I’ve always been a little different than everyone else but I had no idea what this would mean if I had a baby. I had some idea of how I wanted to parent. I studied psychology and preschool education for a while and learned about how much influence you have on shaping your child. After all, you’re all they know for a while and the person that teaches them how to live in this world.
I should have suspected during my pregnancy that I would be a different parent. I was set on a natural birth and my growing baby became my #1 priority however, I felt like I was just being a future mom.
Maybe all the nurses at the hospital congratulating me for having my baby without an epidural should have tipped me off…it was just the beginning of my journey as a different type of mom.
I don’t know how or when the journey began for you, and I think it started during my pregnancy for me…but I really became a “different” person once I had my precious daughter in my arms.
Here she is. A tiny human being that depends 100% on me to get fed, dressed, sleep, play, learn, pretty much everything. It is a huge responsibility and I wanted to give her the BEST I could. So what did I do? I started researching A LOT.
Since she would nap in my arms this gave me plenty of time for reading. I was doing a lot of things a different way and wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing… I would also find new information that would prompt me to try new things.
This led me to question a lot of the things we are “supposed” to do with our babies.
I have to be honest, after I learned all this new information and followed my instincts I was pretty firm on how I wanted to raise my daughter but I kept it to myself.
I shared it with my husband, of course, he’s my partner in crime. 🙂 I also shared it with my parents which have ALWAYS supported me in all my “crazy” ways and I shared some with my mother in law, who is a pretty nice lady – I got lucky.
However, I felt like I would be judged if our friends knew how different my baby was being raised compared to theirs, so I shared with my online community of “crunchy” moms and didn’t say much to our friends.
I wasn’t hiding or ashamed of my decisions. If I was asked about them I was honest but I wasn’t announcing to everyone how we are raising our daughter. I think because I don’t like confrontation and mostly because I feel I don’t need to give anyone any explanations on how and why I raise my daughter. She is MY daughter after all and the only person allowed to have a say on what we do is my husband. We do listen to other people and points of view and analyze what they say but it always comes down to what we feel is right for her.
It also bugs me that when I hear comments of criticism toward my parenting style I feel bad. I guess we all want to be accepted but at the end of the day what truly matters is my daughter and not what anyone thinks!
Why do I say all this?
Because sharing with other moms like me has made me realize people are always challenging us and questioning what we do. We are packed with knowledge and studies and we can argue our point but honestly who wants to do that?
I just want to be able to parent without criticism because I don’t criticize other parents, even if I strongly feel what they do is wrong.
After all, each parents does the best they can with the knowledge they have at that time. Each child is different and each parent will do what they feel is best for them so I will never criticize another parent. I may offer information if I’m being asked or share why I do what I do but I won’t “attack” anyone for their parenting style.
I feel we should all be able to share, whether we parent the same way or not. No one is an expert. No one has all the answers. Everyone is doing the best they can and by sharing our thoughts and ways we might learn more and offer our children a better life. There is no need to argue, to defend a point blindly nor to censor certain topics. We can all be friends, even if we don’t agree. We can all learn from each other and above all, we can agree to disagree without being judgmental.
What does all this mean for me?
It means I parent the way I feel is the best for my daughter. My parenting style has many aspects of attachment, natural and holistic parenting but I can’t put a name to it because I’m constantly learning and my baby is teaching me what she prefers, so my parenting style is my own.
I follow my daughter’s lead. I see her cues and listen to her – even at this small age she likes things a certain way and I respect her wishes.
So what does my parenting style imply?
I feel strongly about breast feeding. I am blessed not have any issues with it and I exclusively breast feed, at home and in public. My daughter won’t take a bottle and I refuse to feel shame because I feed her in public.
When will I stop nursing? When my daughter decides she’s had enough.
I bed share. Yes, you read that right. My baby sleeps in bed with us and no, she has not even been close to dying because of this. On the contrary, she sleeps great and has full access to her buffet: my boobs!
When will I stop bed sharing? When my daughter decides she’s ready to sleep on her own.
I make our toothpaste and as many body and cleaning products as I can. When I can’t make them, I buy toxic free ones.
I make our own probiotics to make sure my family can have the best.
I buy organic produce, 100% of the time for my daughter and as much as I can for us.
I avoid processed foods and cook most of our meals so we don’t have to eat out much.
I buy toxic free toys and baby products.
I questioned vaccines and I learned about each vaccine, each disease, the current vaccine schedule, a delayed vaccine schedule and a no vaccine lifestyle.
I do my own version of baby led weaning. I will not feed my baby purées, she can feed herself whatever she wants. I believe food before 1 is for playing and breast milk will be her main food source for now.
I believe in teaching her at home as much as she wants to learn. I believe in home schooling as much as I believe in going to a regular school.
My daughter naps in my arms every single day.
I don’t believe in the cry it out method nor sleep training – and I never will.
I don’t believe babies can self soothe.
I love baby wearing!
I believe my baby only needs me this much for a short period of time so I will give her my all. That means sometimes I have to drop what I’m doing to be with her and I don’t care.
I believe in love. I believe in raising her in a very loving environment. I believe in raising a child that feels unconditional love and that learns that we are always here for her.
Above all I love seeing her beautiful smile all the time and you know what? I get to see it A LOT!! She is such a happy baby and for me that’s all I need to know that I’m doing what’s best for her.
So if you’re a mama like me, if you feel judged or are questioned, take a breathe and let it go. Let people do their own thing and you do yours. After all, I’m sure you decided to become this mama after a lot of researching and reading, so you know what you’re doing is best. Remember we don’t all have to agree to get along and we can learn how to share without arguing, and if not, then breathe, let it go…
One last thing, congratulations to all the “crunchy” mamas out there! It is not an easy job but a very rewarding one.
Within the next few months I will post in details of the things I mentioned in this post and believe in so be sure to check back.
Are you a “crunchy” mama? Have you encounter criticism and questioning? How do you cope with it?
My sweet Cami,
I do all this for you and only for you.
I love you more than I could ever tell you in words. You light up my life and you have made me a better person.
I will always be grateful you decided to become a part of our family.