On parenting and parenting labels

cropped-525370_710855523219_1158272970_n.jpgI don’t like to consider myself an Attachment Parent. I don’t like to consider myself a “crunchy” parent. I don’t like to consider myself a tough-love parent, or a helicopter parent or a tiger mom. Mainly because I don’t want to consider myself any one “type of parent.”

In our home, we just try to do what works best for us and best for our son B, who is four months old.

Out in society though, it seems you have to have a label.

How do I figure out who I am, as a parent? 

I think that’s why I started this blog. Not because I’m trying to tell other people how to parent. From from it. This is my space to reflect on my son’s fleeting childhood, and maybe in the process reassure myself that you don’t have to fit into a particular parenting “mold” or “group” to have a cohesive parenting attitude.

It takes a village. Sort of.

Parenting these days involves a lot of community. Sometimes, I think this does more harm than good. There are message boards, birth groups, and “Mommy and Me” type playdates that can be geared toward interests so specific that if you’d like to meet up to discuss how you’re raising your family as a “green” family you can find a group in your area. And while this type of “community” can be helpful — providing advice, a shoulder to lean on and just generally an outlet to share stories of your adorable children — it can also come with a lot of judgement. (“What do you MEAN you didn’t read the ingredients on your Johnson & Johnson baby soap?!?”) 

I would love it if we could just abolish the identities of these parenting groups altogether, and open up a wider network of moms and dads who support each other an realize that parenting is hard, no matter how you do it. And we need all the support we can get.

I parent weird. Or so people tell me. But isn’t weird ok? 

I’ve basically approached parenting similar to how I’ve approached everything else in my life. I read, I research, I talk to as many people as I can, and I let it sink in. If what I’ve learned doesn’t align with what’s best for my son I scrap it and try to find something else.

This causes a lot of people to tell me I’m “over-thinking everything” and “exhausting myself” worrying about things that don’t matter. (I understand that reading 250 carseat reviews on Amazon seems exhausting, but it really… OK, fine. Yes, that’s exhausting.)

Some things matter to me that don’t matter to other parents. That’s ok. Some things matter more to other parents than they do to me. That’s just fine too. Never in this process am I not following my gut.

I have no doubt that who I am as a parent will continue to evolve. That’s another fun part of keeping this blog. As my son grows our attitudes and methods will change. But right now, he’s four months old. And right now, I’m already seeing that those pre-parenthood proclamations you believe are firmly rooted sometimes don’t make sense after you meet your child and become a parent. Sometimes your child needs you to be someone different, something different.

I’m excited to figure out who my child needs me to be.

 

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