I don’t know how I got to this point, but I have majorly mastered the art of not giving a fuck about what other people think about how I raise my kids.
It probably has something to do with encountering major issues in a touchy area of the interparent-wars. If there was shit to be given, I was given it. And I took it really hard too. very personally and brokenheartedly. Then at some point I figured out that I, in fact, was awesome and more or less doing a pretty admirable job.
Once I reclaimed my confidence back from that (it took until sometime after my second child) I realized that I was pretty secure in what I was doing. Of course I do things I later think of as mistakes, and I think there are some things that could be done better, though probably not by me. I recognize my limitations and can see I am not cut out for some things.
For example I know a lot of people (on the internet, identifying with attachment/gentle parenting) are on this no yelling thing. I was talking to someone about it the other day and only after I was done talking to her did it occur to me that she might have been minorly trying to shame me. Maybe she was just being insecure herself (this seems more likely, I don’t think many people set out to shame someone in conversation), but she was kind of picking at what I did and I straight up told her, I yell.
That’s right. I yell. I’m not even sorry. I don’t think less of anyone else for doing it either. It’s a damn useful tool. My progression usually goes from conversationally speaking, to stern voice, to sharp stern voice to yell. Sometimes kids need to know that you do indeed mean business. Yelling is also useful for dangerous situations. Also when Thing 1 is doing something hurtful to thing 2. At least until thing 2 can hit back.
There is certainly yelling and yelling. I’m not yelling demeaning horrible things, I’m yelling to reinforce my point. I certainly don’t have the intention to intimidate, but little kids are unfocused critters. So I yell for emphasis. Hey kid, this is something you should listen to. I’m sure I could do it another way, but it works. I don’t even feel bad. I have bigger problems than feeling bad about yelling at my kids. If you are yelling at your kids out of frustration, and uncontrollably and you are unhappy about it then by all means you should change. I like when I don’t have to yell because it means my kid is paying attention. I do not see yelling as a failure on my part. It’s part me being human, part me trying to get on with life.
Another thing I’m often on the ‘wrong’ side of is daycare. In the same conversation mentioned above this person was telling me how she would stay with her kid for 3 hours and then leave for work, and how it became difficult for her to leave and her child became distressed. My response: huh. She couldn’t wrap her head around my method which was to know there are separation anxiety phases and just leave. Seriously it makes it worse if you drag out your departure. Kids are manipulative. Not in a bad way per se, but no kid really wants their parent to leave them. If they figure out that crying and freaking out gets a parent to delay leaving then hell yes they will continue to do that. I feel sad when my baby cries when I leave her. Oh my lip sticks out from frowning as I walk down the daycare hallway hearing her howling, but I don’t cry about it. I feel like a complete freak for not getting very upset about it because mostly I hear/read about other mothers getting very upset about leaving their kids. Maybe I’m crazy. I like work and I feel like a much better parent when I get to do adult things and think adult thoughts. I know strongly and logically enough that it’s only going to last a few minutes at most, and she will have fun the rest of the day. Most importantly she’s in qualified hands- all the daycare workers have degrees in early childhood education. Maybe that helps me be confident. I am quite sure I would feel differently if the only choice I had was some person doing it as a low skill at home job the way it seems to be in the US.
I guess these are all reasons I don’t get on with my local attachment parents. I don’t take common attachment parenting practices as a whole parcel. I can’t abide by that at all. Some of it does not work for me, some of it I do not see the merit in. I do what I can and what works, but my goal is to raise up little functional people who will like me when we are all adults. Goal 1: have them get to be adults, goal 2: have me get to them being adults, goal 3: teach them how to be an emotionally functional person and avoid major traumas. Those are a lot harder than they sound, but not actually all that hard. I’m a pretty firm believer in that you haven’t failed at parenting until your kid no longer calls you. Kids that are dead or in jail don’t call you. Kids that don’t love you don’t call you. Kids that trust you, respect you and value your opinion call you. That is what I am going for. My overall goal is to have a clan. As in family that doesn’t move too far away, keeps in touch, comes to me for advice, the holidays and so on.
When I’m unhappy with how some aspect of my parenting is going I take steps to change it. Case in point- TV. My kids probably watch too much TV. This is something I am frequently unhappy about, take steps to change and then backslide some. I’m glad for all the people who do have the time and or energy to do other things, but yeah. I don’t. TV is the bugbear that comes out when I am tired, run down, me or a child is sick, the weather is crap or when I want only one child grappled on to me whilst I cook food in the evening (ah the art of cooking with a boob out). I don’t like it, I wish I had more willpower, energy, help to do without instead of with, but I don’t . I feel a little guilty about it, but at the same time it’s easy and the alternatives often take more effort.
However, if someone outside of my immediate family (so someone other than my husband) were to give me any guff about the TV watching I would be amused over my annoyance. The kids are physical, socialized, get plenty of interaction from both parents, and TV programs are screened by us, the parents, for content. It is not that bad, and by no means harmful, it’s just something I do not particularly like. I would rather be reading books to them or playing games (if I could think of any), or have them playing without me, or even with me, but that is not always possible. Anyone other than me fussing over that needs to get some real problems. They can have some of mine.