March 17, 2007

Something Useful?

I am sitting at the breakfast bar eating lunch while my children nap. The floor is sprinkled with peanuts, raisins, and cheerios (my new favorite snack for Emily) that spilled on our way upstairs and I am too hungry to clean them up just this minute. Soon. I tried thinking of something "useful" to share from this week. The only thing that I learned that was really useful this week was more philosophical. This week I realized that I have been making too many of my parenting standards and decisions based on what other parents around me are doing. There are A LOT of opinionated parents. You know, the ones who come up at the store to say hi to your adorable baby, and just wanted to let you know it was windy, so make sure your little one is protected so she does not swallow air. Or isn't breastfeeding the most wonderful gift to give your baby? (The mother who shared this one was standing there smoking while her baby sat in the shopping cart. . .?!?!?) Or the mothers who sit silently at church, with their children lined up silently and motionlessly beside them. They may never say anything to you. They may never judge you. But I judge. Why don't my children stay silent? Why does my daughter so defiantly tell me "no" all day long, despite my consistent corrections? I am a bad mother.
I am not a bad mother. I am not a perfect mother. I am a mother who is trying every morning to get out of bed and do the best that I can. Some days that means we stay home for many days in a row so that we can get healthy and stay healthy, or work on a training issue (like always telling mommy "no".) Some days we leave the house so we can all get some fresh air and spend some time with someone else. Some days we eat all organic, homemade food. Some days we eat at Wendy's. Some days we kidnap daddy from work and take him to the zoo with us. Some days we count the minutes till he gets home and I am no longer the only adult.
The point is, I am trying to do the best I can. I am only responsible to do what my husband and I feel are right for our family. Not what anyone else thinks is right for us. Or even what anyone else thinks is right for their family. It seems so basic, but I seem to struggle with this too much. I am grateful for the wisdom of our friends and family. I enjoy listening to it. But when the day is done, I am only responsible to God and my husband for my parenting decisions.

P.S. I really do think that breastfeeding is one of the best gifts you can give your baby to start life out on the best foot possible. I just also think that exposing your baby to second hand smoke is a dangerous gift to give. . .

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Hi Mandy, this is a great post, and great advice. I plan to breastfeed, and not smoke near my children.