1. Educate yourself– read books, read *reputable* websites, get various opinions, talk to your doctors
2. Don’t always trust your doctor– blindly, that is- sort of goes back to the whole educating yourself thing- YOU are you child’s best advocate
3. Trust your gut– even though sometimes it will tell you the exact opposite of every other member of your family- these are YOUR choices to make
4. Own your choices– no matter what it is you decide to do, if you’ve educated yourself and analyzed your situation enough to trust your gut to make a decision, what more can you do? Own it. It’s the BEST YOU CAN DO.
5. Don’t let other’s choices make you feel any less or more of a mother– THIS. IS. HARD. To be honest, I struggle with this one every day- on both sides. Just remember you are doing the BEST YOU CAN DO and so are they… hopefully… but that’s really none of your business… unless they leave the kid in the car with a 10 lb bag of crack and a rabid dog… then intervene because that is some shitty parenting and I encourage you to judge, judge, judge.
6. Cut yourself some slack– I’m serious. This is another one I struggle with a lot. Caring for another, smaller human doesn’t make us superhuman. We are allowed to feel tired, sick, annoyed, stressed. We are allowed to let all the balls drop, to just sit on the couch while the house is falling apart around us, children jumping off of couches with sharp-ish objects in their hands, dirty dishes piled to the sky in the kitchen, small animal sized dust balls blowing across the floor, and not GIVE A DAMN.
I challenge any one of you with a kid over the age of 18 months to tell me this has not been a scene from your life at some point or another. It happens to ALL OF US at some point. Yes, even that perky, put together, pearl-wearing mom who’s always perfectly pressed for the play date, it happens to her, too.
7. Allow yourself to change– So you did your research and you owned your choices and now you’re not so sure about them? You know what? No big deal. So staying at home didn’t work out and you want to go back to work? Fine! So you thought you’d never, ever, ever let your kids watch TV, but now it’s the only way to get 15 minutes of peace? That’s okay! Parenthood is all about being flexible and eating all those words that started with “I will never…”
8. Stick to your guns– Sometimes you think you need to cave on something you felt so passionately about, but doing so would compromise your values and the example you want to set for your children. Another confusing one, I know, because while parenthood is all about being flexible, it’s also about knowing which battles are worth the big fight and then fighting them.
9. Don’t box yourself in– You don’t have to be any “type” of parent. You don’t have to abide by every rule in any book. You should always make the choices that work for you and your family, even if, in this world that loves to put groups of people in uniform boxes, those choices seem to contradict each other.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a hybrid parent, and for a long while it kind of bothered me. Was I an Attachment Parent? Was I a Modern Parent? Was I a Traditional Parent? Why did I have to be any one of them? I was just… me… just doing what felt right, and while I can associate with a lot of different “types” of parents, I don’t feel the need to wholly belong to just one.
10. Love your children– If every choice you make is with the love you have for your children in mind, how can you go wrong? Just love them in the best way you know how, and try to get better at it every day. Know that there will be some days that are harder than others and be OKAY with that.
None of those had anything to do with the manner in which you transport your baby around or what you use to collect their poop. Make the educated choices that feel right to you, own them, allow yourself to change your mind and just roll with it. I think that’s what it all boils down to.
I wrote this list within a post nearly 2 years ago, in response to an article that was circulating at the time. I found it in my archives last night and thought this list deserved a re-post. If anything, it was a good reminder for myself.