1.28.2006

Parenting Confessions: A very long I Don't Give a Damn What You Say anymore

A recent conversation with some of my favorite local mamas got me thinking more about my own insecurities when it comes to my parenting "style." I usually think I don't have a style, per say, but my husband and I do make decisions and handle things a certain way. And that way is not always what we think is the most socially acceptable way. So what do we do? We tend to shrink away from the decisions we have made when we're in public, or with strangers. We make excuses. We hide things.

What are we hiding? Have we ever beat our son? Hell no. Do we starve him? No chance of that. Do we make him do weird rituals dating back to Incan society? Um, no. I've talked with more than one mama who has confessed to wanting to use the toddler leash, but the only thing stopping them are the barrage of comments they know they will get from other people. I've talked with mamas who aren't as open about the fact that they decided not to breastfeed their babies by choice, and also mamas who aren't as open about the fact that they are still breastfeeding their kids at age three. I've talked with mamas who I believe are perfect mamas--the ones who love their children and just do the best they can to survive and thrive and live happy lives--who hide little things like the fact that they once let their kids eat a Cheerio that fell on the floor for a few seconds (oh please).

Why are we so afraid to let others know about the choices we make in raising our child? It's peer pressure all over again. I think it stinks. And I, for one, am done making excuses for my perfectly acceptable, sane, loving parental desicions.

So here are my personal mama parenting confessions all at once, and judge as you like, but don't expect me to sit back quietly and take your "advice" for what you think is best. I'm the mama. Boo is MY son. I love him more than you do and that's all that matters and I shall hide my parenting style no longer in shame.

Parenting Confession #1: Boo still uses a pacifier.
Not all the time, but when he's in the car he HAS to have his "ba ba." Sometimes if we're out in public and he's cranky (usually my fault because I made him go run an errand with me when he's really tired or just doesn't want to--you know those times), I'll give him his ba ba. When he goes to sleep, he has his ba ba. My pediatrician keeps telling me to stop worrying about what other people think, that it doesn't hurt him more than sippy cups do right now, and he'll give it up on his own time. Yet, I feel the need to hide his ba ba. A retail clerk once told him "Time to lose the bink, kiddo" when she found out he was (then) 16 months. I wanted to tell her that he'd lose the bink whenever she lost that extra 70 pounds she was carrying and got a decent haircut.
Parenting confession #2: We let Boo eat junk food.
He has organic cookies, Goldfish, and those damn Gerber fruit chew things.
Parenting confession #3: We let Boo eat in the car.
That's right. He snacks away in his carseat. There are Goldfish all over the place and milk stains splattered throughout like a beautiful Jackson Pollock.
Parenting confession #4: We use disposable diapers.
That's right eco-friendly mamas. I'm contributing to landfills. You're wasting tons of water. If you use a diaper cleaning service you're also contributing to more air pollution. It's all even steven.
Parenting confession #5: We don't always sterilize his binky.
OK, we never do. We don't even always wash it with soap and water when it falls to the floor. The kid eats dirt for god's sake.
Parenting confession #6: We watch tv, and we let him watch morning tv sometimes and sometimes he watches DVDs. And yes, we're going to buy a DVD player for our long road trips and plane trips this summer and we're going to use them to keep everyone sane.
Parenting confession #7: My kid doesn't eat a lot of veggies.
He loves fruit. And carbs. And protein. Not veggies. And I've stopped battling it out to get him to eat veggies. We sneak them in where and when we can and don't stress about it.

I know there are more but that's all I have time for right now. I'm proud of the way I parent my son. I don't care if he doesn't sit the right way in his chair when we're in public. I don't care if he eats his lunch while playing at his train table. As long as he's not hurting anyone or himself, I'm happy. All I care about is that he is healthy, happy, and that I help him lovingly develop as a kind, safe, smiling human being. He always says his please and thank you's, and gives hugs and kisses freely--to me that's a sign that we're doing something right.

What are your parenting confessions?

16 comments:

Cityslicker Mom said...

Ha. I love this post. Thanks for keepin it real! By the way, I use the "leash", well, not everyday but I have used it in the past and I'm using it tomorrow at the car show, and I dont care what other people think. At least I wont lose my son!!

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chichimama said...

Great post! Your list is pretty tame.

My kids watch a lot more TV than I generally admit. Only at specific times though, as if that makes it better. And more so in the winter than in the summer...see, there are the mommy excuses already!

I let my kids eat in the car too.

We never, ever eat dinner as a family.

I've been known to bribe my son to nap.

Oh, and goldfish aren't considered junk food in our house...it's a snack staple.

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Mama Muse said...

Oh yeah. All that happens at my house, too. Some weeks most of the food my kids eat is junk food off the floor of the car while I am driving (they are buckled up, of course, I am the one who scoops up the granola bar, brushes off the dog hair and prentends like it is new). Just kidding, kind of.

We all have our own totally normal un-perfect parentnesses. It sounds like you are doing a great job.

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StampinMamma said...

Wow! That was so great and true! It sounds so familiar. Our daughter is 14 months and we can check off everything you just listed. I have thought about using the leash too but just can't bring myself too!

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Karen said...

I read this blog to my husband, and we were both snickering. Our boy is three, and so much of what you said is familiar. My car looks like a bomb went off in the back seat!

