Being a parent comes with a lot of guilt trips. People on all sides keep telling you that there is something you’re doing wrong, or that you’re being too self righteous by doing something a certain way (even when you do your best not to impose your parenting style on others). It gets to be a lot out deal with some days, so move decided to compile a (slightly ranty) list of things I refuse to feel bad about to help me cope.
1: Breast feeding whenever Finn happens to be hungry. I haven’t come across any negativity, at least openly, from strangers about this, and I feed in public without a cover a fair bit. Finn doesn’t eat well with a cover, so I don’t use one. I also try and be discreet about it. I am well aware that not everyone wants to see my nipples. I have gotten shock from some people I know that I doesn’t bother me more. Honestly, if they really knew me, it wouldn’t shock them at all. Hey, my son is hungry and he needs to eat. I am his food supply. Why wait?
2: Sticking with my medication. I tried coming off my migraine meds before we started trying. It was a disaster. I went back on the lowest dose possible while pregnant, and my son is fine. Yes, he had some slight withdrawal symptoms for a few days after birth, but that’s it. I worked with professionals in the field of obstetric medicine to make informed risk/benefit choices drug my pregnancy, and for continuing me during breast feeding, and none of those choices were taken lightly. I didn’t just hop on Google one day and let the plethora of misinformation on the he web decide for me. I’m not an idiot. That’s why I don’t understand those who can’t believe I was, and still am, medicated. I monitor Finn closely for any signs that my medication is adversely effecting him, especially if I have to increase the dosage. I don’t think people who criticize are taking in to account the the fact that if I’m unwell, I can’t take care of either of us, not to mention the fact that most of the people who are concerned about it don’t really have any clue about what Shawn and I deal with when I’m at my worst. Finn is perfect, and if I tight I was going to be hurting him in any way, I would find an alternative.
3: Disposable diapering. I can barely handle regular laundry. Cloth diapers have never been an option for us. Still, people give me shit and try to push them on us. “Honestly, they’re not that much more work!” Ah, but they are some more work, and that’s enough for me. I try and be as Eco friendly with my diapering choices as I can, but nothing will convince me to switch, so all the cloth nazis should just save their energy, especially the ones who say that it would be so much better for Finn’s skin. He doesn’t have an iota of rash. Deal with it.
4: The “no TV” rule. We don’t plan on letting Finn watch TV until he’s at least two. He’s a baby. Why does he need to watch TV when there are so many other things he can be learning and exploring? I have never believed in the TV as a babysitter thing, and I’m not bashing parents who do let their little ones watch. It’s just not for us. You can tell me I’m going to change my mind all you want. I won’t. There are books, music, toys, games… I can think of a million things to do that don’t involve TV or electronics. That’s not to say he’s not going to get to watch (or play video games) eventually. That would be hypocritical. For now, though, he needs to be little. I’m perfectly happy letting three days worth of dishes pile up so I can play with him all day.
5: No looking at screens. Aside from it not being great for proper ocular development (this is coming from both my paediatrician and optometrist), why does a baby or toddler need to look at a screen? We FaceTime with Shawn’s parents a few times a month so they can see him, and I don’t think they’ve figured out that he doesn’t look at the screen. He just sees the back of the iPad case when he’s not looking at his dad, who is usually the one holding it. Again, if other people want to have their kids on FaceTime or looking at YouTube or whatever, go for it. That’s just if not what we want for Finn, and I’m tired of being called ridiculous because of it.
6: Being a “gentle parent”. I’m fairly certain that at some point in the future, a tantrum will erupt and Finn will want nothing to do with me while it happens. Right now, though, I refuse to leave him on his own to cry. What’s the point? He’s just over three months old, and I don’t understand how being left to cry is doing him any good. He was gassy and a little fussy on Easter, and my aunt wanted to put him on his tummy and let him cry it out. I told her we didn’t do that. She said it was good for him. I said I didn’t think so and took him away from her. She want impressed, but he’s my son. Leaving him to cry in pain by himself is not on there schedule. Thanks for the suggestion though.
7: Taking care of myself. Whether that means doing my hair and make up every time I go out or taking the pain meds I need when I feel a migraine starting to surface, I will take care of myself. I’m still a person. The title of mum just got added on, it’s not the whole picture. Sure, it’s the top title, and the one I love the most, but everything else still applies. No, I will not stop wearing red lip stick because I have a baby. Get a life.
My baby is happy. He sleeps over eight hours a nights most nights. He can go to bed drowsy and put himself to sleep. He’s almost as happy to play with his toys as he is to play with one of us. We’re doing a damn good job, and I refuse to feel bad about that either.