Maternity leave has taught me a few lessons this time around that I didn’t learn the first time around. The most powerful of those lessons is NO ONE has this parent thing figured out to perfection. Second- EVERYONE has an opinion on what you are doing and if they believe it is right or wrong. The best place to go if you want unsolicited advice or to feel judged is the playground or community park. (We all judge so we might as well as get that out of the way.)
Let me start this off with a positive. We are all trying our best and just hope to get our kids through this crazy thing called life. Our kids don’t need the breast over the bottle. It really doesn’t matter if we choose co-sleeping or separate room arrangements. Our children will survive if they don’t have organic everything.
All our children need in this crazy adventure that us parents have chosen to go on, is guidance and love. Yes, we need to make sure they have the essentials of life but when it comes to everything else love and guidance is all they want and truly need from us.
Guilt is a powerful thing that will consume your happiness and make you question everything in a matter of moments. (okay at least it does to me) As a parent I am constantly questioning- am I doing it right? Am I damaging this poor kid(s) by the choices I am making? I don’t usually openly say that I am concerned or questioning my choices. I truly believe in faking it till you make it. Especially in this parenting adventure.
I sit at the park letting my tiny little adventurer run up the slide, jump off the top tier of the platform and am embracing the energy that is my spazzy child. I take the parent approach of free range and reasonable risk. I live by the notion of if he doesn’t fall or fail how will he know to get back up or try again.
I don’t even realize the mom group that has formed at the picnic area next to me till I start hearing the whispers and the “don’t climb the slide that is not how we use it.” This is where I stop and cringe and try to not be that crazy mom or teacher going off the deep end about why it is okay for them to climb the slide or take a little risk. (This is where my judging comes in) We all parent different and we all have different notions on what is acceptable and what is not.
I can’t even pretend to be an exclusion of the parent shaming, judging every move another parent makes. I do and I even judge myself as I am doing it. There is no perfect parenting style or way. If there was we would all own the book and have saints of children and no tantrums or behavior issues. However, that book has not come out yet. It most likely won’t anytime soon. Not only because there is no perfect way but because each child is different in their own amazing way. So, there can’t be one way parenting.
So how do I deal with being the parent guilted from the choices I make? I pick my emotional battles. I realize that no matter what I love the tiny humans I brought into this world. I conclude that if I guide them to kindness and love them it will all be okay. I choose to let it go and try to be more understanding as I am standing at the park being the black sheep that didn’t pack the organic snacks or bring the sunscreen. I choose their happiness and my emotional sanity.
I also promise to work on my own judgmental ways and remind myself that we are all on this journey together and have various solutions to making it through this parenting thing. And for a giggle, watch and enjoy!