What it means to be a parent, and how we do it.

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Been thinking about writing on a certain topic for months – since biscuit-on-a-plate lady, actually. But for now, I’m going to copy a post from my other blog (written last Thursday)  here:

The only other babywearing mama in my town (aside from my wife, of course!) came over today with her lovely baby girl. She brought along some slings for me to try – an Ocah, a Girasol shortie, and a DELICIOUS petrol fishie from Didymos. Unfortunately I was a bit sore so didn’t do too much babywearing at all, though did have Coconut up on my back  while I toted her into the kitchen and then nursery.

Let’s just say I hope said mama gets sick of the fishie because I lust for it. (Yes, Sarah, I am talking to you. Are you reading? Ha.)

I really do like being around other mamas who are into slinging their babies – and everything that may or may not come with it.

We’re talking cosleeping, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, natural parenting, attachment parenting, etc etc.  I certainly don’t tick all those boxes, but I tick some of them.

What about you? I’m curious about all the people who find their way to this blog. What’s your opinion on amber teething necklaces? On how to wean your baby? What sort of diapers/nappies do you use?

What boxes do YOU tick?

I ask because people always surprise me. Someone I went to school with responded to my facebook status today, in which I mentioned that we were inadvertently becoming cosleepers (albeit not all in the same bed – we don’t fit) as the babies were going through a weird waking in the night sort of thing. She came out of the cosleeping closet and said she’d been doing it three years!

So many of our choices as parents feel right to us, yet can be frowned upon by other people. I wonder why that is. For me, my priorities aren’t to have my babies walking or talking before anyone else. I’m not really into the whole competition scene that so many people get dragged into – though I won’t lie. I sometimes wonder, ‘Why aren’t they sitting yet? When will they get teeth? Oh my god, is Coconut saying “mama” on purpose?!?!’

I care more about raising my twins to be imaginative, secure, and emotionally intelligent kids. I care more about nurturing their self-esteem than my own – which is why I love them exactly as they are, whether they walk at ten, twelve, or fifteen months. I don’t need to show off their mad rolling skillz, because honestly? Who cares??

Other mothers don’t want to hear me talk about how I am clearly raising two super geniuses, and does it do anyone any good? I want Snort & Coconut to always, always feel loved – at their very cores, not just because of things they accomplish.

So tell me. What are your priorities? What sort of parent are you? What choices are you making for yourself, your children, your family?


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6 Responses to “What it means to be a parent, and how we do it.”

  1. PottyMouthMommy Says:

    my husband jokes that I’m going to turn our future baby into a “granola eating tree hugging hippy baby”. He says it full of love- he’s just kind of lost in all the STUFF

  2. PottyMouthMommy Says:

    and that was weird… i accidentally submitted before I was done… but whatever! I have to read more on the whole baby-led weaning; it’s the one thing I felt I could hold-off on researching for now because it’s a ways off yet, but I’ll be checking off cloth nappies, babywearing, natural teething remedies, breastfeeding (hopefully without supply issues due to reduction surgery- could be interesting!!) and sticking to predominantly organic & all-natural products. Preferably those made in my home country. um yeah… I’m a co-sleeper until bf’ing is established mama too… heh as I was saying before- my poor husband is just lost… so I’m making most of the decisions.

  3. saralema Says:

    Oh man, I read this at your other blog, but only responded in my head because I tend to get wordy.

    Let’s see, as a parent, I

    -gave birth naturally and (I hope this doesn’t seem braggy) I am proud of myself for that.

    -breastfeed. The first three weeks were the hardest thing I have ever done. I know they say it shouldn’t hurt, and now that we’re pros, it doesn’t. But the beginning, good gerdy, latching was more painful than anything I had ever experienced.

    -cloth diaper and practice part time EC (elimination communication). I love them. It is so much easier than people think. Plus, I’ll be able to reuse them if there is a round 2! Now for EC, I am hoping to go a bit more full time with the warmer weather.

    -delay and spread out vaccinations and refuse some. I whole heartedly believe that vaccines are good, but I am uncomfortable with how many are given at one time to such little systems. We waited until 6 months to start, and only do one at time with a month between each vaccination. There are some that we will not be giving because we are not high risk (finishing Hep B- wish I would have refused in hospital) or the illness is more of an inconvenience than threat in most cases (like rotovirus and chicken pox).

    -do a knock off version of BLW

    – occasionally use an amber necklace, although I am not sure if it works. The first few times she wore it was during bad eczema flairs around her chin and neck. The irrational side of me thought the amber made it worse when in reality it was probably the dairy or egg in my diet.

