I chose to breastfeed my babies for a year, co-slept with my first until he was 11 months old, while my second slept in her crib for naps and overnight by the time she was 3 months old. I made all of my own baby food, limit my kids’ sugar and have them on such a strict schedule that even my neighbors know when the kids go to bed.
I’ve also given them their fair share of greasy, but delicious, food. They drink chocolate milk and I don’t do crafts with them nearly as much as I should. Oh, and they watch television and use their iPads on a regular basis.
Go ahead, tell me everything I’m doing wrong (and you don’t even know the half of it!). But, please – stop and take a look at my kids and at least give me a little credit for what I’m doing right.
My parenting is different than your parenting and that’s fine. Actually, it’s great. Our kids will be different and that’s okay, too.
I spent too long trying to make excuses or hide behind the decisions that my husband and I have made for our family and I am finally confident enough to be comfortable with my parenting.
There is no one size fits all mold. There just isn’t. Nor should there be. Our parenting is different because we’re different. Our families are different. Our kids are different.
See, we live in a world where every little thing is turned into a competition of who/what is better. I hate the judgements come from this, but I am finally okay with everyone thinking their way is the best…for their families.
And, also, let’s be honest. Our real parenting doesn’t happen in public, it happens in the privacy of our own homes, when no one is watching.
The only ones that reeeeeally know how we parent are our children.
I have a dear friend that has been telling me for years now, “you do you”. I’ve always tried, but typically failed, at letting go of the competition and comparisons.
The comparisons aren’t all that bad, though. In fact, comparisons are natural – something that we’ve all been taught to do since we were younger. So, it’s not the comparisons that are killing us as parents – it’s the competition.
It’s the “my way is better than your way” thinking. We can compare. We can take notes about what we like and don’t like. But we cannot say that we are better than someone else.
So, let it go. Let the competitions go. If letting your children watch a movie every afternoon gives you the sanity to get through the day and have that time to get something done that’s important to you (and maybe that’s sitting on the couch with them) then that’s fine. Who cares what your best friend’s family is doing? or your what sister puts on her dinner table each night? or what time your neighbor puts their kids to bed? Seriously, who cares?!?
The #1 way to be a better parent?
Well, in the wise words of my friend (who has always been wise beyond her years), you do you.
Your kids will thank you for it one day.
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