I completely believe in supporting moms and not judging others parenting. I wish that I could just embrace all moms and how they parent and give them air high fives. In truth, I am a little judgey. I have my opinions about parenting and sometimes I think that I am doing it right and other times I think that I should have my head examined.
I think that every mom should at least try breastfeeding. I am not militant about it but I found it to be such an awesome experience and it is so good for the little ones that I think that all moms should give it a shot. If you don’t even try how will you know? But I am not going to berate someone for choosing not to breastfeed. I stopped breastfeeding my kids before they were a year. Sometimes they were a combo of breast feeding and formula. And they have all turned out okay.
I think that parents should allow kids to make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t hover. Don’t try to control every little action. Don’t try to turn them into little images of you. They are individuals who deserve to be individuals. I cringe whenever I hear a parent say, “I was just like that when I was little.” No, you weren’t. By the same token, I can clearly see in my kids a mix of both parents but also that they are their own little terrible people. So, yes, they act just like dad but they also do things that set them apart from him. Like putting socks in the laundry basket.
Let them get dirty and grimy. It not only helps them to acclimate to the germs that cover every surface of everything in life but its fun for them. Its okay if their face is dirty or their clothes have a spot on them. It all washes off. I don’t think that they should be covered in snot and dirt but occasionally, it’s okay if they look like they re-enacted Lord of the Flies. Just not in public. There’s a big difference between a neglected child and a child that has been playing outside. Trust us, we know the difference and it’s not a reflection of your parenting when your kid just ate a dirt sandwich and is proud of it.
Enforced bedtimes. I know that some parents let their kids stay up as late as they want until they finally fall asleep exhausted. I know some parents enforce a bedtime regardless of summer hours or if the child is tired. It’s a careful balance. When you have to get up at 5 in the morning to get your kids ready for daycare or school than yes, they need to get some sleep and probably go to bed earlier than most grandparents. If you are putting your kid to bed at 7 pm regardless if they are tired because you want 4 hours to yourself and don’t want to deal with them anymore, that’s a selfish parent move. If you are letting your kid stay up until 2 in the morning because they are “night owls” and then they sleep till 11 the next day, I think you’re being lazy. Kids need sleep and schedules and parents need alone time. Find a balance.
Letting kids cry it out. Kids need to learn how to handle things like not getting their way and not throwing tantrums. But kids are going to throw fits. If your child has been crying, and I mean really crying, not the whining fake cry, for over 20 minutes, they are in distress. Pick them up and try again. A child left to cry for hours is a child that is being ignored. This is not raising strong children. This is setting a precedent that they don’t matter. It is sometimes not worth engaging a kid who is having a meltdown. Let the meltdown happen. It’s frustrating and embarrassing and makes you feel like a terrible parent but sometimes a kid has to let it out. You know your child and know when it’s time to step in and when it’s time to let it go.
Disciplining your child. This is such a touchy subject. Time outs work for some kids, not so much for others. Disciplining your child is not abusing them. A child needs boundaries and those boundaries have to be enforced. If another parent, or grandparent, or complete stranger is telling you that how you handle your discipline is wrong, especially in front of the child, tell them to fuck off, politely but firmly . This is your child and you are the parent. If they really have a concern they will pull you aside and talk to you about it, not berate you or try to enforce their ideas on you. If you are abusing your child, then you deserve to be told to fuck off and abused yourself. (I am not promoting violence. Kids should be protected and if you are not protecting your child than you are not deserving to be called a parent.) Giving a child a swat on the butt because they have run out in the parking lot and almost got hit by a car is appropriate. Explaining to the child why they were punished is also necessary or the punishment makes no sense and is just a waste of time. Smacking your child in the face because they told you no is not appropriate. Finding the balance and the appropriate punishment is what is important. I also don’t agree with parents who never discipline their kids. You are not raising an amazing child with no limits, you are creating an entitled brat who will experience a lot of hardship because you chose to not teach them about rules and boundaries.
So, yes, I have opinions and even though I have 7 kids I am not an expert. Nobody is. It’s all trial and error. So, don’t judge too harshly the mom who is trying something, anything, different to parent. I may have my opinion but unless you are asking me for advice, I will try to keep it to myself. I may be judgey but I will do it silently. In my head. Like a normal person. And I will be giving you air high fives.