And he watches some dvds. His current favorite is Jack the Cuddly Dog. (http://www.jackthecuddlydog.com)And I refuse to feel guilty, even when he asks for it three times in a row! Hey--it's got classical music and footage of flowers and babies. What more could I ask for!

Thanks for putting it all out there!

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deputyswife said...

With my first one, I did everything by the book. I thought I was a textbook mommy. Pathetic, I know.

I probably let my kids do a lot of things they shouldn't. Not crazy dare devil things. Maybe like Cheetos for a morning snack. Not all the time, but ya know, you got to give a little too.

A good friend (and an experienced mother) gave me some great advice once. Don't sweat the small stuff, pick your battles, AND bedtime is 8 pm. No exceptions.

I have pretty much stuck to these rules and it has worked well so far.

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Kristen said...

I love that post as well. I think we base way too much about what we think other people think of us... Everyone used to tell me she had to sleep in her bed for naps - and I spent days crying when she wouldn't - I finally realized -- why am I paining myself - and I let her sleep in her bouncy seat with the vibrate ON. and wow, I felt a lot better...

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Kris said...

HIYA...found your blog today and I am so going to link to this post...my parenting confessions will be up as soon as I have a chance to unchain my kiddos from the basement wall (oops did I say that outloud? *wink*)

K.

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Bridgermama said...

Thanks for this post! I have recently hit a wall when it comes to parenting based on what fad theories or society deems acceptable. I had my face in a book and listened to whatever everyone told me for B's firt 6 weeks and found myself confused and frustrated. Because of this, I must admit that I have completely developed my own slacker style. My baby is fat, happy, and darn easy-going so we must be doing something right. Oh and my parenting confession is that I let B taste icing off of my cupcakes, which I eat way too often. ;)

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Blog This! said...

I had to laugh really hard about the binky confession. My son had his until he was 2 years old. And I only took it away when I did because he was biting through them at a rate of three or four a day and it was getting too expensive and dangerous. I had a "friend" who used to ask me all the time if my son had given it up yet, in this condesending way. I used to think, he'll likely give it up far sooner than when your son stops sucking his thumb! I blogged about the pacifier in my blog awhile back - check it out.

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Awesome Mom said...

Gosh where do I start? My 2 year old is a Baby Einstine addict and it is the only thing that keeps him quiet on long car trips. I say good for you for getting a small DVD player for your car trips, it will be the best money you will ever spend.

We also use disposables. They hold a heck of a lot more liquid than a cloth so I am doing a lot less laundry.

I did not try as hard as I could have to breastfeed my two month old and I am not one bit sad about it. Things worked out such that this way is the best for everyone.

My two year old likes to eat fuzz from the carpet and I am not always able to catch him at it before he swallows some.

I put my two year old down for a nap even on the days that he is not tired because Mommy needs some quiet time.

There are more but nothing is coming to mind just now.

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Life with Diapers... said...

Love the post :)
I have a 13 month old.
I am guilty of the binkies, alltough I take his bink out when I drop him off at daycare and leave it in his crib for naps, hopefully it stays there during the day.

I only just started really cleaning his binkies regularly. I have one of those dishwasher rack style baskets and I just toss the old one in and replenish from the clean ones in a container on the counter.

On the weekends, for some reason its harder to put him down for afternoon naps rather than the morning ones. So I make him a nice warm bottle of milk and put him down with it.

I spike his milk to get him to drink it. He likes strawberry quick in it. Hey it says on the container that it provides calcium, right?

I will be purchasing a leash here shortly.

:)

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Zephra said...

Good for you!!!! It took me a while to get to the point you are just reaching. Most of the things you do, I do.

I love the confession from Life with diapers about spiking the bottle. I do this with Zak's cups all the time.

I do a lot of things way different than others but that comes from 11 years and 4 kids experience. Whatever works for you is the best way to go.

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tales north said...

HAHAHA I love your post - it makes me feel like my hubby and I are finally not the only ones with different parenting styles. I am the proud owner of a leash for my 2 year old and will be purchasing another for my 1 year old. When I get the disapproving look from the "know-it-all" about parenting, doesn't have her own kids to worry about I just say "I never had puppies growing up" that usually shuts them up! As for the inside of my car - it looks like a box of cheerios and a jug of milk blew up in the back seat. My 2 year old is potty training - I sit on the big potty next to her and pee with her. Does it make me a bad parent? no, they seem happy and healthy.

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Hau said...

Phew! You are *normal*...for a while there, you had me worried. I pinned you as one of those perfect mamas ;-)

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Nicole said...

My son is 19 months and uses his pacifier (or should I say 2 pacifiers) in his bed for sleeping. Plus, we do everything you do. Our TV is on way too much. My kids come into the family room and walk directly to the TV and turn it on. Then, they start to play. As for our car, it is a snack haven. My kids expect a snack when they get in the car. And, by the way, they expect a DVD. The best money we ever spent was on a portable DVD player and I'll never apologize for that.

As for the leash, before kids, I was one of those people thinking terrible things about parents with kids on a leash. Now, with a toddler and a preschooler, I GET IT. I only wish I could actually get it. Haven't worked past that yet.

As for breastfeeding, I felt pressured into it by the in-laws. I didn't enjoy it and have great respect for the women who don't bow to the pressure. I encourage them every chance I get!

Thanks for the great post (and the great follow-up comments)

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