Extreme Parenting.

Extreme is such a harsh word … But that actually ends up being a perfect definition.Or better yet, harsh.

I knew motherhood would be hard. No one had to tell me that. But what they should have told me was that I was entering into a harsh world. Where people judge either for every step they take .. every breath, even. You literally cannot make ONE decision without getting ready to be judged by 33 people — and boy, you’d better be ready to defend your choice! Or they will literally eat you up and spit you out without even thinking about it.

Isn’t that sad? Becoming a parent shouldn’t be like that. Shouldn’t we be there to support each other no matter what? If that mom and baby are safe and being taken care of — whether or not it’s the exact way you would do it or not — shouldn’t you be happy and just support them? You would think so, but unfortunately, that’s not the way it is.

I knew before I had the baby how I would do certain things. I would breastfeed. I wouldn’t cloth diaper. I wouldn’t co-sleep, but I wouldn’t CIO, either. I had a good idea of how I wanted to take care of my baby.

Things obviously didn’t work out the way I had planned — but I’ve adapted well, I think.

I don’t consider myself to be an extreme parent. I consider myself to be an educated one, though. Do I know about both breast and formula feeding? Yes, because I do both. Do I do both by choice? No. I’d rather be an exclusively-breastfeeding mother — but that hasn’t worked out the way I had planned. Did I do everything in my control to try to? Yes. I didn’t give up at 6 weeks because I was told to. Or because I “thought” I didn’t have enough milk. Or because I wanted someone else to feed the baby or because I wanted more sleep. Do I force my thoughts on other moms? I don’t do that, either. But I do try to help educate the best I can — because there is a lot of information out there that women don’t know — and if I can help just one woman — then I’d be happy.

Am I a little bitter that some women can breastfeed and don’t — while I did everything I could and still couldn’t succeed? Yes, I’ll admit that. I’m very bitter. But this isn’t completely about my choices.

Moving on.

I’ve decided to cloth diaper — part time. I go through about one box of disposables each month. I feel like we have a great balance. And I like it that way — it works for me. It may not work for others, but it works for us. (I’m also not extremely “green” — but I consider myself to be “semi-green.” )

We co-sleep. Sometimes I’m in love with it and other times I can’t stand it. But do we do it? Yes. Do I judge people for not doing things the way I do them? No.

Point being, nothing went the way I planned it — but I like where we’re at, anyways.

I like to share my knowledge and information on these subjects. I feel that I’ve learned a lot in the almost 12 months I’ve been a mother. Do I know it all? Of course not. That’s why I continually do research and talk to other moms and expand my knowledge — being a mother is an ongoing process. You will never stop learning.

But I don’t feel the need to put others down. I don’t say, “You suck as a mother because you give your baby formula.” Nor have I ever said, “I hate you as a person because you let your baby cry-it-out.”

I wish that more mothers educated themselves. And if we could form one big support group — for being mothers — instead of being against each other and their own parenting ways — wouldn’t everyone be happier — including our babies?

It makes me sad that everyone feels the need to be so extreme. Let’s focus on being extremely supportive and extremely educated  — instead of extremely against each other because our parenting choices aren’t exactly the same.

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Filed under breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, parenting

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