Parenting. There's a manual for that, right? Before the sperm even meets the egg, you'll find that everyone has an opinion. Opinions from the What to Expect camp, The Bradley Method, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Dr. Ferber, Attachment Parenting, Tiger Moms, FreeRange Kids, Breastfeeding, Formula Feeding, Suzuki, DaVinci, Montessori, sports, the spirited child and on and on and on...
You know what I have come to realize? I'm a lot of those parents. Before I had children, of course, I was an expert in raising in them. Then, when I finally had my son, I realized that I'm not an expert. I wanted the all-drug birth with my first child. (save your comments people, it's a joke. Kind of.) Fast-forward to my hypno-birthing CD for baby number three.
I've breastfed and I've formula fed and I double dog dare you to be correct when you tell me which child is which. Let's stop beating each other up over this one. Love doesn't come in the boob or the bottle. It's like going to church on Sunday and being a son-of-a-b*tch every other day. It just doesn't add up. So be cool and share the love not the hate.
I was all about the convenient foods at first. We were always knee-deep in goldfish, chicken fingers, french fries and candy. We drank chocolate milk like it was water. Now, my kids know how to identify high fructose corn syrup on a label and know that they shouldn't eat it. Hydrogenated oils are a no-no, too. Who wants an apple for a snack? Everyone here. We've evolved to what I call the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the food we put in our body should be whole, non-processed foods. However, 20 percent of the time we might find ourselves at a birthday party or vacation or special celebration and we want to have something that's not directly from the garden. That's OK, too. You won't see me snicker at the mom with McDonald's or feel high and mighty with the raw vegan mom either. I'm happy to share what I do, of course, but you have to ask; I don't give unsolicited advice to parents on the playground.
You know why I don't compare my parenting to anyone else's? You can't compare unlike things. All children and all families are different and have different needs. One of the biggest reasons is because I have changed my parenting style over time. When I know better, I do better. Thank you, Oprah and Maya, for that quote. I don't need to tell people where they are or where they should go. If it works for you, that is all that counts.
The biggest thing I've learned that guides my parenting style is the less stress we can have in this family is the way we go. We let things go, we meditate, we practice kindness and gratitude. People who are less stressed live longer. I love this family and I want to be around them a long time.
Here's the REAL secret to great parenting: Kids don't care what you do, as long as you do it with love and do it with them.