I was reading Mel's posts about breast feeding. The second I read it, emotions came flooding back to me. I had so much pain when I decided not to breastfeed Cam. But after I made the decision, I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn't breastfeed Maggie for other reasons, but every once in a while I still regret it, even though I know it was the right thing to do.
And that's my parenting style. I do what I think is the right thing to do. For me. For MY kids. For MY family. I take all the information that is being thrown at me from a million different places and I do what I think it best for me, my personal situation, and my children's situation.
Everything is SO personal when it comes to child rearing. For us, we've had to deal with so much - it blows my mind when people make sweeping generalizations about parenting.
I can guarantee that no one can ever say that they know exactly what you are going through. Even if our situations seem similar from the outside -every single person pulls from various life experiences and beliefs to come to each decision we make. I was raised by a single, working woman. I'm too trusting. I had to go through a lot just to get pregnant. I got pregnant 'later' in life, after I had an established career. I had an emergency c-section when I really wanted a vaginal birth. I threw away formula samples that arrived before Cam's birth because I knew I would breastfeed. And I've formula fed all my children. I got pregnant by surprise (who knew that you could get pregnant when you had sex!?). I had twins. I lost a twin. I swore I would never co-sleep, and then slept holding Maggie in my arms for the first month of her life. I want to let my kids learn things on their own, but I don't want to ever see them hurt. I want to give them the best I can. I don't want my kids to have the issues with food and weight that I have had my whole life. I want them to know unconditional love. I want them to have fun with their parents, but I still feel that setting limits is very important. I want them to laugh and have fun and friends and not be too serious. I want them to succeed in life.
And I think that ALL parents want things like that for their family. But our society has changed the obvious goal of parenting - raising a successful child (whatever that label of success may be to you) and tainted it. You aren't successful unless you have a natural, vaginal birth. You aren't successful unless you breastfeed. You aren't successful unless you feed your children all organic foods. You aren't successful unless you child sleeps on his/her back. You should/shouldn't vaccinate. If something bad happens it's all your fault because you didn't do one or all of the above things.
How did we get like this? I know that our parents dealt with this too but it just seems that people have so much more to say about it now. Maybe it's because I'm living through it, but there are days when I hear yet another study telling me why my kids are going to have lower IQs and be obese because of some random thing I just want to scream STOP!
Parenting is a heck of a lot of common sense. Kids should get a good night's sleep. They should eat well. They should be loved and played with and read to. And given as many opportunities as is possible. But there is not one thing that is going to RUIN my child. And it makes me sad that we, as a society, feel that way. And it's hard to weed through the propaganda to get to the truth sometimes.
I guess I'm just wishing that we all lived in a wonderful world where everyone got along and were reasonable, loving, kind people. And, since I know that the whole world isn't like that, I will just try to surround my family with people who are and hopefully teach Cam and Maggie how to be loving and tolerant and kind and to eat their veggies. And try to remember to do the same myself.