every decision.
Have you ever felt like other people were judging the way you choose to parent?
If so, just know here’s one parent that’s rooting for you and cheering you on from the trenches!