When I was three years old I knew my calling the world was as a mommy. I've known that I was supposed to have children all my life. It is what I was always looking forward to. One could say that being a parent is truly my life's work. Naturally, I am passionate about it.
I have wondered, as I've struggled along the parenting road, if there were others like me. People who constantly wondered if they were doing things "right" and kept trying to learn more about the little people whose upbringing they were charged with. I also wondered if the "experts" ever felt lost, or questioned their own methods.
Over time, I have become more comfortable in my parenting choices, and far more secure. I've also learned that I'm still learning and am open to trying new things. Over the past few years I've become much "cruchier". I now practice Attachment Parenting, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, non-vaccinating, and am learning about more natural eating. At the same time, I'm still a Conservative Catholic, and will always see raising my children through the lens of my faith. I must do all in my power to raise children for God.
What that means for me, is using gentle discipline to provide boundaries and consequences for my children, as I believe God does for me. There are people to the right of me who think I'm not doing enough without the use of the "rod". There are people to the left of me who think I am doing far too much by using such techniques as time-out. The right uses words like "permissive" and "spineless" while the left uses words like "coercive" and "punitive". Both sides are known to use the word "abusive". All of these words are full of judgement, and evoke strong feelings in the parent hearing them. A parent who feels strongly about the way they parent, and is passionate about it is going to find these words offensive.
I truly wish that we could turn more of that genuine concern for children, and that passion, into compassion and encouragement for one another. Even when we disagree. The parent next to me who uses disposable nappies is no worse a mother than I am. And the parent next to me who never lets anything non-organic pass her child's lips is no better than me. Who's to say that tomorrow I won't switch to disposable nappies or all organic eating? But the old saying that "you catch more flies with honey than with vinager" rings true. The parent who shares their views with an air of charity and kindness is going to have far more sway than a parent who approaches me with arrogance or judgement. After all, we're all just passionate, loving parents, doing the best we can for our children.
Blessings to all the parents who are doing their best. Your children really do know how much you love them.