Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hippie granola

When you first discovered you were going to be a parent, what kind of parent did you think you'd be? Or even before that, was there a parent out there you thought you'd emulate, or a parenting style you thought you'd adopt when the time came? I know that I certainly could point out things I would not do--can't we all? That was probably easier for me (still is, if I'm honest) than articulating what kind of a parent I would be.

So, fast forward, now that you are a parent/going to be a parent, have these ideals changed at all? Are you the parent you thought you would be? When I reflect on this, I am amazed, and have to just laugh. I have turned into a bit of a granola lovin' hippie. I have learned, from a parenting networking site that I frequent, that there are two ends of the parenting spectrum. One one end, you have what are referred to as "silky" moms, and on the other end you have "crunchy" moms. Silky moms exclusively use strollers, vaccinate on schedule, their children sleep in cribs, formula feed their babies, begin feeding their babies solid foods by four months, go for easy/convenient/inexpensive food and baby care/cleaning products, they implement the  "cry-it-out method to get their children to sleep, get epidurals, use disposable diapers and circumcise their sons. Crunchy mamas, on the other hand babywear (carry their babies around in slings),  delay, select or deny vaccinations, they co-sleep or bedshare with their children, breastfeed, hold off solid foods until at least six months often practicing baby-led weaning, they buy organic/all natural food and baby care/cleaning products, practice attachment parenting, try for drug-free births, cloth diaper, and will opt not to circumcise their sons.

I guess I am what you could call, a "semi-crunchy" mama. I lean more to that side than I thought I would, and wear that badge with pride. Basically, I do my own research, and I would encourage any parent to do the same. Every aspect of my parenting is well thought out and researched. I carefully consider everything that goes in or on my daughters, and am aware of how their experiences shape who they will become, even as the wee little things that they are. I would hope you would do the same with your own children, and not just do it because that's what the doctor or your mom told you to do. Certainly, the doctor and your mom have some merit, but I, for one, want to have reason apart from their "expertise" that justifies the choices I make for my children. I like that I can articulate the "why" behind the way we have chosen to parent, and can cite sources to back up the way our daughters are being raised and cared for.

Everyone has an opinion, and extremists that lean heavily to one side or the other can certainly offend. No one wants to be accused of doing the wrong thing, or less than the best for their child. Therein begin great debates. Vaccinations vs. no vaccinations; formula feeding vs. breastfeeding--it can get ugly! This was the very best thing that I ever did for my girls--- are you ready? In the midst of doctors, friends and  family telling me what they thought was right for my children, I decided to go with my "mama instincts." Hands down, I know my girls better than any of them ever will. Sometimes, what they say just doesn't feel like the right thing to do--that's "mama instinct"--I trust that feeling. I think God put it there for a reason. From that place, I can then determine what works best for our girls, and make decision that is right for us. I think that "mama guilt" is just part of being a mom, that "I should have/would have/could have" regret is par for the course--we aren't perfect. I find that I have much less "mama guilt" when I hone in on my "mama instincts"--maybe you will too.

From this hippie to you, peace.

8 comments:

Molly said...

You're absolutely right! And, I also think that I could hypothesize as much as I wanted before Keegan was born, but we've had to radically change our view of 'parenting' based on his unique make up. Keegan is allergic to almost everything, so...while I still work full time and am not at home (which in my mind, leads several folks to choose silky vs. crunchy - it's way easier to be crunchy if you're home all of the time), we still have to make most of his food. The only pre-packaged thing he can eat are those little oatmeal packets, and he can even only have two flavors of those! Plus, he's had several medical issues that have changed the way we look at him and look at our choices as parents. Like, for example, vaccinations. I would typically be a bit more choosey about which vaccinations he receives, but since he could easily end up in the hospital if he gets the flu, we went ahead and agreed to get the flu shot. With any other kid, I would've passed. We are continually reminded of things like that which cause us to revisit our hypotheses about parenting we made while we were first married or even pregnant. So...while I anticipated being more silky than I am now, I love being more of a crunchy mom because I love Keegan and I love the way that God has created him and I don't mind cooking a while chicken every three days or doing countless hours of research to find a birthday cake he can eat because I know that's the type of mom i need to be for him & for the life we want him to be able to enjoy & experience.

Chappell3 said...

Your daughters will thank you for it one day! You probably already are reapig the benefits of being attached to your babies. Starting around the tmie birth became a business in the United States, less and less women are listening to their "mama gut". Doctors became God-like and anything that comes out of heir mouth is gospel. Most parents don't question it. Mainstream view are as such, but there is a growing group of crunchies (where ever you are on the spcetrum) that are becoming more and more vocal.
We litsen when our mama-gut scream out that havnig cosmetic surgery preformed on a newborn is wrong and we leave our sons intact. Whe understand that babies NEED the closeness of mommy's skin, heartbeat and breasts long into infancy and toddlerhood.
Asking questions is THE BEST thing you could do for yourself and your baby! I applaud you for following your heart!

Shell said...

Once again friend you make my heart smile. great words of wisdom and I, like you ,lean more towards being a crunchy mama. before max was born I would've proudly labeled myself as a silky mama but after I met him I knew everything about my life was going to be different.

Melissa Ann said...

