Thursday 13 September 2012

Parenting - What is all the fuss about?

There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be  a good one......

Lately I have read a few posts and comments about people sick of feeling criticised. The big buzz word in parenting at the moment is Attachment Parenting. I read a lot about this when I was pregnant and pretty sure that that was the way I wanted to roll. Extended breastfeeding, babywearing and co sleeping. I wanted to baby led wean, and use cloth nappies, I wanted that closeness with my baby, that secure attachment, I had waited so long to become a mum, I couldn't wait to experience all that.

And then, clang, it happened. My baby was cut out of me at 27 weeks and put into a plastic box and there he stayed, in variations there of for 3 months. About the most opposite to attachment parenting as you can get. There was a deep pain in my heart, that even holding my baby required military  like precision, not to mention permission, which could be denied at any time, for sometimes spurious reasons.

But this taught me something. Above all parenting needs to be pragmatic, not dogmatic. Every baby is completely different, every situation is different, each parent comes with their own set of philosphies, ideas and principles, and that's ok.

For me, I had to pick and choose. Co-sleeping for us was out, as Joseph was an extremely low birthweight and premature, so we didn't do it. We compromised and co slept on holiday, which we still do. I did baby wear a lot but not all the time, we did use a pram as well. Breastfeeding, as is well documented, didn't work out for us in the end, despite trying hard. And that's ok too. We used cloth nappies, much to the amusement of my neighbours. Some parents thought I was passing judgement on them, but its not for everyone and that's ok.

I found having a premature baby liberating, in that everytime someone queried or even criticised what I was doing I would just say "its different for prems".

But now I have a preschooler I am finding it happen more and more. I am not going to link to it, but I was completely shocked when I wrote my post about why I don't use the naughty step/corner at the strength of feeling at those who do, like I'd taken them to parenting court and had them charged!  I thought I was just writing a post about my own thoughts on the matter, not being judge, jury and executioner. I think its a shame we can't talk about parenting in a non emotive manner, and live and let live

Raising kids is hard. It's hard to know what to do, and I love sharing ideas and experiences. With the potty training and the poo issue talking to other parents has been invaluable. Whoever would have thought about giving poo a personality? I wouldn't have done, and my talks with Joseph about poo and what it likes and doesn't like  has made a huge difference (as well as a touch of old fashioned bribery!)

I love finding out the different ways people do things, and I like to think that I am not judgemental, just because you may not do things the way I do, doesn't mean they are wrong. I do think though, its important to think things through, and find out the rationale for different approaches, not just do things because that's the way Gina does it or Supernanny. Parenting as in life, its good to make informed choices.

Above all, be true to yourself and your family, and if you don't like an article, close the book, shut the browser and move on. Life is too short. 


  1. Hear hear! More of this attitude is sorely needed. Parenting is not a competition-surely our beloved children are prize enough?!

  2. well said Kylie - we know our own kids best - and ourselves! x

  3. Amen, amen, amen. This whole mom-petition thing is getting out of hand. Fact is, there are days I'd love Nanny 911 to come to my house because I'm sure she'd use me as the example "doing okay". There are, also, plenty of days when I make poor decisions and do things that even I don't think is the right thing to do. Parenting is HARD and we learn as we go and some think-they-know-it-all who hasn't walked the same path always seems to have judgement. (okay, rant over - for now) Plus, I'm dying to learn about your poo techniques...we've been struggling with a formally trained 3.75 year old who suddenly is pooping in his night diaper.

  4. Thanks for your comment. OK so I posted about my problem with Joseph and my friend suggested something her Health Visitor (like a child health nurse) suggested to her. Basically you give poo a personality. Explain that it doesn't like to be trapped in a diaper/nappy or pants, or in our case abandoned on the grass or the floor. I made sure I reinforced to Joseph that daddy, mummy and the cats don't poo outside or on the floor we use the toilet (or litter tray) because poo likes to be somewhere hygenic. Since we started the "poo talk" things have definitely markedly improved.

    I cannot believe I am talking about poo again!!!

  5. Looking for Blue Sky13 September 2012 at 21:40

    Perhaps some people just like arguing for the sake of it? 'Pragmatic parenting' sounds perfect and realistic. I'm currently writing a post about parenting 20 years ago when my eldest was a baby - hope I don't get nasty remarks about my choices then!

  6. diary of a premmy mum13 September 2012 at 23:37

    A very interesting post.I am a bit like you in that I feel missed out on a lot of the attachment parenting stuff. Smidge was only a little over 4lb when we finally got her home and as much as i would have liked to have held her in a sling more often and bed shared, it just wasnt possible due to the cld and the perceived risk of desaturation and apneoa.When you have been exposed to the world that we have, you bring something else to the parenting experience,not only extensive and specialised medical knowledge but the deep understanding that everybody brings something different to the table based on their own experience. Having a preemie may mean that we missed out on some things, but look what we have gained, a deep and heartfelt understanding, that each situation is different, and that is fundamental to how we carry out our role as a parent, a precious gift that you cant get in a text book,and if you could it would never carry the same meaning.