It’s time for another round of Build ‘Em Up and today we’re talking about being confident about the choices we make as parents. Link up with Kelly, Erin, Courtney and myself to share how you stand confident in the choices you make as a parent.
Pinterest, Mexican Barbie, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, rear or front facing, just a few of the many topics I’ve seen argued over the past few months. It starts with (what should be) simple parenting choices and finds a way to spill over into every other facet of our lives. Is Matel making Barbie politically correct these days? Did some mean-spirited, over-achieving mother create a website designed to make other mothers feel inadequate?
And on and on it snowballs out of control. So out of control that it sometimes feels like we need to take a side on every single thing that comes along.
I can’t help but think we might be raising a generation of defensive children, rather than a generation of confident children. A generation who will come at every choice with an argument as to why they are right and you are wrong.
Because that’s what we’re showing them.
How do we change that? How can we break the cycle of defense and debate that surrounds our choices as parents?
I think we can do this only by showing confidence in our decisions. Social media plays such a huge role in our lives. With one swipe of my phone, I can scroll through a news feed that includes parents from every part of the country and from many different socioeconomic backgrounds. Technology puts the choices of thousands of other parents at my fingertips. It’s easy to get caught up in feeling guilty or judgmental. In these times, I always try to keep in mind that we’re all incredibly different.
But, most of us have one thing in common; we’re making the best choice for our children, we’re doing what we have come to know our children need or want.
If that is the case, if we’re making the choice that is truly the best for choice for our children, in our own situation, there is no room for debate.
It’s important to own the decisions we make as parents. I remember when I switched BK from front to rear facing a month or two shy of her second birthday, I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone. I knew there would be backlash and snide blog comments. I didn’t switch her simply because I thought it was more aesthetically pleasing for the car seat to be facing forward. I switched her because for the week prior, she would scream and cry every single time we went anywhere in the car. She would crane her little neck to try to see what was going on behind her. In this situation, I truly knew it was best for her to be front-facing, it was best for anyone in the car, too.
And when someone would ask, instead of telling them when I switched her, I would tell them that whole story first.
I would defend my parenting choice. A choice that didn’t need defending.
I have a three-year-old now, and I know that she picks up on every little thing we do and say. That her mood is affected by our moods, that her feelings feed off of our feelings. This defensive attitude is not something I want to pass down. I want her to see that we make choices based on what is best for us, not because we worry about what others might think. I want her to know that there is a time and place to stand up for what she believes in, to be confident in her choices, but there isn’t a time to make others feel bad or less because it’s different than our way.
Today, I want to encourage you (as I’m encouraging myself, too) to confidently stand behind the choices you make as a mother, to refuse to believe that all choices equal debates.