Parenting Stress and the Pressure to be a Perfect Parent

I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I know that every parent has bad days when things go wrong.  But still, that doesn’t help me feel any better.  I feel like I need to be the perfect parent in order to be good enough.

This pressure results in more parenting stress than I need.  And no one in my life is putting this pressure on me.  I do it to myself.

I came home from Strong Start earlier today feeling like a completely inadequate and overwhelmed mom.  In fact, I paused while writing my blog post yesterday to just cry for a while… and spent the rest of the day feeling like a terrible mother.  If I were a better mom, I’d be able to handle Strong Start like a super star.  I wouldn’t have felt like an overwhelmed mom who just wanted to go curl up in a ball and hide in a corner.  If I were a better mom, I’d have been able to do something as simple as toddler time at the library without taking my kid to the hospital. [Read more…]

Hot Topic Tuesday – Family Sleeping Arrangements

Hot Topic TuesdaysWhen you ask an expectant mother where her baby will sleep, she has a definite answer.  Granted, sometimes the answer changes once the mother goes from being an expectant mother to being a mother, but still, when it comes to where the baby will sleep, that’s something that everyone has an opinion on.  The usual three plans are bed sharing or co-sleeping (having the baby right in bed with you), rooming in (having the baby in a crib, cradle, or something else in parents’ room), or having baby sleep in his own nursery from the very beginning.

Everyone will have a reason for why they do what they do, and it will be a very valid reason… for that family. [Read more…]

The Origin of Breastfeeding Issues and Attempting to Overcome Them

I have never made a secret of my breastfeeding issues.  My breastfeeding issues aren’t things like poor milk supply or latch problems.  Instead, I have breastfeeding problems of the psychological variety.  (Thanks, Mom.)  I grew up with my mother insisting that breastfeeding was trashy, disgusting, dirty, etc.  I had no positive breastfeeding images to counter that.  For a long time, I was uncomfortable with other people breastfeeding around me…  But before you decide to string me up or cite laws, I’ll also let you know that I never, ever suggested that a breastfeeding mom stop breastfeeding.  I was never so arrogant as to presume that my discomfort trumped someone else’s right to feed her baby.  I figured that there were plenty of other directions to look, so I just did that.  My breastfeeding issues are my problem, not anyone else’s.  I didn’t get over my discomfort with being around breastfeeding until I found a lot of mommy friends (mostly online, but a few in “meat space”) who breastfed.  But that just meant that I was okay with being around my friends who were in the act, not that I was okay with it and found it normalized to the point that I was able to do so.  And it was years after my mother’s death that I got to the point of even being okay around it.  But the mere thought of me being the one to do the breastfeeding brings about unpleasant reactions, ranging from discomfort to nausea. [Read more…]

Approaching Crunchy Parenting – Me? Really?

I always scoffed at crunchy parenting.  I mean, sure, if crunchy parenting is your bag, no problem, but I never, ever considered myself to be even remotely crunchy.  I’m noticing, though, as I get older, I seem to lean more towards crunchy parenting than I had ever thought possible.

Cloth diapers – With my first born (who is almost 14), using cloth diapers never even occurred to me.  I thought using cloth diapers still involved those awful Birdseye diapers with pins that my oldest sister and my mother had used.  Fourteen years ago, I suspect that it still did.  I exclusively used disposable diapers, just like most other people.  Now, using cloth diapers means vibrant choices, a variety of closures, and different levels of absorption and dryness.  I love using cloth diapers, and have way too many because they are just so darned fun.

Breastfeeding – My mother had some pretty strong anti-breastfeeding biases that I grew up with.  She passed those biases on to me.  With my firstborn, anyone breastfeeding made me uncomfortable.  (I’d never actually say anything; my discomfort was not their problem, of course.)  With Norton, I was still disgusted with the idea of myself breastfeeding, so I exclusively pumped until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  It was seriously effecting my mental well-being to the point that my lactivist friends encouraged me to quit.  But I was okay with other people doing it.  This time around?  I’m thinking that maybe, possibly, I might consider trying it.  But it still scares the crap out of me.  After all, I tried once with Norton out of desperation, and I almost threw up on him.

Approaching Crunchy Parenting (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Wearing Norton in a Snugli in front of Lake Louise, Alberta

Babywearing – With my first born, the possibilities of babywearing never occurred to me.  It just wasn’t really done then.  With Norton, we did some babywearing when he was tiny and we were going on some outdoor adventures.  Our adventures in babywearing happened in Hell’s Gate Canyon, Bridal Falls, the Ancient Forest, Lake Louise, and other wondrously beautiful places.  I kicked myself for letting the husband talk me into trying to bring Norton up to the Seattle Space Needle in his travel system since they didn’t allow strollers.  I always wished that we’d gone with babywearing instead of the husband lugging Norton around in his bucket.  I started out with a ring sling and a Snugli.  Now I’ve got a ring sling, a Snugli, an Ergo, and a Moby wrap.  And I really, really want to do more babywearing with this baby.  I figure it will make it easier to chase after Norton.Natural childbirth – I had never in my life really given much thought to looking a natural childbirth option.  After my oh so horrible vaginal childbirth, I knew that I would never have a baby without an epidural.  But now?  I’m bound and determined to have a VBAC delivery.  It was the husband’s idea, but I’m running with it.  Since we’re not able to get a midwife (which has me starting to think about a career path), we’re considering a doula and hypnobirthing.

I’m not sure what’s changed.  Maybe it’s education.  Maybe it’s age.  Maybe I’m just hanging out with cooler friends to influence me rather than my mother’s archaic prejudices.  It’s all possible.  The end result, though, is me sitting here scratching my head and wondering how close to crunchy parenting I’m going to come.

Approaching Crunchy Parenting – Me? Really?

I always scoffed at crunchy parenting.  I mean, sure, if crunchy parenting is your bag, no problem, but I never, ever considered myself to be even remotely crunchy.  I’m noticing, though, as I get older, I seem to lean more towards crunchy parenting than I had ever thought possible. [Read more…]

Judgment and Practicing What You Preach

I think religion can be a wonderful thing.  It can inspire people to live their lives a better way, to be kinder to their fellow man, and to strive to be as good and moral as possible.  Some of the mothers that I respect the most are deeply spiritual people who are guided in every move by their faith.  They don’t just talk a good game; they live their beliefs every day.

I also think that religion can be a detriment in the hands of the wrong person.  I’m not just talking about the big picture thing like the various holy wars of history.  (Remember the Crusades?)  Nor am I talking about the martyring of people like Sir Thomas More and Anne Askew.  I’m talking about the every day average hypocrite. [Read more…]