    -like the idea of attachment parenting, but do many things that aren’t considered very AP. I let MP CIO, especially when I know she is overtired. I have learned that she is the type that needs to voice her frustration when she’s ticked. If I go in, it only makes it worse for both her (and me) and lengthens the time of upset.

    -wear my baby when she needs or wants it, but encourages a comfort in alone time (if that makes sense).

    -refuse to look at developmental charts more than in passing. They can drive you mad. I trust my doctor to bring up if she is behind and address any concerns I may bring up regarding them. However, knowing when babies are ‘supposed’ to roll, crawl, etc. can lead to useless worry. That’s why when my sister would ask “what age…” I can honestly say “I don’t know.”

    There are likely more, but this is already thesis length, so I’ll stop. Thanks for a great post that got me thinking (2x)!

  4. Marcy Says:

    I think I end up coming in as some weird mix, which can make it a bit hard to find moms who are on the same page as I am.

    -I gave birth without pain meds, in a birthing center. It hurt like hell, and was somewhat traumatic, but I also know without a doubt that it was the best possible birth experience I could have had. I’m hoping for a home water birth with my next one, and am even actually looking forward to it, if that sounds crazy enough, lol (even though I’m not pregnant yet… or, well, might be,… just started TTC)

    -I breastfed. It was really hard at the beginning. Hurt a lot, so much stress. But we made it through, for a good 14-15 months. I didn’t always love it, but I am very glad that we did it.

    -We lived on slings for the first few months. After that got out of the habit a bit, partially b/c he started not liking it as much. Definitely a supported of babywearing.

    -We did CIO at ~5 months. I try to do everything in his best interests, but a few times I have had to step up and say “I need to do this for ME” and his sleep was driving me insane. Well, not even his sleep, but the long LONG process of GETTING him there. IT was still a while before he STTN but CIO taught him how to go to sleep easily, peacefully, by himself, and people may call me cruel for doing it but I swear it made life a hell of a lot better for BOTH of us.

    -I tried co-sleeping. I really did. He slept in a bassinet by our bed for the first few months, then moved to his own room. I just could never sleep well with him in bed., I worried about waking him, didn’t have enough space for myself, was awoken by his breathing, etc. I think co-sleeping is great for those who like it– it just wasn’t for us at all.

    – I have never heard of amber necklaces. Sounds like an interesting thing?

    -I am very anti-spanking. Both because I don’t think it’s an efficient tool, and also, honestly, I don’t trust myself to control how hard I might hit when I’m angry (and if I were to need to resort to spanking, it’d be b/c he did something that made me angry). So I’d rather just draw that line and not.go.there.

    Overall, I try to use a montessori-based approach to parenting. I try to follow his lead, find what works best for him. Sometimes I do have to step in and be selfish, if I feel I am giving too much of myself on something (and it interferes with my ability to mother him or take care of myself). But I try to be there for him, give him what he needs, be gentle but firm in discipline, and respect his identity and his person. Establish a strong grounding in trust and love, and then give him the freedom and independence to explore and discover, without always needing me there to help him do so. If that makes sense.

    (You’ll notice how interacting with lots of AP-style moms on twitter has made me slightly apologetic about certain choices we have made. I feel strongly that they are the choices that have been right for us, and for most things I keep an open mind and whatever works for a family is what’s best for them. It is interesting even to me as I write out this comment, how pre-emptively defensive I can be about certain choices we make that can be looked down upon by “AP”)

  5. The Barreness Says:

    I’m a mix too I think – science background which means I’m pretty skeptical, but had acupuncture during my IVF treatment, and I do think it helped.

    Gave birth naturally, but was in a hospital and an OB did the catching – love the thought of a home birth, but would never take the risk for myself. (Laboured at home until 9cm though, and felt I had the birth experience I wanted).

    Babywear in the sling I made for short trips, but use a 3-wheeler pram for my long walks.

    Breastfed, but used nipple shields against all professional advice in the early days.

    Lady G sleeps in the room with us (using a pacifier to reduce SIDS risk), but in her own bassinette.

    We cloth nappy our bub partly for cost and also for the enviro benefits, but I’m sure I spend what I save on lovely merino wool and organic clothing.

    Vaccinations all the way.

    I’m a control freak from a corporate job, but I’ve worked hard to step back let her feed and sleep on demand, rather than put her into a schedule and she seems to be thriving.

    Planning to start baby-led weaning in the next month or so (which is why your blog is such a good resource!) – and have noticed this is a hot-button for a lot of other parents – it’s something they can be very against, and I think I’ll be quiet about it until I can become confident it’s going to work for us.

    At the same time we’re starting baby sign language, which is meant to be great at reducing frustration, and assisting in verbal language development.

    Terribly skeptical about alternative treatments like amber necklaces, but have heard a few people rave about them, and might be willing to give it a go.

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