I totally identify with this too (and I'm sorry if I inspired this post. I think my text came off stronger than I intended though the intention was pure). I, too, am constantly defending parenting choices and backing up with research. Every time I talk to my mom she makes some snide comment about me still nursing these babies (seriously! they're not even a year old!). I fall in the middle of the crunchy side on most issues (I cloth diaper, I make baby food even though I can't afford organic, I love wearing my daughters, I believe in vaxing intelligently and I will not use an antibiotic unless they've run a culture to make sure it's bacterial, we make our own bread, and sometimes even our own yogurt). However, I am a little old school on discipline and sleep habits. I would be a terrible mom with no sleep: I'd cry and lash out and generally resent my babies. So we sleep trained at 6 months when we fell asleep in exhaustion after a night waking and they slept through the night. And since I am taught by Him through discipline (I only learn through a good smack in the face-figuratively... I am a a strong willed child) and God speaks clearly on that subject in his word I feel strongly about that as well.
Parenting is hard. Defending yourself is hard. Dealing with guilt is hard. (again... sorry if I caused this post.. though I'm not even sure you received my message: it's not in my sent box.... so ignore my blubbering if that's the case...)

Jules said...

Molly, you are so right! I think it is easier to be "crunchy" when you stay at home. I'm so sorry that Keegan has allergy issues. My sister had terrible food allergies when she was young. I remember my mom would make us all suffer with things like pizza made with rye. I remember getting so frustrated that we couldn't have "regular" pizza. I also remember that it was a TON of work for my mom to find things that my sister could eat--thank goodness she grew out of her allergies! I so admire that you work AND make all his food. What an amazing mommy--wow! I'm sure you have you hands full--I can't imagine.

Melissa, you did not cause this post--I don't think I got the message you are referring to, but would like to read it. As a fellow twin mama of girls a few months older than mine, I greatly respect and admire you, and any thoughts/advice you might have to throw my way :)

kendra said...

Jules- don't run in fear at this comment, but you just may be my new best friend! HA! =)

Seriously!! I have been LOOKING for a twin Momma like you to chat with! Dave and I SO believe in attachment parenting!! But so far I have only really found parents of singletons that parent that way, and -let's be honest- it's easier with one baby. Not that I would trade my two for ANYTHING, and not that its EASY with one, but, it's easiER. So I am so pleased to "meet" someone who strives to live out attachment parenting with twins.

We received plenty of flack for "spoiling" our babies, to the point where I decided to decline help from certain people.

We have the book "healthy sleep habits, happy twins", and let me tell you, that was a GOD thing. I am SO opposed to CIO. Really. But at 12 weeks we were nursing/rocking the babies to sleep, and it was taking like 40-60 min each night to get them to go down, and as soon as they hit the crib, BOOM eyes wide open. It was SOOO frustrating. And naps were a joke. So our doctor (whom we LOVE and whom supports our attachment parenting and vaccine delaying) suggested this book because it's a SOFT version of LIMITED crying it out to HELP teach your babies to learn to fall asleep on their own, and it explains that this is a skill they do need to learn. Well, I was still on the fence about buying the book or not...I hated the whole idea of "sleep training", but then we had some seriously ridiculous nights of spending close to 2 hours getting them to sleep at night and I was praying about what to do,and then I opened my laptop to research the book on Amazon.com, and checked my email first, and in my inbox was an email from a dear friend that said "I am sending you this book I heard great things about...", and it was that very book. We took that as a sign =). That book offers 3 methods of sleep training, and one of them IS exclusively crying it out ("extinction"), which we never tried. Too harsh for us. But we did do some 5 min crying, then go in, PICK UP AND SOOTHE until drowsy but still awake, then lay back down. Repeat at 10 mint, then 15. And so on. Our kids never needed passed 15. I liked this method because it "allowed" you to actually pick up and completely comfort your baby.

Ramble ramble ramble.

This is turning into the longest comment ever. Sorry about that!!

Anyways, please, please, PUH-LEASE let me know what the sleep nurse advises!! =)

Jules said...

Molly, you are so right! I think it is easier to be "crunchy" when you stay at home. I'm so sorry that Keegan has allergy issues. My sister had terrible food allergies when she was young. I remember my mom would make us all suffer with things like pizza made with rye. I remember getting so frustrated that we couldn't have "regular" pizza. I also remember that it was a TON of work for my mom to find things that my sister could eat--thank goodness she grew out of her allergies! I so admire that you work AND make all his food. What an amazing mommy--wow! I'm sure you have you hands full--I can't imagine.

Melissa, you did not cause this post--I don't think I got the message you are referring to, but would like to read it. As a fellow twin mama of girls a few months older than mine, I greatly respect and admire you, and any thoughts/advice you might have to throw my way :)

Molly said...

You're absolutely right! And, I also think that I could hypothesize as much as I wanted before Keegan was born, but we've had to radically change our view of 'parenting' based on his unique make up. Keegan is allergic to almost everything, so...while I still work full time and am not at home (which in my mind, leads several folks to choose silky vs. crunchy - it's way easier to be crunchy if you're home all of the time), we still have to make most of his food. The only pre-packaged thing he can eat are those little oatmeal packets, and he can even only have two flavors of those! Plus, he's had several medical issues that have changed the way we look at him and look at our choices as parents. Like, for example, vaccinations. I would typically be a bit more choosey about which vaccinations he receives, but since he could easily end up in the hospital if he gets the flu, we went ahead and agreed to get the flu shot. With any other kid, I would've passed. We are continually reminded of things like that which cause us to revisit our hypotheses about parenting we made while we were first married or even pregnant. So...while I anticipated being more silky than I am now, I love being more of a crunchy mom because I love Keegan and I love the way that God has created him and I don't mind cooking a while chicken every three days or doing countless hours of research to find a birthday cake he can eat because I know that's the type of mom i need to be for him & for the life we want him to be able to enjoy & experience.