Thursday, September 19, 2013

Moms, the Best Thing You Can Do Is Do the Best You Can

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braggy moms - judgmental moms

You know what? There's no one perfect way to parent. The braggy moms of the world would have you think differently - their way must be the right way because look at how perfect little John and Jane are! Frankly, it's why I stay away from some blogs and most parenting books. In finance and in parenting, I typically don't trust anyone who's overly confident in their methods. My methods are right for my family, but probably not yours. So give me mommy support - I mean offer advice and commiseration and cheers when I need them - or GTFO.

Harsh? Yes, but consider:

Formula is not poison. Sorry, but really it's not unless it's that formula from China that specifically does contain poison. It doesn't have all the bennies of breast milk but I'd say the fact that it has prevented deaths like those that happened once upon a time when babies who wouldn't nurse were given things like bread soaked in cow's milk fed through a dirty pap boat.

So what if your baby isn't sleeping through the night when everyone else's is? They'll get there. 

Commercial babyfood is not going to turn your baby into an obese diabetic. Conventionally grown food is not going to scar your children for life. Go ahead, order a pizza when the world feels like it's against you and what you have is anything but time. Some four-year-olds balk at anything that's not a chicken finger. Skipping a meal won't hurt them.

Or conversely, just chill out and let them have a few chicken fingers. In public, even.

You will also not scar your children for life if you work because you have to. Or because you want to. Being home with mom can be awesome. Daycare can be awesome. And being at home with mom can be awful, just like there are some totally crap childcare situations out there. It's okay to feel like your kids are being total jerks some days because little kids are essentially miniature dictators without mouth filters. 

It's cool if you want to wear your baby 24/7 or if you'd like to put them down in a crib in a totally different room sometimes because how are they even still awake, anyway? You can own every flashcard in existence and actually use them or just go on long walks every day and never really do any toddler academics and in either case school will eventually come and your kid will do well or struggle but there's no way to know.

TV? Watch some. Or don't. No big thing.

Public school... private school... homeschooling... unschooling... just school them. Be firm, be lenient... just give them some boundaries, even if almost anything goes outside of forks in the outlets.

Point is, your kids will be okay provided you love them and do your best. And they will be okay largely not because of your choices, but in spite of them. If you feel like you're screwing up 10 times a day, then say you're sorry and vow to do better 11 times. Go easy on yourself and on them. Be good to them and they may even get straight As, go to college, and call you once a week even after they are married, regardless of your parenting style.

People are way too quick to call someone a bad parent these days. How sad is that?

Is there a perfect way to care for babies and raise kids? NO. Breast milk trumps formula because the human body made it for a human baby, but formula is a great alternative. Holding your baby is certainly better than giving him or her the cold shoulder a la the advice some mothers got in the early part of the 20th Century, but if you're not a huggy family that's cool. Okay, talking to your kids is definitely always better than beating the ever living snot out of them.

But aside from the beatings, I'd say there is A LOT of wiggle room.


  1. YES.

    I was super annoyed by a mom who wanted to mentor me in Babywise. Her kids are fab, worked for them, but not my style. I still have the Childwise book because she refuses to take it back hoping I'll convert.


    1. I'd like to know where these people find the time to read all these books...

  2. You said it all. Each mom has her own truth, does what works for her family, and we should parent in solidarity.


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