Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Have another kid and you won't care

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.


A lot of people are parents and almost all parents have advice.  

When I had my first son, Luke, I was diving into all things Attachment Parenting.  I met like minded moms at a local breastfeeding group.  I read The Continuum Concept.  I fell in love with natural parenting.  It seemed like that was perfect parenting for my husband and I.

Even though we didn't right away, we quickly moved into co-sleeping after the first week of bringing my sweet Luke home.  Slowly, moving away from our nursery, and bringing things into our room.

Then there was when I found out that babies needed to nurse more than every two hours, like the nurses at the hospital told me.  I was nursing my son at every 'signal' of hunger, like any other natural mother, reading her babies cues.

Then, not only nursing but taking my 3 month old potty when I saw his pee and poo signs.  You should have seen the look on our parents faces when we were unbuttoning my son's diaper and holding him over the potty at just three months old.

At six months, when we introduced solids, we did baby led weaning.  We let our baby, yes our six month old baby, play with forks at dinner.  We never did rice cereal, just started with manageable food pieces.

Then I didn't wean at one.  And at 15 months, I got pregnant with my daughter.  I kept right along nursing through all of pregnancy.

And to top it off, I wanted a home birth for my daughter.

We did all these unusual, not conventional things with our son.  I dreaded the day of explaining cosleeping or baby led weaning to our parents much less defending it.  When someone would ask about a particular parenting choice I would literally get warm and clammy and shaky when I talked.  I usually came up with a half answer because there was so much I wanted to say and so much research I wanted to share about our decisions.

Looking back... how silly!

After having my daughter I have learned such a wonderful way to respond to people who comment about what we do.

Someone said to me once about making an hour long car trip up to the city to see my daughter's naturopath, that if she gets fussy, just let her cry and that it's fine.

I smiled and said yeah.

What I've realized is that people mostly just want to talk about having kids.  And they don't really care about what you do anyway.   And even if for some reason they did, they don't have to live your life.  Even if your parents don't like co-sleeping, they aren't the ones sleeping with the kids.  So who cares?  They probably really don't care either, so don't waste your time trying to convince someone that your way is right.  Even with other moms, trying compare your way with someone else's is just not equal.  One of my best Mama friends has almost the exact same parenting style as me and we still do things a little different. 

Just responding by agreeing or joking- 'yeah we're one of those weird co-sleeping families' is almost always better than going into long details of web research.  Believe me, no one wants to hear it, unless they specifically ask.  I don't want to hear someone tell me the statistics of the dangers of co-sleeping.  They don't want to hear you say why it's so beneficial. 

My best advice in dealing with others is just go along with them as best you can.  Think of the time when I was literally sweating over an answer I could have been care free doing what I want anyway.  At the end of the day, they are your kids and it's your life, do what makes you happy.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it's from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural - Just Don't Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother's groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the "Mommy-space" online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God's Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles... — Jenny at I'm a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents' worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting - Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she's learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others' parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metalityMudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can't — We've all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you're stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think "Gosh, I wish I said…" This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought "Gosh, I wish I said…"
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don't Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she'd want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying "I'm Right and You're Wrong" Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won't care — Cassie of There's a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don't know what to do when you're confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and ChoicesDulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky - Parenting Peacefully with Social MediaHannabert's Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.


Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

It can be so freeing to realize that no one cares as much about your choices as you think they do, can't it? I like the idea of letting the defensiveness go and just deflecting.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

Lol I love the idea of just letting people talk, because that's usually all they want-to express themselves, not to change your behavior.

PS My iTouch died and I had you bookmarked on there and couldn't find you again and am so glad you did this carnival so I could find you again. Bookmarking you on my real computer right now!!

Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction said...

I like that - it is your life, and only you really have to worry about what goes on in your home.

I agree that sometimes people just want to talk. I used to do mediations for small claims court cases, and the most amazing thing I learned was that most people didn't care whether they won or lost their case...they just wanted to feel that their side of the dispute was heard. It is amazing how important being heard is to people. So I think that your point about people just wanting to express themselves is very well made.

Laura said...

You are awesome. I'm just now getting to the point where even though my tummy may be in knots, it is better for the peace to just smile and be pleasant. You're right... people just want to talk about themselves.

Kenna Lee said...

OK, I'm officially a fan now. You rock. I have three and I 'm way too busy to care less what people think by now.

Cassie said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Lauren- I have realized no one really cares. At least they don't 5 minutes after we talk. It's just not worth getting worried about it.

Crunchy Con Mommy! Glad you found me again! I read your blog because it's in my reader I just forget or get lazy and don't comment ;)

Jenn- You know that Bon Jovi song- It's my life, it's now or never haha. That's how I feel about parenting. It all goes so fast just enjoy.

Lauren- My tummy still gets that way... there are still certain things that I'd rather not have brought up... vaccinations those kinds of things.. but now I just do my best in trying nnot to have to answer too much.

Kenna Lee- You must know about being too busy with three.. I know with two it's just not really as big of deal as it used to be. Thanks for coming by!

Lisa C said...

That's such a good point that they just want to be heard. That's all I would really care about, too. No one has to do it my way, but it really is nice if they will just listen for a moment.

And it's so true, no matter how close your parenting method is to someone else's, it's STILL going to be different! Some of us are just a little more similar than others, and some of us are way different than others, but we all still have SOME common ground...like loving our kids. :)

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Such a great point that you wouldn't want to hear statistics about the dangers of cosleeping - it sounds so logical when you turn it around :)

Carrie said...

This post made me smile. I totally get what you're saying here and have had similar epiphanies. My favorite line (like about cosleeping!) is "Oh yeah we're crazy but we love it!" hahaa! Who can argue with that? LOL

And like you said, if people are really interested, they will ask for specifics, and then you can share the dirty details.

It's really a great way to stay true to yourself, feel good in your decisions, have a laugh and not push away your friends! :)