Recently I decided that this fall, I’m going to put my kids into AWANA (which is a program at our church that teaches Bible memorization and other Christian values, if you’re not familiar). My son, who will be barely 2, is only able to participate if a parent volunteers. So naturally, since I want him in, I decided that I’m going to volunteer.
I’ll have a new baby when they start. Depending on when the baby comes, it could be as young as a few weeks old (I’m due in early August, somehow expecting mid-August, and the program starts in early September). I made the decision that I will be wearing the baby in the Moby wrap while I’m there, at least for the first several months (I’m not opposed to leaving a baby who can sit up and enjoy others in a nursery…but I’d still take the baby with me so if s/he needs to eat, I could step out and feed him/her quickly, because I won’t pump).
I wondered what others might say or think about this. Perhaps they’d think I should pump or supplement and leave the baby at home right from the start. But then I thought, you know what? I don’t care. Because this is what works for me, and I’m going to do it.
There are a thousand ways to parent. We’ve certainly seen many of them here on Babble, as well as the ensuing fights over which way is “right.” Plenty of people felt the need to justify their way…or bully those who didn’t agree.
But I’m totally over it.
I don’t care if my parenting choices aren’t popular. I don’t care if other people think I’m crazy and would never raise their kids the way I do. I don’t care what anyone else chooses for their children. I’m choosing what’s best for my kids 10o% of the time, regardless of the comments or raised eyebrows that I get.
We all need to arrive at this place of confidence, that we can do the best for our children without worrying about what others think. Who cares? They don’t live in your house and they don’t know your kids like you do. So what does it matter if they give you a sideways glance or an eyeroll or even outright say, “I’d never choose that, it’s selfish?” Seriously? Maybe they don’t have anything better to do than judge your choices, or maybe they’re so insecure about their own that they need to criticize others (much like schoolyard bullies, which I am convinced we never, ever escape from).
All that really matters is that you feel comfortable with what you’ve chosen (and your husband or partner, too, naturally). It does not matter if your neighbor agrees, or your mom, or some stranger on the internet. There’s no reason to justify your choices to any of these people. Simply say, “This is what I’m doing. This is what works for my family.”
So from now on, that will be my stand. Every single choice I make is motivated by what I truly believe in best, and not by what those around me might think or so. And when people question or criticize, I will simply smile and say, “This works for us.”
Are you fed up with the judgment from others and ready to be a confident, independent parent?
Parenting Perspective: A Father’s Commentary on “Tiger Mom”