Surprise! It turns out there isn’t just ONE correct way to parent your child(ren). But wouldn’t the books, blogs, experts and the neighbor like for you to think there is, or at least they’d like you to believe there is a BEST way. Those of us dedicating our professional lives to helping women and their families during the childbearing year know that the best way for you to parent is how you parent! No, this doesn’t mean that every parent is a perfect parent for their child(ren). And it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some areas of your parenting that could be improved. But what it does mean is that most parents are doing what they believe is the best for their families.
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to parenting choices (even non-parents!). And that is okay. What isn’t okay is for anyone to believe that they know the ONE TRUE way to parent all children all the time. And, if you are a parent, you’ve probably come across someone who suggests you are doing it all wrong. Some of the many decisions parents have to make for their families include birthing (hospital/home/epidural/natural/vaginal/c-section/etc), feeding (breast/bottle/pumping/organic/veg/vegan/DIY/ease/etc), sleeping (crib/co/bedshare/naps/training/etc), getting around (carrier/baby wearing/car seat/stroller/etc), working (stay-at-home/work/childcare/nanny/daycare/etc), schooling (public/private/charter/homeschool/freeschool/unschool/etc), home life (screen time/play time/bed time/meal time/outside time/etc), and extra-curriculars (music lessons/dance lessons/storytime/summer camps/martial arts/sports/etc). There are so many decisions to be made and we can only do the best we can do.
Imagine if your family, neighbors and friends decided to support you – whether they thought your way was the best way or not – in your parenting journey, rather than criticize your every move. What would that support do for your self-confidence as a parent? We think that most people would agree that feeling supported would help parents feel more confident about their decisions, and come to parenting feeling ready and able. Let us be clear that we are not endorsing child abuse and neglect. We are endorsing parenting choices that come from the individual without being made to feel bad or wrong or incompetent. As humans, we are all on a journey of learning, and we continue to do so throughout our lives. Next time you witness a parenting choice you don’t agree with, imagine yourself in their place and send out a little energy of love and support.