I often wonder what it would be like to be a new parent in the 80's. When formula was all the rage, and car seats were picking up steam. I would have loved it. I Googled "when did car seats become mandatory", and most people born before 1980 only remember sitting on their parent's lap, or coming home in the form of a shoe box.
Breast fed or bottle fed. Crib or co sleeper. The introduction of food. Being a mom returning to the work field. These are just a few of the controversial topics that circulate around my social media on a daily. If it weren't for my family and close friends in other parts of the world, I would do away with Facebook, because I can't cope. Twitter. Instagram. They're really where it's at.
As a person who is probably considered to be mean and old school... I am often highly irritated when it comes to the opinion of others on these very topics. My baby drinks formula, sleeps in his own crib, gets his milestone vaccinations, went to the chiropractor, has been introduced to foods, sometimes I make him cry himself to sleep and occasionally (daily) he is exposed to the t.v. He thinks Judge Judy is his Grannie - I kid.
It's not that I believe that I am right, and you are wrong... it's that although some things may be better, it doesn't mean their alternative is wrong. And well, when you treat me like it is, I get moody.
Here's the thing. If you have been a parent for 5 seconds you know how hard and glorious it is all in the same breath. Once the initial adrenaline rush of being a new mom wears off, reality sets in, then the weight of your new role sinks in - and sometimes that reality isn't pretty.
So the question is - if you know it's hard, and I know it's hard, why are we so hard on each other? And I am only 6 months in. I can't WAIT to see what it's like when he has a toddler meltdown at church, or encounters school politics.
I would have loved to have breastfed my baby for more then a week (real talk) ... but well, there are these things called complications, and sometimes all doesn't go as planned. If I had a month of support post delivery, and a live in doula, I am sure that I would have conquered my breast feeding woes, but that just didn't happen. After three days of public health insisting I feed Bennett by way of syringe and tube, you could say I was on the verge of a postpartum meltdown. So, if you could cease from giving me a condescending eye when I whip out my kid's bottle full of formula, that would be great.
We all have a story. We have expectations, and dreams, and sometimes they come crashing down, because reality has this way of setting in.
I am not better than you. You are not better than me. Sometimes it's important to step away from the place of your stubborn stance and look at a situation from another angle. I assure you I am preaching to myself, as well.
What works for you and your family?
Are you and your baby happy?
Do the people that question you really affect your life?
I run through this list of questions over and over again.
I know for me there are some things that I am passionate about, and they may not be the same for you, but that's what makes us all who we are. There are things that I question on a daily, and other things that I know without a doubt. But really, if another person's choices aren't hurting you, does it really do any good to let them know your opinion? Especially if they don't ask? There are a lot of modern practices that I am not keen on. I rarely shed my opinion on them, because I doubt my opinion matters.
I don't have to live your life, and you don't have to live mine. Amen to that, amirite?
If you haven't had a baby yet, but are considering it, please know that you will have dreams and ideas about what being a parent is like - and from the moment you tell people you are pregnant, they will crush them. It's what people do, and it's really annoying. Most people mean well, but just remember that dreaming is a part of the process, and when YOUR reality hits, some of those things will be just like you had imagined, and others will not. And it's ok to make decisions based on that alone.
Your reality. Your life.
I am not probing for a debate, or a declaration of "I am right and you are wrong". That would defeat the point of my post. I am sick of the right and wrong thing.
I am just asking that as parents we go easy on each other, because we are all in this together.
Help, and not judge.
Ask, and not assume.
Walk side by side, and not compete.
Take the tidbits of wisdom that help, and brush off the things that don't.
Find someone that you trust, who will stand beside you and assure you that you are not failing.
Live YOUR life, and do what works for you.
I was terrified that I would lose any form of bond with Bennett when I switched him to a bottle. Turns out he loves me just the same, and he looks at me a million times a day like I am the coolest person in the world. These are the moments that matter to me.