I’m coming off a heated discussion last night where it was made clear to me, for the first time, that my parenting choices are offensive, wrong and misunderstood by this person. (Maybe I’ll write about that later, I’m not sure yet.)
Anyway, it was super upsetting to me. Like, wow, you completely don’t understand me and if you’d asked any number of questions, maybe you would. BUT you didn’t.
I’m getting really tired of hearing about my fucking choices.
It’s like, this conversation wasn’t even about that. I didn’t bring it up, but when that person got mad, that’s what she brought up and used to belittle me and pass judgment.
Parenting is FREAKING hard. Everything is sooo polarized. I’m right. You’re right. He’s wrong. It’s all shit. I mean I’m sure there’s some stuff we can all agree is wrong, but there are seriously so many ways to parent. Every kid, parent, family and situation is different.
I feel like I’ve really understood how intense this all is over the past 2 years from being pregnant to having my kid. There are sooo many things to think about, decide on and then change your mind as you go along.
I’ve tried to read a ton of books because that helps me understand information and think critically about stuff. I know not every parent does that and I don’t really care.
I just am tired of it being polarizing. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I’ve been a part of the problem. I’ve posted polarizing stuff not even thinking or realizing how some else might view that. I think we’ve all done that by accident – and we all need a little grace with that – BUT I want to do better and I’d like to be a part of the solution.
So I was thinking – why did I post stuff like that? Well, it’s important to me, it resonates with me and I want validation. I want to feel like someone else out there gets my parenting choice. It’s hard to make these choices – I want the best for my kid. So I debate and question and read and think some more until I finally have to choose. Some things are super easy and just feel right. Other stuff, is harder. I want to feel understood and it’s nice to find people who’ve made similar choices.
BUT – I also would love to get to a place where I don’t need that validation; where I feel pretty darn confident about my decisions. I’m clearly not there yet and maybe I’ll get there or maybe this is life and taking care of another life is so important to me that I may always question certain decisions.
I think part of the reason I feel defensive sometimes is because I’ve felt like a lot of my choices and decisions have been under attack since I became pregnant the first time. That’s been a huge blow and really hurtful to me.
From multiple people questioning our home birth, to breastfeeding, cosleeping, to quitting my job, moving in with my mom, breastfeeding while pregnant… I’m telling you, leave me ALONE.
I don’t mind talking about stuff, but GEEZ LOUISE! I just want to make choices and not have to defend them all the time. AND just because I question them and wonder, doesn’t mean I need you to convince why I’m wrong or right. If I ask your opinion, then by all means, please share. But if I don’t, then you should think about what sharing your opinion may do. I get being concerned and if you really are, I think there’s a good way to go about that. Find a way that shows me you really care, you want to share this information and you trust me to make the best decision. I would really appreciate that!
Sometimes, it’s like, I don’t want to talk about anything. Please, don’t talk to me about parenting or pregnancy or anything. It makes me want to delete social media, only talk about movies and pop culture – is that even safe?
I’m actually not joking.
You might be thinking – well, why do you bring it up?
Sometimes, in the past, I was the one to bring up my choices. And believe me, novice parent, I’ve learned that lesson. I actually try to stay as far away from conversations involving any of those things because I’ve realized it can be bad.
However, now, it’s usually people asking things. I don’t want to lie or sound rude by saying, “I’d rather not discuss that.” But what options do I have?
How do I politely say that’s off-limits? And if I say that, someone might think I have something hide or that I’m unsure.
I also think, I just wish people would assume the best: assume that I’ve done some research, I’ve thought about it, talked with my husband about it and looked at other options. I can also understand when one of my choices is in disagreement with a strongly held belief of someone else. That’s life – it happens and I can respectfully understand and probably even listen, but I can’t if I’m feeling judged or attacked. That’s hard for me.
I have really made a vow to assume the best about other people as well. I am going to assume that they’ve thought about x, y and z and I’m going to move on because it’s not my kid or my life. (Also, this can be hard for me because I just love all the babies and I still do believe there are some weird American culture things that are not best for babies. I just can’t let that go… BUT I can make sure I don’t let it affect how I treat people because I know it’s not my job to educate or change anyone.)
One of my best friends has two kiddos and we do things differently with our lives and our kids. We also do a lot of things alike. I LOVE talking to her because she listens, shares insight and asks follow up questions, but she’s always kind. We never have to debate or argue, our conversations about parenting are natural and I love that even though some of our choices are really different – it’s not an issue.
I wish I had more relationships like that… and I feel like I’m developing them.
I’ve been thinking about parenting and polarization for a while now and I’ve really made a concerted effort to not bring things up and to just take off my parenting hat and be a person. When I do that, people usually respond and when topics come up that are controversial, I just deflect or stay quiet. It’s working.
That’s not to say people can’t share things they learn or things they are passionate about. I don’t want that. I just think there’s a way to do it.
I don’t need anyone to be on my “parenting” team. My husband is and that’s awesome. I just want to live my life, have friends and family who love and care about me and don’t judge me.
We all judge – I get it, but I’m not going say anything to you or force my ideas and I certainly don’t want that stuff done to me.
Parenting is hard and I really do believe every parent (that I know) is trying their hardest and making the decisions they feel is best for their families.