Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm a better parent than you

Ever get the feeling when you are talking to another parent that they are doing nothing but trying to outdo you or your child?

You: Timmy just counted to 10 yesterday!

Other parent: Oh that's great! Johnny can count up to 20 now....

You: Timmy got student of the month!

Other parent: Johnny has gotten it twice already this year

You get the point, and yes we all know someone that has done it.  You have maybe done it too either intentionally or unintentionally.  It seems that there is such a competition these days to be the best, and make sure that everyone knows it.  Everyone thinks they are the best parent in the world based on the decisions they make, and that's true, to a degree.  You ARE the best parent to YOUR child.  No one can raise your children better than you.  One of the many things I have learned from having children is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, it just doesn't exist, but you need to trust that the decisions you are making are the best ones for you.  You also need to remember that what may work for you may not work for everyone else, because that is what can make you too opinionated for even your closest friends.  Here are the things we need to stop imposing our personal opinions on other parents (unless they ask for advice).

1.  Breastfeeding

I am a huge breastfeeding advocate.  I think it is healthy, beneficial, and of course free.  It was my choice, but that doesn't mean you are wrong if you choose not to.  Like all of the topics I will cover this one gets people crazy.  I have actually seen people attack others for choosing to formula feed instead of breastfeed.  Saying things like "selfish" "you don't care about the health of your baby" or even "formula is poison! you are feeding your baby poison!!".  Seriously?  How a woman decides to feed her baby is entirely HER decision, it is a decision she has thought long and hard about and has come to the conclusion that is best for HER.  No one has any right to tell a new mom how she should feed her baby, or question the first major decision she has made regarding her baby.  You can be pro breastfeeding without making others feel like crap.  So unless an opinion is asked of you, keep your negativity to yourself (and your possibly insane comments)

2.  Vaccinations

Oh man this is a crazy one.  Within the last 10 years more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children due to the fear of Autism and the level of mercury used to preserve the vaccines.  Parents with Autism swear that vaccinations are to blame, which started a panic.  Now I don't know one way or another, but I would never discredit or attack a person whose views may differ from mine.   One of the people most seem to "blame" is Jenny McCarthy (who I love).  Sure she has been the most outspoken celebrity against vaccines, but so what?  Who is anyone to judge the way she decides to take care of HER child?  I saw it first hand the other day when I responded to a tweet she had written.  She posted a funny picture and under the comments one guy started laying into her saying how she is responsible for killing children, diseases coming back, and called her a "fucking moron" among other things.  The first thing that popped in my head was why the hell does this guy follow someone he hates?  The second is this person has no business attacking the way she parents.  Choosing to vaccinate or not vaccinate YOUR child should be based on YOUR research.  It is ridiculous to "single out" (ha ha see what I did there? huh? huh?) one person based on their beliefs.  Its not like she is the only one to speak out against vaccinations.  It is OK to disagree, but you don't need to be an ass about it.

3. Car Seats

One thing as parents we can all agree on is wanting to keep our children as safe as possible.  One of the best defenses in doing so, are car seats.  Now when my mom was a baby, they didn't have car seats, my car seat was like a bucket with straps, and even my sister had one of those with the huge bar across the front.  Now there are car seats with airbags, I'm not kidding, because I own two of them.  When I had my first son 8 1/2 years ago you were supposed to rear face the car seat for at least one year.  Same when I had my second son 4 years ago.  Now it is recommended to rear face for at least 2 years, but they say to do it as long as possible.  My daughter just turned 2 this month and on her birthday I turned her forward.  It was my own educated decision that I am comfortable with.  There are many out there who DO NOT agree with that, and its fine, but to be honest I am tired of seeing these horribly anger and profanity laced "debates" about it.  Much like the breastfeeding debate, people get nuts when you don't see things their way.  If you want to educate people fine, but don't attack them when they post a picture of their child in the backseat and it isn't to your liking.  It isn't any of your business.  Hopefully that parent has done their research and picked what they felt was best for their child.  I can tell you right now your opinionated passive-aggressive comment, or  comment posted with a "car seat safety link" will never go over well.  So just don't.

4.  Homeschooling

We all want our children to be educated, as smart as possible.  Homeschooling is something that has always been around, but has really picked up steam in the past few years.  With things like online classes, and even Skype, it is easier than ever.  Some parents choose to home school because of the violence in schools, or because their child is a slower or faster learner, or just because they don't trust their specific school district.  Whatever the reason may be they made the decision for a reason.  The cliche about home schooled children being isolated is unfortunate as homeschooling has come a long way.  When some people hear "We decided to start homeschooling Timmy" they really hear "We want Timmy to become anti-social and grow up to be a serial killer"  It is pretty sad but the reality of what certain people think.  Home schooled children still participate in school events, and even have field trips and social events.  It is not as isolated as so many still think, and I suggest you do your homework if you are going to try and tell a parent they are going to turn their kid into a serial killer. 

5.  Milestones

Never ever EVER compare your child to another, it will either make you look like a douche, or have you so panicked you will develop carpel tunnel from googling.  Just because Johnny is crawling at 4 months and Timmy isn't doesn't mean his motor skills are bad.  If Johnny starts talking before Timmy it doesn't mean Timmy has a speech problem.  If Johnny gets teeth before Timmy, it doesn't mean Timmy is going to need baby dentures, so calm down.  Every child hits different milestones at different times.  The books you see on the shelves are only there as guides to project when you may expect your child to his a certain milestone.  Try to keep the comparisons to a minimum, especially if your baby is ahead of everyone else.  No one likes a bragger, or a one-upper.  Sometimes it is better to just listen to the other person without interjecting about your kid.

All I'm saying with this is we need to be respectful of others, and their choices.  We will never agree on everything, because that just isn't how the world works.  If that were the case the word "war" wouldn't exist.  It is fine to be opinionated, but make sure that you aren't being overbearing, or lecturing others who don't want to hear it.  Like I said before, you DO know everything, and you ARE the smartest, most loving and educated parent, but only to your children.  Try and keep that in mind next time you want to lay into someone who doesn't see things the same way you do.


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