The Gray Space

Parenting isn’t so black and white. I am only 16 months in but it is very clear that you don’t know a damn thing until you experience it. Even when you have experienced it once, it may be very different for the next child, for the next birth, for the next moment that comes along that requires you to make a decision big or small.

Before I became a parent I was quick to make bold statements that I would never let my child use an ipad. I was so sure about the things that I would or would not feed my child. The things I would allow, the things I would not allow. I apologize for my ignorance and the arrogance of my statements. I would say I have a significant amount of experience working with children. This somehow justified my statements even more. I don’t think I was the worst person out there making such statements but, I played my shitty part. If you’re not a parent, I’m pretty sure you are playing a little bit of that part. I hear it all the time. I hear it from one parent to another and from one single person to another parent. I hear it all the time. The you should be doing this not that, have you heard of this technique, that technique.

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My mother used to tell me all the time when I was in my teens, especially, that she wished she had someone to make parenting decisions with. I always rolled my eyes and would think, “just make a decision, it’s not that hard.” Mamma, I apologize. I know now, that things can be THAT hard. We’re not even parents of teenagers yet.

Decisions are not so easy to make. Yes, there are some that are very easy to make. Don’t do the clearly wrong thing, don’t kill anyone, don’t run a red light and put others in harms way, don’t text and drive, there are plenty of easy decisions we make—-for ourselves. Parenting decisions come with a great deal of responsibility. They also come with a certain degree of doubt. Are we investing in the right thing? Do we move into a bigger place or size down and save? Do I vaccinate my child? Do we space them out? Do we do them all at once? Should I catch my daughter every time she falls or let her fall?

I have recently decided that we are going to switch to cloth diapering. It was a decision I made to cut costs and save as well as transition our little girl to underwear and hopefully what will turn into potty training before our second little one is born. We don’t wear diapers at home. Luckily little miss does not like the feeling of peeing on herself so we have been able to slowly move things to the toilet. The poop thing is a little trickier. She hates it to the point where she can make herself constipated. She pushes at the same time as squeezing her butt-cheeks and legs to stop anything from happening! As a result, or reaction, I have been taking her to the toilet and helping her sit on it. The new technique has been to sit behind her as I bend her legs and let her do her thing. She fights it. She fights it then is so relieved and goes right back to reading her millions of books.

Today I thought mayyyyybe it wasn’t a good idea to sit behind her like that. Am I traumatizing her? Is this the right thing? Should I just let her do her thing—-on the floor? It sounds so ridiculous. It’s quite hilarious, actually. But seriously, how could I have so many doubts about my daughters pooping? If I don’t sit behind her she’ll fall in the toilet. She won’t sit on her own toilet, her legs are locked out. How is this so hard?!

Because things aren’t so black and white. I made the decision that I thought was best, as we all do in our parenting decisions.

The truth of it all is, in this whole parenting thing, is that decisions, no matter how big or how small are not so simple. We are raising humans. It might seem simple from the outside looking in, but it isn’t. It’s easy to judge but as parents we are individuals with our own personalities, our own beliefs, our own baggage. Our children are individuals, they grow at their own pace, they have their own experiences, they have their own personalities, they have their own determinations. It may not be appropriate to parent each child the same way. Their health needs may be different. Their behavioral needs may be different, as well as their emotional, cognitive, and physical needs. They are all different. It may seem black and white from the outside.

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“You have to be fair and give them all the same things at the same time.” “You’re spoiling your kids.” “You’re going to make one feel more important than the other.”

But really, you don’t know shit. More often than not, everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have. People need different things, children need different things. There are always decisions to be made, you will probably make a not so favorable decision at least once. That’s ok.

Unless you scar your child by sitting behind her on the pooper to relieve her anus. Oh man…

Doing the best we can,

Raffaella

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