Nate and I are not stay-at-home parents. We're not 9-to-5 working parents, either. We baby-wear and we stroller-push. We're completely attached, but bed-sharing is SO not our thing. Our kids have been breastfed, bottle-fed, and everything in-between. When people first meet us and discover that we have goats and chickens and a whole array of composting-gardening-hippie-lifestyle habits, they make certain assumptions about what kind of people we are.
And then they get to know us and they become utterly perplexed.
I have discovered a lot of loving, wonderful people through the parenting community. I've also encountered a lot of angry souls. There are many out there who make judgments based on limited information. Some even attack complete strangers based on their perceived values.
The negativity gets exhausting.
Nate feels it too, every single time someone sees him with the kids and commends him on “babysitting” or “giving mommy a break.” Why does society assign a primary and a secondary parent? Why does everybody need to suss out roles?
It seems that humans, with all their complexity, have an easier time when they can compartmentalize. Putting people and things into boxes and categories makes the whole thing somehow make more sense.
But three kids in, I've learned that it all makes very little sense. One size could never fit all. Not all parents. Not all families. Certainly not all children. That's why we're joining as partners with the Sisterhood of Motherhood this year, helping parents unite against judgment.
We're still in the hospital with Minion, and I can't even tell you how many times in this short span of days we've already found ourselves in a tug-of-war between opinions on what is “best” for him. Formula, Pedialyte, breastfeeding, pumped milk. This drug or that drug or tubes and pressure and intubation. Having experienced the extreme ends of parenting – the weight of this little person's life resting entirely in our hands – I can't imagine ever criticizing another caretaker for their choices when they are doing the very best they can for someone they love with their whole heart.
In the midst of all this, I've also discovered an amazingly supportive team. A community that has buoyed us up as we've battled with the most difficult days of our life. People have offered kind words as we've weighed certain pros against potential cons. We've even found little glimmers of humor as we learn to advocate where we can and cope with a lack of control.
As Oma tells me, “You have to pick your battles.” Because sometimes, this feels a whole lot like war.
Have you ever felt judged for your parenting decisions?
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.