Put a Bib on It


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Child Rearing Is Personal

parenting-is-personalI am always worried whether what am I doing is BEST for my children. Society seems to have all these rules and expectations that we have to follow, but sometimes the “rules” are complete opposites of each other, depending on who you are talking to. Are these “rules” best practice for children or are they one person’s persuasive opinion?

  • Cloth Diaper or Disposable Diaper
  • Breastmilk or Formula
  • Cry it Out or Never let them Cry
  • Baby Wear or Stroller
  • Helicopter or Free Range Parenting

Child rearing is personal. I have close friends who choose different parenting techniques and strategies. In my opinion, there is not a 100 percent right way to child rear for everyone.  We don’t all choose to do it the same way. We make different decisions on things depending on our personal situation and our own personal research. In the end, I like to think that we all have the same goal: happy, healthy children.

Next time you are at a park or store and you see someone child rearing differently than you, I challenge you to try to assume the best. We’re not all the same, all our situations are not the same, and our children are not all the same. Thankfully, we live in a country where we can choose to do things differently than our neighbor or friend.

If you find yourself passionate about a particular aspect of child rearing, and feel you must share, find ways to share the information without sounding bossy, negative, or nasty. Once, when I was out with my boys, I actually had a mom approach me and, what felt like, demean me because I was pushing my young son in a stroller rather than “baby wearing” him. After my initial frustration and anger about her approach and condescending tone, I was able to search through her comments to find the positives (this isn’t an easy task): she’s passionate about her beliefs and is doing what she feels is right for children. I am absolutely not saying I am against baby wearing (because in certain circumstances and times I have made the choice that baby wearing would be the best for me and my children), what I am saying is that everyone is different and has different reasons for child rearing differently at different times.

Let’s assume that all people have their child’s best interest in mind at all times. And assume that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. To think parents never make mistakes is ludicrous; distractions happen, life happens, bad days happen. The world would be a much better place if we could rally together as parents (and humans) rather than rally against.


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The Kindness of Friends—and Strangers!

Bryce-hospitalLast week, Bryce, our 2-year-old, woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible cough. He had been dealing with a little cough for the last few days, but this was different. Years in the child care field told me it was undeniably the croup cough. Beyond my diagnosis, I wasn’t sure what our next step was.  Do we call the doctor, do we let him settle down a little and put him back to bed, or do we head to the ER?

We ended up calling a friend who is in the medical field for advice (It’s always best to trust your instincts; if you think your child probably needs to go to the doctor, take him!). As we told her what was going on, she could hear him coughing in the background. She told us we really needed to take him to the ER for a breathing treatment and probably some steroids. As she said it, my husband and I looked at each other, undoubtedly thinking the same thing: who will go and who will stay home with the other children?  Luckily, our friend went on to say she was getting dressed and would be out the door so we could take him to the hospital together.

She and her husband have four children of their own (ranging from ages 2 to 16), so to ask her to drive 30 minutes in the middle of the night to our house seemed ridiculous. We tried to persuade her to stay home and told her we could divide and conquer this challenge. She was persistent, though. She said, “We have been there—it is so much easier with both parents.”

She arrived a short time later and we left for Children’s. There were many times throughout our five-hour visit at the hospital that I was thankful my husband I were both there: parking, bathroom breaks, rotating short cat naps for sleepy mom and dad, and giving the medicine (Seriously—have you ever tried to give medicine to a child who didn’t want it? They somehow suddenly become a tiny hulk, angry and strong, just without the green skin!).  I’m sure all this could have been done with just one of us, but I was so thankful that we were both able to be there.

That’s why today I am thankful for kindness and selflessness. I’m thankful to have people in my life that are willing to go above and beyond, even when it might be an inconvenience for them. I am also thankful for perfect strangers willing to help a hand—like the man who helped me unload an overflowing cart at Kroger while I dealt with my 2-year-old throwing a fit and my newborn who was wrapped on me with an overflowing poopy diaper. Yes, even my shirt was covered in baby poop. And I promise to be that person too. Even if it is just a reassuring word to a struggling mom at the playground or holding a door for a stranger, you too can help make the world a little brighter and easier for someone!