Around here, we’re all about doing whatever you can to eek by on the parenting front. I’m all for throwing all your energy into just loving your family and then worrying about the child-rearing part when you can catch your breath. There’s a ton of advice and these are probably some of the most controversial subjects out there. At the end of the day, what I’m about to say about each of them really doesn’t matter because you’re gonna do what you need to do for your family. And that’s all that matters.
Pick Up Your Baby Every Single Time He Asks. Until He’s Eleven.
Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but you are doing absolutely zero harm in picking up your infant whenever she cries. In fact, there are some who say that doing so helps to develop a stronger bond earlier on and therefore a deeper sense of trust which later allows them to experiment with their independence earlier on and with complete security. You will not “create” a needy or clingy baby. Say it louder, for the people in the back: You. Can’t. Spoil. A. Baby.
Television Isn’t Going to Kill Your Child
In fact, it may even extend their life expectancy because screen time gives parents that much needed moment to catch their breath. Or, if you’re lucky, pee alone. I’m not saying that plopping the kid in front of whatever Fortnight for Toddlers app is hot right now (it’s Baby Shark, I know) for 16 hours a day is a good idea, but I am saying if they sometimes watch more than their allotted 2 hours per week, they will survive. It’s all about balance, just as everything is. Stop feeling bad about the kids’ tablet time.
Vaccinate. Or Don’t.
There are legitimate arguments for both sides. Our family happens to fall somewhere in the middle where we have a family history of vaccine reactions and while we don’t want to not vaccinate because of that, we want to take a much slower approach to them. We’re lucky to live in an area where pediatricians tend to understand parents’ concerns on the matter and are willing to be reasonable when exceptions or changes require it. Sometimes there’s a good and valid reason delay or just all together not vaccinate and we need to stop jumping on the “but, science” train until we know the whole story.
Everyone Eats The Same Meal
I tend to fall in the more strict bucket on this philosophy, so when I cook dinner, I 100% expect that each person will eat what I cook, exactly as I cooked it happily and without complaint. Sometimes expectations are different from reality. And I’ll be honest, if you need to feed a chicken nugget or, oh dear lord, a happy meal in order to get some food in that child, then for crying out loud just do it. We don’t all have time (or energy for that matter) to cook every night. Some kids just really freaking hate bell peppers. Sometimes a bowl of cereal for dinner is completely appropriate. It’s ok to break this rule as often as you need to.
Eating In General: Just Do It
Let’s go back a second though- breast, formula, puree, baby-led weaning, organic, rice cereal, processed, artificial colors… there is just so much to worry about. Let’s look at it this way, there’s a million reasons why your personal chosen method is brilliant and there’s probably a million why it’s not. At the end of the day, does it really matter so long as there’s food involved and a general indication of some nutrition? Are you going to suddenly change your mind because you feel so guilty about what the neighbors are feeding Little McKenzy or are you going to go with what feels right in your situation? Again, moms, set aside the guilt here and move on.
Education Is Their Job
Yeah, it’s super important and our family happens to place a high value on education. But don’t forget that there are so many different ways to learn and so many different types of learners. This is so important to remember early on too- every year this is more and more focus on early education, which is great, except it’s starting to not leave time for the kids to just be kids for a little while. And I’m sorry to drop this mic on you, but the college bubble has burst- not everybody needs to get a degree to be successful. Step back, and try to read what your child needs, not what you think he needs.
Foreskins Are Cool and So Are Unpierced Ears
Bodily integrity is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. In the field of human rights, violation of the bodily integrity of another is regarded as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and possibly criminal.
I’m not even going to explain my exceptions to this controversy, you already know them.
Trophies Are Fine
Your child receiving an award in spite of their best attempt to fail in every way possible at sports, is not an indication of how they are going to accept or run from failure as an adult. Hypothetically, you are doing a fair amount of parenting and wisdom-sharing outside of this one small aspect of their lives so the plastic medal on a string they get after their bowling season ended 0-326 is not going to carry quite as much weight in their upbringing. I’m all for keeping score and MVPs, but as a long-time fan of professional football in Ohio, I gotta send love out to every single athlete who just. shows. up. every. time.
Whatever It Takes To Get the Most People The Most Sleep
My philosophy early on about sleep was “whatever works”. Our family goes the bedsharing route- it seems easiest to me and I’m too wimpy to listen to my kids cry for me at night. So many others though, can successfully sleep train and get 17 hours of sleep per night and their children grow up to be President or Supreme Court Justices or something even cooler like Banksy or Michael Jordan or something. None of this particular information is backed up by fact, but the bottom line is that tons of sleep trained kids grow up completely fine and tons of bedsharing babies grow up completely fine. There’s probably no correlation to genius or serial killer in either case. Probably.
Yelling Is Effective
Bottom line. I don’t love doing it, of course not, but a well-timed mommy meltdown can most definitely get their attention. It also presents a great teachable moment that mommies and daddies have feelings too and they don’t always get everything perfect but the fact remains that I love you, even when you’re terrible. So go on girl, let it out, you banshee.
All that said, those baby leash things are fucked up.