Where SHOULD You Change the Baby?

My Facebook feed has been blowing up this morning.  The mommy groups, the cloth diapering groups, and my friends list are all talking about the same thing: a mother decided to change the baby at the table in a restaurant.  She and her family were booted.

Okay, in all fairness, she didn’t pop her newborn baby on the table and change the diaper right in plain view.  She made the decision to put down the change pad and change the baby on the chair at her table.  Regardless of how one wants to justify the decision, the baby was changed in the dining area.

So, moving on…  I’ll be direct on my feelings on this.

[Read more…]

You Have Failed As A Parent. Really?

Yesterday, I’d written about the parenting fail of not buckling your child in their infant safety seat.  That post was inspired by a thread on my home message board.  While there are a couple of truly heinous instances of parenting fail, most of the comments added are things that wouldn’t exactly cause a reasonable person to point and say “You have failed as a parent.”

Sure, maybe some of them aren’t sterling examples of good parenting skills, but really, I can’t say that you have failed as a parent because you let your dog lick the baby.  Honestly, with Winston the Wonder Chihuahua in my house, I’ve already realized that trying to get your dog to keep his tongue to himself is often a losing battle.  At this point, I just try to keep the dog from licking Norton’s face and hands.  Anything else is pretty much fair game.

Other instances that mothers cited when posting in the bad mommy thread were letting their babies co-sleep.  Okay, fine, I’m not a fan of baby bed sharing.  I feel that it’s a nasty habit in terms of being hard to break (I co-slept until Kindergarten, and so did my oldest child), plus it’s not safe for me to do this in my house.  But, then again, I also tend to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics to the point of insanity.

However, there’s a whole school of parenting thought that centers around concepts like baby bed sharing and babywearing.  I’m not going to say to someone that you have failed as a parent because you’re into attachment parenting.  Just because it’s not right for me or my family doesn’t mean that it’s not right for you.  I’m not willing to slam your parenting skills because you follow the advice of a different doctor.  I just hope that you at least attempt to follow Dr. Sears’ guidelines for safe baby bed sharing.

Another common one that was listed in the “I’m a bad mommy” thread was letting babies sleep in the swing.  I confess, I’m guilty of that one.  You know what?  He doesn’t sleep very well or very long in his crib, even though we’ve set the mattress up on an incline.  He doesn’t sleep at all in his pack n play.  He seems to be showing signs of infant reflux.

I’m not going to apologize or refer to myself as a bad parent because I want to sleep and not have my kid covered in baby barf all the time.  I’m not going to apologize for wanting food to come out the back end after digestion instead of out of the top end before digestion.

In short, give yourself a break.  Ninety percent of the time, whenever you think that you have failed as a parent in the infant stage, you haven’t.  But if you did commit a major act of parenting fail and post that you are a “bad mommy” because of it, don’t be surprised when people agree with you.

How do you convince yourself to give yourself a break on minor parenting flops?

Originally published on What to Expect on April 13, 2010.

Parenting Decisions – Realizing That You Made the Wrong One

I’ve had a lot of struggles with Andy over the years.  Some of them were because of parenting decisions that I’d made, and others were because of the parenting decisions that were taken away from me when he was young.  Regardless of the reasoning, it hasn’t been an easy road for the two of us.  It took a while, but we have a good relationship, even if it isn’t a traditional one.

I’ve finally had to come to some conclusions about parenting decisions that I’d made about his health.  In short, they were wrong.

When Andy lived with me, his third grade teacher and principal insisted that he was ADHD.  I disagreed, and so did the district psychologist that evaluated him.  I felt pretty darned vindicated, especially given the combative relationship that I had with the administration at that school.  Being right didn’t really help, though.  Andy still had trouble in school.  Not because he wasn’t grasping the materials, but because it was boring and he wasn’t challenged.  I was certain that the issue was them.  Of course, those issues continued when he went back home to Florida.

Last year, his grades were in the toilet.  He was defiant, he was getting in trouble.  He was giving my sister endless grief.  Finally, she took him to our family doctor, the same doctor that treated my parents and my grandmother.  (He knows my family medical history better than I do; he diagnosed the majority of it.)  Our doctor once again broached the idea of ADHD and had him referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist agreed with half of the conclusions that the psychologist and I had come to years ago: he’s a genius and he’s bored.  He disagreed with our “not ADHD” conclusion.

After prescribing some medication and adjusting the doses, Andy has completely turned around.  And for the first time in his life, he’s living up to his potential and making honor roll.  Last quarter, he had a 3.8 GPA.  Unweighted.

I can’t help but wonder how much easier life would have been for Andy if I hadn’t rejected and fought the ADHD label years ago.  I hate playing “what if.”  It’s a game that I can never win.  Second guessing my parenting decisions does nothing but make me a less confident parent.

Have you ever had such clear evidence that your parenting decisions were the wrong ones?  How did you move forward?

Parenting Decisions, Doing Time, and Amber Portwood

Wow. I do not understand the parenting decisions that some people make. (To be fair, there are people who don’t understand some of my parenting decisions, either.). In this case, I’m trying to understand why Amber Portwood of Teen Mom fame would choose to go to jail instead of rehab.

According to news sources, she was offered the opportunity to go to rehab and get cleaned up as part of a plea deal, allowing her to bypass jail altogether.  Her reasoning for backing out?  She told ABC News that “I felt like that wasn’t the life I wanted to live, I felt like I’d rather do my time, and get it over with, and make the best out of the situation that’s been handed to me.”  Whoa.  Seriously?

[Read more…]

Parenting Decisions – Breastfeeding and Ambivalence

There are always a ton of parenting decisions.  Some are easier than other, of course, while others are a struggle.  Even though this is my third child, I still find that I have some tough parenting decisions to make even though the baby hasn’t been born yet.  Some decisions, like whether to co-sleep or not, are not even issues for me.  My bed is far from a safe place based on a husband who takes sleeping pills, a pillow top mattress, three pillows each, a comforter, and two dogs.  The one that I’m still struggling with, though, is something that’s simple for most people.

I’m not sure that I want to be a breastfeeding mom.

[Read more…]