I hate reading parenting advice articles – not only do they convince me that I am doing everything wrong- they aren’t much help either. For every impassioned plea I read about attachment parenting, I read an equally impassioned plea for detachment parenting – and I agree with most everything both articles have to say – which makes me the most confused and attached detached parent you’ve seen – and my children slightly bipolar!
But these articles are like parenting cat nip – I can’t seem to stay clear of them and every time I see titles like “How to raise happy children” or “The 10 things you do everyday that ruin your kids’ lives” or “You are a very bad parent and here’s why” – like some form of extreme masochism – I read these columns and they terrify me! My husband, I’m quite sure, has never ever been even slightly tempted to find out the ways in which he’s failing his kids as a dad – it’s as if these articles sense my main motherly weakness – the terror that something I do will irreparably harm my children.
So, that said, this is a column about empowering every parent – don’t worry, you are all doing great!
Whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed – guess what’s the most important word here – its FEED!! So, as long as you are feeding your child, you’re doing great!! And spare a moment to think about all those parents in the world who would love to feed their children too, so – if you can – donate money/time/unused formula to UNICEF or the Red Cross or a food pantry.
If your baby sleeps in your bed he or she will feel secure and loved and you will be rested. If you teach your baby to sleep in his or her crib your baby will be secure and learn to be independent and you will not wake up with a small limb thrown over your face asphyxiating you – either way is absolutely fine!
If you make your babies food from scratch at home you will be assured of the quality of the ingredients and have the chance to experiment with different vegetables and fruit. If you give your baby store bought baby food you will be able to spend more time bonding with your baby and ensure dietary consistency – either way is fine and you are doing a great job!
If you choose cloth diapers your baby will potentially be toilet trained earlier and you will be reducing your carbon baby footprint by not contributing to landfills. If you choose disposable diapers you will be contributing to the economy and reducing the amount of water used to wash the cloth diapers thereby reducing your carbon baby footprint – either way is great! Can I also just point out here – according to my husband, just by having a baby you’ve increased your carbon footprint – so all of you who have voluntarily chosen to not have children – thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this a cleaner world for my children! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your choices!
If you document each little baby twitch online via social networking sites your friends and family will be part of your baby’s life and can celebrate milestones with you. If you choose to keep these moments private your baby won’t have any embarrassing photos broadcast to the world at large – either way is good!
And finally, that third rail of parenting – if you choose to stay at home you can watch your children grow up and be involved in every aspect of their life, if you choose to work you will be teaching them how to contribute to the world and make the best use of their potential and their education – either way is good! I’d actually like to take the time to express how completely I hate and abhor the phrase “mommy wars” – it’s been hyped up by the media that uses it to describe the imaginary tension between parents who choose to stay home and those who choose to work! For the record, I don’t consider parents who stay at home my enemies, or adversaries – we are both doing the best we can to raise happy, healthy, productive children – we are on the same side! Lets not forget the real opponents – that 5 year old who doesn’t want to eat, that 10 year old who doesn’t want to read, this kid who will grow up and take my job – that kid’s the real adversary 😉!!
So, in conclusion my fellow parents and young parents-to-be – you are going to agonize over so many decisions – pacifier or nuk-free, to work outside the home or be a stay-at-home-parent, soccer or basketball, jazz or ballet, piano or guitar, paper or plastic – remember that no choice made with a loving heart – is wrong! So hang in there, you’re doing fine – and to quote those amazing prophets of their generation: “…and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make“!!