Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Parenting Philosoph-ease

When Ayla was two months old, I told John I was going to blog about what I was doing as a mother to get such an awesome baby. I had many friends expecting their first babies as well, and I thought I would do them a service by offering my wisdom gained from my vast parenting experience.

He suggested I maybe wait until she was six months old, just to make sure she was still an awesome baby (and still alive) and then it would probably be okay to offer my wisdom.

(Yeah, so he's really the wise one in this parenting partnership, but this is my blog, so there!)

Henceforth, she is six months old and still alive and still an awesome baby, thusly shall I share my wisdom.  Do you have a pen and paper to take copious notes?

But for real, I am so glad I didn't try to write about this back then because almost everything I would've said then wouldn't be what I would say now. So, I'm not really going to try to offer advice, but I think it's safe to share some of my philosophies because those haven't changed so much.

(I don't know if I even need this disclaimer, but just in case: I don't think this is the best or only "correct" way to think about these things, they are just the way I think about them, so take them for whatever that is worth to you! Thanks!)

Two questions or scenarios I try to think about when researching, then choosing a method for anything baby-related are:
1) What do mothers or families in other parts of the world do about ____, especially those without the same access to the resources and information I have?
2) What have mothers or families in generations past done about _____, ditto?

(And really, I think about these two aspects of just about everything in life, not just when it comes to parenting.)

I have found these questions help to broaden my perspective from what this or that blog or website or currently much recommended or much loathed book says to do or not to do. I don't get so wrapped around a certain method or style, because in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "There are about a billion people in India and I doubt many of them have read or heard this _____, so it must not be as complicated or absolute as this _______ is making it seem."

Now, of course, I am SO grateful for the knowledge of those gone before and that of my peers, the access to the amazing resources I am blessed to be able to use and so on. And obviously, we (our society/generation) are doing a better job in general at keeping our babies alive, so I'm not kicking it all to the curb. It's just that the American Medical Association recommends different things than the Australian or British version of the same. So, since they/we didn't invent childbirth or child-rearing, and mothers and families have been doing it pretty successfully for as many centuries as you believe this earth is old, I just keep those two "filters" on and go from there.

That wasn't too bad, now, was it? I have a few other thoughts I'll pepper in amongst the Ayla pictures and single-ish-mom stories, too, and I hope to have you along for the ride.

What are your thoughts on these or other philosophies? Are they even really philosophies? Is there a better word for them? Were you hoping I'd put at least one Ayla picture in this blog?

Ok, here.


  1. And thus the reason my babies all slept on their bellies.... :)

  2. Ahhhh this subject keeps coming up!!!!!!
    Here is a link to something I wrote a few years ago. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=283307795540 Have a look at that.

    As far as philosophies are concerned.....here are some thoughts.
    It's good to pick and choose and have a good taste and see of all the different methods...and you often end with something that works for you. It's best not to take one book and decide that it's practically the Bible and force yourself or your baby to stick to it no matter what....because man is fallible, and there really is no one size fits all approach to parenting. It's usually those of us who have babies that don't fit to the one book we thought we were going to live by, that end up sampling all the different methods. Where people who's baby happened to do brilliantly on "the book" then swear by it and insist all parents should use it.
    Another thing to ask is "does the author have children? and are their children still speaking to them?" you will find some interesting answers.
    This is where I'll say that the ability to care for a baby and keep it alive and healthy, is not the same as mothering. Even if "it works" it does not mean it's the same thing. You can care for a baby brilliantly, but mothering is all that and more...it's full of our mistakes, our misgivings, our trials and errors, our fears, our emotions, our love, our tears...our passion. It's different.
    I like to keep away from advice. I am more of an information person. When mothers have information that is up to date, researched, tried and tested, and explained in a way they can understand, they will be empowered to make their own choices. Sometimes when a mother is given advice..along with threats such as "and if you don't...you'll never sleep again, or you will ALWAYS have to do such and such, or they will NEVER learn" or even "or they won't feel loved" she feels pushed into a corner, like she doesn't have a choice. Information for a God given mind and Support for a God given instinct.


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