Tired, Old, Disclaimer…

may2012coverphoto

<<<Knock, knock>>>

“Who’s therrrrre?”

“Special delivery!”

“Oh my, what did I -”

“It’s BIG GIRL PANTS!”

I need you to put on your big girl pants.

I don’t know if I can stomach going to one more page or blog or article about parenting and reading,

“Hey Guys, I am not trying to offend anyone when I post about <<<SENSITIVE TOPIC>>>.  I know many moms have had to <<<SENSITIVE TOPIC>>>, and I am in no way trying to judge you, but I feel that I need to discuss <<<SENSITIVE TOPIC>>> for all the families and babies out there.”

Here’s a timeline of events in my life:

BORN————>HAD CHILDREN————>QUESTIONED MY PARENTING CHOICES————–>LEARNED BETTER————–>DECIDED TO SHARE WITH OTHER PARENTS

Do you notice what’s not in that timeline?  “MAKE OTHER PARENTS FEEL GUILTY.”  Nope, didn’t put it because it’s never been a goal of mine.  I’ve hit my children; I used to yell; there have been weeks when at least one meal per day has been eaten outside the home; OMG y’all, there were times when every meal we ate in a day could be fast food;  I’ve used disposables; both my babies were born in a hospital with me on my back; I wore Ryleigh in a forward-facing carrier when she was an infant; I fed Ryleigh formula; I weaned her from nursing before she was 6 weeks old; I sent her to daycare sick; she used to get all scheduled immunizations – the list could go on and on.

When I first started to hear about what other parents were doing and what could be for my children and my family, the last thought I’d have was, “Hey!  Don’t tell about the benefits of breastfeeding because that makes me guilty for formula feeding!  And don’t even try to talk about spanking because I know you’re just saying you’re better than me!  Some nerve, punk!”  I didn’t take the shared information as a personal attack, unless someone began a post with, “From the wall: (personal attack):”.

When I (and I think many other page admins) post to my Facebook wall or write a post about a certain hot topic, my goal is never to make anyone feel badly.  I think that if anyone does feel badly I actually have very little to do with it; that it’s likely an inner issue that is being ignored by the offended party, and maybe my post has caused hurt feelings to surface.  That isnot what I want, because I know how it feels.  I know what it’s like to open up to Facebook and the first story you see is screaming about how wrong a decision you’ve made was – a decision that has long been set and done with, and there’s nothing you can do about it now.  I know that feeling of not being in control and feeling like there’s not way to change it, because it’s in the past.  I have been in the chair, reading comments from other moms who never did ‘such and such’ and feeling like the odd mom out.  But I never felt judged.  Or, maybe I did, but not in the same way as most moms I hear from.

I felt like they’d judged me as a mom who needed a bit more information, and in that they were right.  I was a mom who needed to know what my options were, what the ramifications of following certain options are, and what I could do about what I’d already done.  I needed to know that there were other moms who didn’t always do everything right, and that there was hope for me that I could change.  And the more I started learning the more I understood where the problem lies – in my opinion, it is not with the many moms and dads who are following mainstream parenting principles and practices, it is primarily and (right now) most importantly what’s influencing the mainstream.  Our government and society in general.  We can’t change what’s allowed unless we change what people know about it.  That’s why I post what I do.  That’s why I write about what I write about.  I am not trying to make you feel badly, I want us all to come to the knowledge that in many respects, we’ve been duped.

I think that is the first step to change: we all need to get on the same page about what we’re willing to accept as ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ for our children and our families.  Once we’re there, it won’t be hard to see that formula should not be so easily available, that circumcision should not be a routine procedure, that hitting a child is not in the best interest of the child or the parents, or many of the other simple ideas our society has largely departed from.  We’re not there yet, I understand.  So for now my goal is to continue to share information so that other parents can read and learn for themselves.  I don’t expect to convince anyone overnight, heck I really don’t even expect to convince anyone of anything, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.

If we could all agree that we don’t need so many of the ‘tools’ that are presented to us, or that line the shelves of stores around the world, I bet it’d be a lot harder for doctors to get away with unnecessary birth interventions so often, or to hand a new mom a bag filled with formula, or for a parent to hit their child.  My goal is unity, I do not want to divide moms into groups.  We need each others’ voices and support.  If you read something, on my page or anywhere, and you feel “judged” or offended, really ask yourself why you feel the way you do.  Has the author or poster written anything that you should feel judged?  If not, maybe that feeling is gentle nudge from yourself, trying to tell you something.

All my posts are gentle nudges, and I invite you to nudge me back.  Come right out and ask me what my intentions are.  I am not going to stop posting or talking about what’s important to me, and I really don’t want to have to include a disclaimer before each post.  I love everyone.  I think parents need education over judgement.  So, let’s educate each other.  And by the way, when someone says they feel judged by me, I feel judged as being a judge-er.  I don’t judge so please don’t imply it.  =)

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Categories: Blogging, The Blogstress

Author:Kimberley

I'm Kimberley, work-at-home single momma to two girls, Ryleigh, 9, and Logan, 3. The Single Crunch is the story of our journey from a lifestyle saturated in mainstream ideals to an organic existence, and learning to love each other, ourselves, and any living thing, unconditionally. I'm passionate about breastfeeding, unschooling, single parenting, writing, grief, childhood abuse, childism, and natural living. I write about all this and whatever else moves me, which is a lot, and I throw in some funny on the regular. I'm humbled and grateful to have you reading, thank you. I hope something here will help you in any way.

