When the topic of “child-rearing” comes to the forefront, I get hot and prickly. Instead of turning the air conditioning to 50 or moving myself into the grocery store cooler, I decided to write about it because writing is my therapy, it’s my release, it’s how I control my Rolodex brain.
The inspiration for this blog? I recently read an article about how the Whooping Cough was an epidemic in California and in the blog it stated it was a direct result of people choosing to not vaccinate their children. (see link below). What was so incredibly disturbing about this blog, was the parents’ vehemence towards each other on the topic. Especially the pro-vaccination side, and I’m pro-vaccination. I was appalled at how nasty the comments were towards the people who do not vaccinate. Yes, it distresses me that diseases are coming back and some say that scientific evidence has proven that it to be a direct result of people not vaccinating their children. All I can say that is if my child contracts a deadly disease, as a result of being around un-vaccinated children, and I vaccinated my children, I would be incredibly upset and want to point my fingers in a thousand directions.
However, lately, I decided, when I get inwardly steamed about a controversial subject, I am trying to do the opposite of overreacting and commenting wildly on Facebook. (you know you have done it..:) . I am trying to bring my inner Dali Lama to the forefront and find a medium in which we can agree to disagree and really try to support each other as we raise our children in this world.
An additional caveat inspiration, the petition to comb Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter’s hair was the most ridiculous criticism of another person’s parenting I have seen in a while, maybe in my life. I don’t care who they are, they are human and the paparazzi is ruthless. Leave that child alone.
As a society, I feel like parents; women especially, could do a much better job in supporting each other when it comes to how parents chose to provide for and raise their children. There are 500 different scenarios, and I do not think I have to list them all out because any parent that’s pouring love out of their heart to raise their children is a parent I support. Why does it have to be a competition? Why are SAHP (stay at home parents) cast as a certain stereotype and working parents cast as another? There are perks and insurmountable obstacles of all types of scenarios in raising kids. It is difficult enough to raise kids, without some blogger, polemicist or negative Nancy poking holes in your juju. (no disrespect to Nancy, it just went with word negative) I have worked since I was 11. I worked upwards of 18 hours a day before I had kids. I worked part time on three separate occasions after I had kids, and I simply could not make it work with my husband’s schedule. Why is the SAHP cast as the unproductive bon bon eating stereotype? Why is the working parent cast as a stereotype that doesn’t nurture their children as much as the SAHP?
I parent the way that I do because it feels right in MY gut, and below is a list of what I think we as parents can do to support each other in parenting:.
For the record, I have probably criticized every one of these items in my head or out loud. Through some personal growth, I am realizing that when I criticize another person in general, my own inner insecurities are rearing their monstrous head. My criticisms of anyone or anything, has everything to do with my issues and little or nothing to do with their issues. My point, stop throwing stones in the glass house and start using some Windex together.
1) How many extra curricular activities (I.e. sports) their children are involved in and Thankfully , because of some of the work I have done on myself, I’m less likely to parent my children based on “comments” made by other parents.
2) How a parent disciplines their children. Aside from physical, emotional abuse and neglect, how you (or as a family unit) chose to discipline your children is YOUR BUSINESS. You are in the shoes 24/7, not the onlooker.
For example, helping a parent who lost sight of her child for fifteen seconds (rather than scolding them with looks of disdain or remarks of disapproval) may be a better approach in a situation where you truly feel like a parent can benefit from your help or advice. This actually JUST happened to me today. A small child ran away from his Mom and I happened to be there to catch him before he went into the street. The Mom was sprinting, breathless, panicked, distraught and terrified. I simply said “is this little guy yours?” smiled warmly and joined their hands. If it hasn’t happened to you, then you are lucky. Toddlers are fast and we are human. My point is, most parents know when they effed up, so giving them “tips” or making “comments” usually isn’t helpful. At all.
3) STAYING HOME TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN. Enough Said.
4) WORKING TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN. Enough Said. Both scenarios have their pros and cons. Stop trying to win the argument because there should not even be an argument anymore. It takes a Village.
5) BEING A SINGLE PARENT. Enough Said. I know my Dad struggled with this feat for many many years.
6)Being A Gay Parent. How is “gayness” affecting the child? or your child? If you associate being “gay” with being perverse, that’s your problem.
7) Home Schooling your Children. Sending your Children to Private School. Sending your children to Public School. I personally could not home school my children because I substituted as a preschool teacher and I learned very quickly that it’s simply not in my DNA and I would be performing an injustice to their education.
8) What type of religion , if any, is taught in the home. I do my best to teach my children what I know, I bought them “cartoon-esque” bibles so they have a basic understanding of Christianity, but essentially it is their decision to believe in what they want to believe in for themselves. I believe in a Higher Power of my understanding, I want them to come to understand what that means to them on their own terms.
9) How many chores your kids do around the house or if they earn an allowance. Again, you are not in the parents’ shoes 24/7, you are the onlooker. What works for some , may not work for others.
10) I’m backtracking a bit, but breastfeeding. I did not breastfeed, I tried and had to stop. No, I am not going to buy another mom’s milk over the internet or even next door. Yes I do know how fabulous it is/was for the baby. I applaud the women who breastfed and breastfeed. “BREASTMATION” (projectile vomiting of information on breast milk) is not going tot make a woman who did not breast feed, change her mind on the subject, it’s only going to make the woman feel horrendous about her selves and her decisions. Information on the benefits of of Breastfeeding is great for groups and people who want to hear the information. I speak from experience and most moms I know who also did not breastfeed, DID NOT COME UPON THE DECISION LIGHTLY. Many tears were shed over my decision to formula feed my children.
OKAY ONE MORE 11)
JUST BEING THEMSELVES. I am around a lot of moms. The most common thing I hear is that they are so tired of being judged and tired of feeling like they are losing themselves in what other people THINK they should be doing. Why are we so damn hard on each other, aren’t we hard enough on ourselves??? Whether you are a strict parent, a funny parent, a fly by the seat of your pants- parent, cook three meals a day for your kid parent, kids were potty trained at 18 months or 5 years, parent (which, by the way, has NOTHING to do with you..so stop stressing if you are potty training right now, the child I spent less time agonizing over, was the child who trained quickly and had less issues) organized pintrest guru parent, handy parent, dramatic parent, etc!!! , I think the worst thing we can do to each other as parents is criticize each other!
Have you hugged another parent today?
* Article on Whooping Cough