5 10/29/2010 parenting

On Being a “Bad” Mom

Earlier this week Erin wrote a post about the type of mom she thought she would be and how those plans have worked for her so far. It got me thinking about the type of mom that I am and the type of mom that I’m not. I guess I’m what you would call NON-organic. 

A discussion you will likely never see me participate in is one about breastfeeding. You see, even before I was pregnant I knew that I would not be a breast-feeder. That opinion didn’t change throughout my pregnancy or after my son was born. It hasn’t changed now that I’m pregnant with my second. It’s not that I’m anti-breastfeeding, not at all, I have mad respect for moms who do. It’s just a decision I made for myself. I’ve been very lucky to have friends, family and even doctors who have supported my decision. I know that not all formula feeding moms are that lucky.

I’m also looking forward to my upcoming c-section. I know right? Again I have nothing against those women who choose natural/home/water births, it’s just not for me. Though for the life of me I just can’t comprehend wanting to do it without the pain meds, holy moses those meds are awesome. My first c-section wasn’t necessarily planned but I had a feeling all along that Chase’s birth would happen that way. After three hours of pushing it became clear to everyone else that he was most definitely not going to fit the natural way. Again, I wouldn’t dream of judging a woman who chose a different birth plan, all I ask is the same in return. Please don’t try to tell me that I missed out on “the miracle of birth” just because I had a c-section. I’m willing to bet that I was just as overwhelmed with love when the doctor handed me my baby as you were when you first held yours.

I could go on and on about all the ways I’m “doing it wrong” but here’s the thing, I’m not. As for all those moms who do it differently than me? They aren’t doing it wrong either. It is my absolute belief that so long as your child is happy, healthy and well adjusted then you are doing it just right.

**sidebar: This is one of my favorite things about the Urban Moms writing staff and community, we all have such different approaches to parenting and yet we all SUPPORT each other. I don’t really think I’m a “bad” mom either nor do I think any of you think I am. 

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  • Erin Little

    Phew Jen! I’m glad you didn’t think that my post was a judgment of anyone else.
    Nat, I am not more vocal about my choices, I don’t talk about it a lot, because many people would shit all over me for co-sleeping. Lots of people see it as denying children independence, not letting them learn how to self-soothe, etc. In fact, most of my choices are frowned upon, at a minimum) by the “mainstream”. In fact, a few of my posts are about being called an extremist.
    No one who writes for urbanmoms would call your choices selfish. Every family makes choices that work best for them.
    In my post that Jen refers to was meant to talk about the positives (because I beat myself up with the best of them), and my realization that I’m not perfect and that’s OK.

  • Nat

    I feel that mothers like Erin are a lot more vocal about their choices, where as mothers like me are a lot more self conscious about ours. I did breastfeed for 3 months (that’s when the milk ran dry) but I will definitely not consider this a highlight of motherhood. I felt isolated, depressed and restricted, as I was not comfortable breastfeeding in public. AND I never had enough milk to do it anyway, so the sheer guilt of it all ate at me every day. Still does. Guilt for not having enough milk and guilt for being happy that it all ended at 3 months. And no, taking hormones to increase breast milk supply is not a healthy option.
    Also, we do not co-sleep. I love snuggling with my little one, but ultimately, I want her in her bed and me in my bed, with my husband. We bring her to our bed when she’s upset during the night or early in the mornings on weekends. It is precious time, and we really enjoy it. But we also enjoy the fact that we not only get good night’s sleep, but also have a healthy adult life outside our child. (I would also bring her to bed with me if she were sick, but at 16 months, thank god, that hasn’t happened yet).
    We buy organic. Not to the point of insanity, because it is not always possible. But I do go out of my way to drive a lot to get the best meats I can. And buy local veggies and fruits when in season. I also work her diet around fruits, veggies, dairy, grains + quality meats once a day. Lately family members have been introducing sweet breads (which i’m not happy about), but at 16 months, I’m not killing anyone over it.
    School… I’m doing everything I can to keep her out of day care. Mostly because I have that option without quitting my job, and not because I don’t believe in the education system. I just don’t want her picking up bad habits from other kids who’s parents’ parenting style I do not agree with. I will try to keep this up for as long as I can. At 4 years old, I’m hoping she will go to the best private school. Not because we’re rich, but because we believe in quality education and had an opportunity for best education from our parents. I, personally, do not feel that I have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide adequate learning at the level I want her to develop.
    I’m sorry if this is not something that completely relates to your article. I just wanted to say that there will be as many opinions as there are parents. However, I am a bit tired of having to defend my more “selfish ways” of parenting to more “selfless” mommies and daddies. There are many shades of gray in the world. I’m just one of them.

  • JenB.

    I meant exactly the opposite Erin…or something like that. Your post just led me to think about my own personal decisions. It also made me realize just how lucky I am to be a part of a community that supports so many different parenting styles and approaches.

  • Margot

    Jen, first off, your Chase is a great, big cutie, & he’s rockin’ some stylish shoes there!!
    I honestly think that as Moms we are our own worst enemy. We make decisions on what we (& our spouses) feel is right & then have those decisions constantly questioned by each other. The only reason I can come up with is that parenting is SUCH a personal choice, that when other people advocate their differing parenting choices it only serves to invalidate/question our own choices. Or vice versa. There is nothing people are more sensitive about than their children.
    That being said, I have to echo your statement about the fact that urbanmoms is a fabulous place to engage in conversation between Moms (& Dads!!!) with an overall sense of support & acceptance.

  • Erin Little

    Jen,
    I hope you don’t think that my post was implying that others styles of parenting are wrong. I don’t think that. My post was really about what type of mother I thought I would be before my kids were born and if those ideas panned out.
    I agree with you, if your children are happy and well adjusted, you are doing a great job.

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