Monday, June 3, 2013

Why I'm a Terrible Parent: According to the internet

      If I had a dollar for ever time my better half told me to stop arguing over the internet I would be rich. As a technologically connected mom I tend to run into all kinds of articles and blog posts that typically cover a dozen or so common topics of the "Mommy Wars" rampaging on the internet. I can be a little defensive when criticized just myself, but criticize our choices in parenting and I can get downright worked up. Even when things aren't directed specifically at me, I still get this defensive feeling. If Kenny hears me sigh or sees the eyes roll while I'm looking at Facebook or any form of internet, usually the comment of "stop it" follows.
      It's only natural, I mean as a parent you would like to think your choices are the best because anything less than that and you're not doing your job right? Well the problem with parenting is: every kid is different. Every family is different. Parenting is NOT a one size fits all kind of thing. The problem with a lot of these mommy wars topics is people are trying to make it that way and in the process are undermining decent parental choices made by others. It's like that "One size fits all" hat I had for Roxas when he was little, that kid has an abnormally large head (seriously it's off the growth chart) and trying to cram a giant noggin into a cute little hat just results in a lot of crying for both me and the baby.
     Yes, there are some things that have been studied and deemed the safest/best choice for children (for now) and should be listened to. Of course, in 20 something years they will do another study and find out that the best/safest choice in 2013 might as well been a recommendation to allow your child to play with wild rhinos. It's just how the world works. Don't be an idiot, although in today's society that might be asking a lot, and make the choices that work best for your family and I'm willing to bet your kids will turn out just fine. Or at least make it to 18.
        Now, I'm not claiming sainthood here. I've done my fair share of parent bashing, although I try to just keep my comments and thoughts to myself. I've mentally criticized another parent on their choices when honestly they just weren't the ones I'd make. I need to get better about that and take some of my own advice and just shut up. I realize my choices might be great for our family, or they might not be and I'll learn, but they may not be great for another family. Just because it's not the choice I would make, doesn't mean it's wrong.
     I was reading the comments section on an article regarding car seat safety. If you've never done this I encourage you to sit and have a good laugh. It's very entertaining. Anyways, all kinds of stuff got brought up and it got me thinking about what I would probably get nailed to the message board wall for if I admitted it on the internet. So, get your pitchforks out and assemble the mob...

15 Reasons I'm An Awful Parent According to the Internet

1) I fed my baby commercially made jarred baby food, oh the humanity, instead of organic home cooked food. I'd also like to add that I feed Roxas those little "graduates" microwave meals on occasions when I'm just too pooped to make something. Yes, I'm a horrible person.

2) I did 3d/4d/HD and any other kind of scan they could dream up. Those 15 minute scans have probably done irreparable damage to my kids. Those scans are completely unsafe! I must be so selfish to put the life of my children over my wants.

3) I gave my one year old a bite of a chipmates (they weren't even chips ahoy) cookie. Yup, he will definitely get diabetes. I also let my one year old have a sip of soda. A sip. Surely he will be doomed to a life of obesity.

4) I fed my baby formula after my milk dried up due to the pregnancy rather than try to seek out donated milk.

5) We let our son cry it out (within reason- we wouldn't let him cry for 2,3 or 4 hours) after 6 months of age. According to the internet he will be severely brain damaged now.

6) I put our infant carrier on the shopping cart. This is a biggie and I KNOW, I's "not safe" yadda yadda yadda. Chances are I will still do it with Lucy, get over it. I could risk their lives in much more creative ways.

7) I don't strap everything down (purse, cell, blanket, toy, sippy cup) in the car. Again I refer you to number 6. The risk is small enough for me to be alright with it.

8) I vaccinate. I vaccinate myself, our son, the dogs and I try my best with the husband. Surely one of us is going to be autistic at some point.

9) I eat a bunch of crap. I love food, I love fresh food...I usually can't afford fresh food. This results in eating a lot of things that come out of boxes, and drive thru windows. Then what fresh fruits and veggies we can afford are probably loaded with hormones, genetically modified who knows what and probably at least 7 carcinogens. We're all doomed, but at least our belly's are full.

10) I gave our son a pacifier (or binky, or dummy, or whatever you call it). He now only gets it at nap time or bedtime but surely this means he will be some co-dependent mooch the rest of his life.

11) I give Roxas juice, and let's toss milk in too while we're on the subject of beverages. Now at least it's 100% actual juice diluted at least 50:50 with water but still I might as well be giving him antifreeze. You know...since it's sweet and deadly.*cricket* ok Then I give him whole milk, from a cow. Oh the horror. I should be giving him soy milk with all that lovely natural estrogen in it, because that's what little boys need right? It's milk. It's not the end of the world.

12) I let Roxas play with my phone/kindle/xbox/any piece of technology that will entertain him. I also let him watch TV. His brain is turning to mush as we speak.

13) I drink soda, diet soda at that, while pregnant. I do actually keep track of the caffeine level I take it but other than can pry my diet dr. pepper can out of my cold, dead, cancer riddled body.

14) I don't teach Roxas stuff, well intentionally at least. I actually feel really guilty about this one. We don't read books really (he'd rather throw them) and we don't do flash cards or teach him shapes. I just play with him and hope we don't end up with the kid who can't count to 5 by kindergarten.

15) Every moment is not rainbow puppies and unicorn hearts. For some reason moms are expected to enjoy every single moment like it is somehow the best of their lives. Yeah there are those moments but when your kid has thrown the last toy out of the cart and is screaming when you still have half a grocery list to kind of just want to leave them there.

     So. There you have it. I have nothing but excuses for that list, not one valid irrefutable reason as to why, and you know what? Who really cares? Besides the angry mob of internet mommies out there convinced I should be arrested for child abuse. He's our kid, and it's our family. I know my choices have consequences, and I'm choosing to accept all the risks that come with them. I'm even willing to admit here in the open internet: some of my choices could be better. Maybe I'll work on it. I probably won't but why not be optimistic here.

     So, if you don't judge me then I won't judge you. I won't roll my eyes next time you post something about how awful _________ is. I won't silently judge you when I see you've made a choice opposite of mine. I will assume you have your reasons for choosing to live the way you do and continue to live my life the way I do. Can't we all just get along? Probably not but I tried.

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