Becoming a parent has been an adventure. And along the way, I’ve noticed a few things. First of all, there’s a million different parenting styles, and what works for one person may not work for another. Having said that, it seems like everyone is eager to give their advice. Which is fine until you force your values upon others.
My husband and I were talking the other day about the debate between breastfeeding and formula feeding. Everyone will have their own opinions, and will choose the option that is right for them. The same goes with co-sleeping. People chose to do what they want and who are we to demand an answer or tell them what they’re doing is wrong. Regardless of what they choose to do, they should be able to do so without feeling judged or like they have to give you a reason as to why they’re doing something that you may not approve of. It’s their life, not yours. It’s their kid, not yours.
People should be able to have a conversation and be proud of their decisions and choices rather than being judged. Everyone has their own reasons for doing what they do. I am going to use the breast feeding versus formula feeding example first as it seems to be a hot topic. Then I’ll go into the co-sleeping topic (another hot topic). For example, recently in the news there was a model who had a baby and went on vacation. They had run out of formula and asked for some to be brought to their room. When the formula arrived, the family was out, and someone happened to snap a photo of the formula waiting outside their room which prompted a huge outcry from the breastfeeding community. Which then put this model (mom) in the position to explain her story – that her intentions were to breastfeed but unfortunately her milk went dry, thus not allowing her to continue breastfeeding when her child was about 6 months old. Regardless of her reasoning behind formula feeding, she has a right to not have to explain her actions to anyone. It’s no ones business but hers.
Plus, once your kid grows up, no one even cares about whether they were breastfed or formula fed. Seriously, as an adult, do you ask your friends or co-workers if they were breastfed or formula fed? No. And even if you did, and their response is they were formula fed, are you like, “oh, no wonder you’re a giant” (which seems to be the popular opinion or judgement from breastfeeding parents). No. Why? Because no one cares. So why is it such a big deal whether a baby is breast or formula fed? Once they grow up its a moot point.
Then there the issue of co-sleeping. I don’t think it could be said better than this, so I’m just going to quote it from an article:
"I don’t need to guess if [my daughter is] sick, can’t sleep, feels anxious or had a nightmare, because I was there.
More importantly, she knows I’m there. Controlled crying just seemed like controlled cruelty, denying my kid the one thing she wants; mummy or daddy.
She’s thus never had to scream alone in a dark room, flooding her little brain with anxiety chemicals and the terrors night-time and solitude have wired us to imagine are out there, watching beyond the firelight. While some would argue this produces a clingy, needy child who depends on constant reassurance, my little one is just the opposite – fierce and independent, kind and empathic."
– Sam de Brito
You have your opinions and other people have theirs. Why can’t we all just respect that instead of imposing our thoughts and beliefs on others.
I welcome open dialog, but only when it’s productive. Sharing experiences and accepting that your experience may not work for someone else is key. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about tolerance, acceptance, empathy and kindness. We need to start supporting one another instead of trying to bring each other down. Raising children is not a competition, it’s about doing the best we can to be (and to raise) compassionate human beings.