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10 Comments on “Tired, Old, Disclaimer…”

  1. May 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    well said!

  2. May 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Defensiveness is always about us. It’s important to remember that even though someone got defensive, it doesn’t
    Mean that they will be there forever. It’s just part of their journey, evolving in it’s own time, as is mine and yours. I have to learn how to be, for me. Not to get defensive about defensiveness or judgmental about people who
    Judge. My favorite quote “we judge in others what we fear most in ourselves” I think that can also apply to our defenses. So pay attention to your judgments and defenses. Rey will teach us the most.

  3. Xipha
    May 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    I agree to an extent, except I don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach to parenting. People should be willing to educate themselves, to read the various information and opinions out there without feeling as if it is a direct attack on their parenting choices, however it is up to each one of us to interpret, analyze, and apply that information in the best way possible for our own unique children with unique parents. And even if you don’t agree with someones reason for making a decision different than your own, it is still their decision to make, and limiting their ability to make that decision once they have the available information would not be a good thing. Even if everyone had access to all the information and was willing to read it with an open and analytical mind I don’t think we would be on the same page, because there is all sorts of conflicting information out there due to our human interpretations and we all weight the pros and cons of a particular decision differently. I.e. for some people the fact that a mom had to go back to work early to support her child financially and did not have the time or energy during the work day to pump so she chose to supplement with formula might be acceptable reasoning to some, but not to others. Maybe another mom would have been able to handle the increased demands of pumping at work or had a more supportive work environment and would have made a different choice. Even if both were presented with the same information and fully understood the benefits of breastfeeding they might still make different choices because they weigh those benefits differently and are in different life situations, and they should be free to make those decisions and be supported in them. I do agree though that the presentation of information should not be mistaken for judgement.

    • May 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      It’s easy to say that people should be a certain way. But I am not a believer in shoulds. So with that being said, I guess you should should! But life is much more joyful when you live in “what is”. It makes me more clear headed and I make better choices.

  4. May 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Xipha, I do feel that all families should make decisions based on what’s best for them, however; I fell that there would be a lot less acceptance of certain things (like formula use) if we were better informed about it and about breastfeeding. I don’t think so many moms would allow themselves to give up so easily if the industry wasn’t allowed to present the way it is.

    • Xipha
      May 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      I can agree that industry in general (and not just the formula industry) needs to be held accountable for the information it presents to us. And I would like to see more unbiased information from the medical community as well, i.e. my doctor pressured me to start my daughter on solids/formula at 4 months, when although she was small she was bright, strong, healthy and happy and developing at or above the “norm” in all other ways. I knew that she was healthy and EBF was in her best interest for the for the first 6 months, and when we introduced solids we did baby-led-weaning so her primary nutrition still came from breast milk for a long time until she learned to eat solids properly and eventually self weaned at 14 months, despite me going back to work when she was 6 weeks old and pumping at work every day. She is healthy and happy at 19 months, and still very petite, and my doctor seemed uneducated to recommend an early introduction to solid food, and I suspect it was because it has been a long time since medical school and she was unwilling to read new information and adjust her advice (she never even asked how breastfeeding was going, just assumed my baby wasn’t getting enough to eat because she wasn’t plump like many babies are) and was quick to offer the first and easiest solution that came to her for the perceived problem. That being said, even knowing all the information about how breastfeeding is the best form of nourishment, if my body had not responded well to pumping, I would have tried to boost my supply, but if that was not enough then my choice would have been to use formula, and I would not have been happy if I had to go through a bunch of red tape to access it. And this is just one example of a parenting choice that many moms have to make and even one of the less controversial ones.

      So please, keep sharing information from both your own personal experience and from valid studies, keep advocating for accurate information from industry and government, but things like limiting the availability of formula may be going to far even if it is not the best decision for your family or mine, it may be the best option for some families once their individual circumstances are taken into account. The unity you speak of in the article will not be everyone agreeing on some gold standard of parenting, but it will be evaluating and accepting our own choices as the best we could make with the information we have at that moment, and those that others make for their families and supporting each other in making informed decisions by offering our own experiences and information, while still respecting their right to interpret and apply that information to their own circumstances if they see fit. And if your blog helps inform some parents so they find a better way for them, Well Done and Keep it Up.

      On a side note, I do agree with many of your own personal decisions and have made many similar ones, and I still feel confident in the decisions I have made differently from you even though you and many other parents may or may not not agree with them. You might even judge me for them, and you are free to do so if you chose, I can handle it. But most parents are trying to do the best for our kids despite sometimes differing interpretations or knowledge of what actually is best. And sometimes there is no one right way, especially when every child is different and every family has their own circumstances to deal with. And I post this very long winded comment with the utmost respect for you for taking the time and energy to share your experiences with others, and for braving the scrutiny of an often harsh internet audience ;) And I think I agree with the spirit of this blog post, if not all of the specifics, and we probably agree on more points than we disagree on. Maybe it is just my nature to play devils advocate haha.

      • May 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

        Haha, I don’t judge you. If you knew me personally, you’d know I am no one to judge anyone else, ever, for any reason. :) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I love learning about different perspectives.

  5. May 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    exactly! I have thought the same thing, and been through the same process as you ~ thanks for putting it into words. We need to hear it.

  6. May 31, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Thank you for this post! II really want others to know that just because I have done research and have a different view doesn’t mean I am judging them – I am just trying to educate them as well because honestly most decisions life circumcision and birth and whatever else are made half blind because if no one tells us otherwise, how do we know?!!? It’s like just sending your child into public school because that is what everyone else does without knowing you HAVE a choice!

  7. May 31, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Love the timeline. The sharing part is critical for me. I learn from others – whether I agree or disagree – the more perspectives I hear the more I can incorporate new ideas or become more convicted of mine.

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