So the other day I took Sara to the dentist. In the waiting room there was a mom with 4 children. They all kind of looked like her so I assume they were all hers. Two of them were wild--with a capital 'W". One of them, about 3-4 years old had a dirty shirt on and a diaper. That was it. No pants. Now, the old me would have totally shook my head and thought "what an awful mother." When I say "old" I mean me-- but before I had kids. I have said this over and over again and I will say it until the cows come home; I was an awesome mom---before I had kids. But the mom version of me barely glanced at the kid in a diaper and just kind of gave the other mom a slight head nod, like, "yeah...been there." Most days I can hardly get pants on myself, let alone a defiant preschooler and you just have to pick your battles. I am sure that mom was having a "day". That is what I call days when everything goes wrong, the kids are acting like turds, and I just want to hit rewind and start all over. I call them "days" because I don't really think they are bad days...any day I wake up and my children are still with me and healthy is a good one. So I just go with 'days'. So why do I bring this up? Because, like I said, the old me would have been so judgmental of that mom. Sadly, I am sure she got a lot of holier than thou looks that day...and what is even sadder is that I bet most of them came from other moms.
I never really believed in the whole "Mommy Wars" concept. I thought it was just a myth started by some writer for a ladies magazine that was short on material with a deadline looming. This past week I have seen some pretty nasty things that made me realize the mommy war is real and the battle is raging!
I am part of a few Facebook groups for moms. They are meant to be a place where moms can go and ask questions in a supportive, non judgmental way. There are so many times I see a post and think to myself, really? Did they just really ask that? If I don't have any value to add to the conversation I just don't say anything. If there is a topic I don't agree with, some of the hot topics are vaccinations, sleep training, VBAC's, healthy foods, I just stay out of the thread and go on with my life. Just because I don't agree doesn't mean I am right and they are wrong or vice versa. The anger and downright meanness coming from those groups and some online articles with comments posted to them, have made me see that despite what I thought, us moms aren't all in this together and moms can be a pretty judgmental group.
I have my own way of parenting my children. My friends might do it a little different. Hell, Chuck does it differently. Many people have the complete opposite style from me. You know what? We are all doing what we think is best for our kids. There is no right or wrong way to parent. I believe you do what is best for your particular family. Now, if I see someone beating their kids, then yes, I would call them out on it. Short of physically harming your child I am going to let you deal with your kids your way and I will deal with mine my way.
So that being said, here is how I am raising my children;
The only time I buy organic foods is when they are on sale and they are the better price point for the item I am purchasing.
I vaccinate myself and my children. I don't believe the government is trying to poison us and I don't believe they cause Autism. I do believe in protecting my kids from dreaded diseases.
My girls love frozen waffles with butter, syrup, chocolate chips and sprinkles for breakfast. I off set it with healthy choices the rest of the day.
Emily, who is my lightest, fairest child loves playing with a very dark skinned black baby at her playgroup. She is so happy playing with that baby I put a black baby doll at the top of her list for Santa.
Anna loves wearing superhero undies. A black Batman pair is her favorite.
I don't feel my house is really clean until it smells like good, old fashioned Comet and bleach. I don't feel vinegar does the trick.
I had a repeat C-section...could have tried for a VBAC but didn't want to blow out my uterus. I labored for 36 hours with Sara before having a section. 24 hours of that was un-medicated, not by choice...just a bunch of hippie nurses telling me I didn't need them. The last 12 hours I labored much more comfortably with a constant flow of pain medication and that was WAY better!!
I don't allow electronics during meal times, at restaurants or in the car (except if it is a really long car ride, like more than 1.5 hours). I think my girls should be able to entertain themselves and I think ipods/ipads in a restaurant are rude. I also believe there should be family conversations around the dinner table. Every night we all go around and talk about the favorite part of our day.
In that same vain I limit their TV watching during the day. For no other reason except it makes my life easier. They are total nags when they zone out in front of the TV, "Mom, I need a snack"..."Mom can you gt me a drink?"...if they are off playing they are much less work for me.
I have used the proper names for all their body parts from the get-go. They know girls have a vagina and boys have a penis. At the same time I totally lie to them on super hot or super cold days...I say the news reporters said we have to stay in today due to the weather.
I am not a huge advocate for co-sleeping with your kids. I like having my own bed. That being said, Emily was in her crib for 12 months and now at 13 months she has been joining us in bed at around midnight.
Sara is going to be 7 next week. Her favorite TV show is The Middle. I let her watch it. She also loves any type of doctor show, for her the gorier the better. Again, might not be the most appropriate shows, but I let her watch them.
She also knows about my not so secret crush on Anderson Cooper. She knows that the Coop and I could never be together...not just because I am married to Chuck, she knows that the Silver Fox has a boyfriend. It is just another random fact to her because, like Katy Perry says, "it's no big deal!"
Speaking of Katy Perry, my girls (Emily included) prefer her music to that of Laurie Berkner (a great kid's singer).
There is a bully in Sara's class. They have been together for the past 2 years. The girl is relentless. I have given Sara some problem solving skills...ignore her, walk away, tell the teacher...they haven't worked. Just the other day I finally told her just to be mean right back to her.
I think the score should be kept in little kid's soccer & baseball games. Sometimes in life there is a winner and sometimes a loser. Good life lesson to work harder.
I don't throw the game to let my kids win when we play a board game. The winner is the winner fair and square.
I make my kids wear helmets every time they get on their bikes, even if they are riding a tricycle.
I had my kids later in life. My vocabulary was already well established. Swears sometimes just come out.
The biggest debate of all....Stay at Home Mom vs. Working Mom!! I work part time. I feel like I have the luxury of being a mostly stay at home mom. On the days I am home I can't wait to get out of the nut house. On the days I work I gripe about having to get everyone ready and out of the house on time. I see the pros and cons to being a stay at home mom and a working mom...and truth be told, if I had to pick I am not sure which side of the fence I would come down on.
So that is my parenting style. Chuck's is different. When I am not home it is a whole different ball game. We don't always see eye to eye on issues, but the kids are alive and happy when I come home from work so that is all that matters.
I am not saying I do it all perfect. I know I don't. I make it up as I go along each day. I am sure I am doing many things right...I am just as sure I am doing things my children will bring up in therapy later in life. I am pretty sure the perfect parent is as real as a purple, flying unicorn.
So the next time you see a kid out and about without pants...don't judge...just be thankful you were able to get your kids dressed before heading out into the world. Because at one time or another we are all going to be 'that parent'.