Thursday, February 5, 2009

Judge not

So I was going to try to go to sleep early, except I didn't, and I played a game and got caught up on the Momversation episodes and watched the "Breast-feeding Fanatics" episode and got all riled up.
The general consensus of the panel, as it usually is, is "hey, do what works for you, and ignore people who try to tell you you're doing it wrong." A statement I heartily agree with. The three main reasons I'm breastfeeding?
1)I'm cheap
2)I'm lazy
3)I'm lucky enough that my milk producing system works extremely well.
I'll admit, I didn't know that last one until I tried it, but if for some reason I had to do formula, I wouldn't beat myself up about it. Why not? Please reference reason #2.
But this thing where people like to tell parents they are doing things wrong? I'm not okay with that. And I see it a lot in online communities I read. "My friend is bottle feeding/letting her baby cry it out/sending her kids to band camp and I don't think I can be her friend anymore because she's just so wrong!" or, "There was this family at the restaurant and the Dad hit his kid when he reached for the syrup and I wanted to cry and steal the kid away from him."
You don't know. You don't know what it's like to be in that situation, with that kid. You don't know how many times that kid has been told not to reach for the syrup, or how often he knocks over full syrup jars in restaurants. You don't know about the horrible horrible day Dad had and how they are at the restaurant because he just couldn't handle making dinner tonight and all he wants is to eat his food.
Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do. Kids are amazing and wonderful, but they are also annoying and argumentative and push you to the breaking point just to learn where the edge is. They don't start out understand about boundaries, or when to leave things alone. We are all doing the best we can as parents, and that's all we can do. The last thing we should be doing is making this harder for others. You choose the parenting style that works best for their family. My way may be drastically different then the one that works best for your family, and that is just fine.
This is not to say that I don't have very specific ideas on how to raise kids. I do. Heck, my list of rules for naming babies is so long, I'm embarrassed to think about it. I am probably even silently judging your parenting choices right now. But the operative word there is silently. You will hear my opinion when you ask for it, and not a moment sooner. I have known parents who I thought were making horrendous mistakes in the past, and I cried for those poor children. And you know what? They turned out fine. Most people do.
If you have a friend whose parenting choices you disagree with and you want to change her mind? Stay her friend and let her parent her way and offer your help when she needs it, but don't judge. If you can't stop yourself, then leave her be, she's better off without you, and you without her. Your daughter in law is doing things differently then you did? Realize that she and your son have discussed this all and they are happy with their decision. Stranger loosing it on her kids in the grocery store? Offer her your sympathy or leave her alone. The last thing she and her kids need is you butting in and telling her how horrible she is.
Other than that, let people be.

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