Recently, I have felt attacked for the things I am passionate about – specifically the natural parenting methods I have chosen as the template for my responsibilities as a mother. This is such a tough subject for me, but I’m constantly learning something new everyday and I’m shaping who I want to be as a mom and the kind of life I desire for the children that God blessed me with. My choices are mine and they shouldn’t be confused with judgement of how others choose to live. I am a strong believer in the fact that everyone must take their own path, but sometimes my eagerness to share information – especially something I just discovered – can make me seem like I think I know it all and no one can tell me otherwise and you’re worthless if you don’t agree with me. That is so far from the truth. In fact, it is my openness and willingness to learn that has lead me to the natural parenting path I’ve chosen to take.
Here’s the thing, though. Some people think I’m too passionate and I’m harming my children by feeding them naturally, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and practicing child-lead weaning. On the other hand, I’m sure there’s a lot of mamas out there who would look down on me for how un-crunchy I actually am.
A great man (aka dad) once told me, “You know the answer to everything as long as you know where to find it.” Of course, at the time he was referring to the giant collection of encyclopedia volumes that covered our entire living room wall, but now I take that to mean two places – the Bible and the Internet. A combination of the two certainly doesn’t hurt. So, for the past week, I’ve been scouring verses and articles to help me understand how I can reconcile my values (which are suitable for me, but not all-knowing and right for everyone else who may choose different values that are right for them) with the social environment that we must fit in to. See, we’re not surrounded by peaceful parenting playgroups and I don’t have any family or close friends who also hold the same natural beliefs, so while I feel this lifestyle is right for us and it’s definitely how I want my children to be raised, I need to make that fit into the life around us.
I’m afraid this is going to be a rather lengthy path and I don’t know the answer yet, but I do have an idea of where I can start. Reading through some like-minded mama blogs, I discovered the Hybrid Rasta Mama and her post, Natural Parenting Does Not Equal Perfect Parenting. This post is a good reminder to me to admit where I’ve gone wrong. I can research the heck out of anything. Anyone that knows me even just a little can tell you that. And because of that research, I am passionate about my beliefs. But, I am also human. I make mistakes. And I haven’t always had the same beliefs I hold now nor do I currently have the same beliefs I’ll develop over the coming years. I grow and learn as my children do. So, do I think I’m a perfect mom – heck no! Do I strive every day to become the best mom I can be, given the information that I have and my own personal experiences, for the season that my family is currently in? Absolutely.
So, here we go – my list of mistakes, imperfections, and missteps according to me.
- Even though I believe in eating naturally, we have been known to go through the fast-food drive-through quite often. In fact, Ronnie has coined the term, “Chick-Donald’s” and frequently asks to go get a snack when we’re out running errands. We also give in and let Ronnie have rule-breaking treats a lot. A red cupcake at Grandma’s house, a trip to get ice cream, pancakes at IHOP. The important thing is that these are special occasions and not regular events.
- I almost always have 2-3 loads of clean laundry waiting to be folded. I wash at least a load each day, but I can’t ever seem to get it all folded. I guess it just isn’t a priority to me and I don’t think it ever will be. It will get folded eventually.
- When my cloth diapers went to mildew town on me, I gave up on them and just stuck to chlorine-free disposables instead.
- I have been known to loose my temper and pop Ronnie on the bum out of desperation. And I yell. That’s so far from peaceful parenting and my belief that spanking is harmful, I’m even embarrassed to write that sentence. But, I’m not perfect and its something I work on and pray about regularly.
- I gave up on composting years ago. I have the notion floating around in my head that one day I’ll do it again, but I seriously doubt it.
- I slacked up and didn’t follow the co-sleeping rules and Wade fell out of the bed twice. Both times occurred during a nap right when he was beginning to roll and I stepped out of the room to do dishes. I regret that mistake deeply. For a long time, I wouldn’t leave the room while he was sleeping out of fear that he’d fall again, even with bumpers on. I recently removed the bed frame and put the mattress on the floor, which is much safer and I’m at peace if I need to take care of something else while he’s sleeping.
- I may have inadvertently taught Ronnie how to say, “Gawd-Dangit!”
- I have gone to bed with dishes in the sink on more than one occasion.
- I buy my husband junk food because that’s what he likes and he’s not in the same place as me when it comes to natural eating. And I have to admit that sometimes it’s too tempting and I snag a snack or two after the kids go to bed.
- I gave up on breastfeeding Ronnie too soon and I let him cry-it-out as a baby. I deeply regret this more than most anything about my parenting history thus far.
- I have been known to bribe Ronnie with a lollipop or two.
- My husband and I argue in front of our children way more than we should.
- I let my kids watch TV. Gasp! Even Spongebob Squarepants. It doesn’t help that you can now get practically any cartoon you want on your smart phone. But, its a few minutes of peace and quiet, right?
- I wish I could get my family to eat things like kale and quinoa with me, but most of our meals are pretty basic stuff that most people eat – just natural/organic versions of it.
- Ever since evaluating our consumption mid-year 2011, I shop at Wal-mart all the time, despite my ethical issues with it.
Well, this certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, and it only includes things that I think are imperfections. My critics could have a list a mile long about me. This is just the first step in my quest for an answer. I hope to find peace with the situation soon!0