*Just to clarify…
I want to clarify that this post didn’t come as a result of anything family said this last week. I have found myself speaking apologetically about a variety of child-related things when speaking to others for quite some time. I simply became much more aware of this when we were visiting family last week because I had several of the same conversations with a bunch of people as happens when you are seeing a bunch of people for the first time in a while.
Some of the judgements I have felt in the last 18 months have been felt because there have been judgements. Some have simply been things I perceived but were really just me projecting my own insecurities into the situation. Whichever the situation, as parents, we don’t need to feel like we have to apologize for doing our best for our kids.
We just got home from a week in Edmonton with family we don’t see very often. It was a great visit! But I came away aware of something I have started doing that I really don’t like. I was apologizing for things I really don’t need or want to apologize for.
We’re doing things a little different than might have been done 12, 13 years ago when my older kids were babies. We’re definitely doing things differently than they were done 25 – 30 years ago when Tim’s kids were babies. We’re doing what works for us as a family. We feel good about the choices we are making and they are working for us. I was really surprised, then, to find myself justifying or apologizing or even feeling a little bit of guilt about when we were talking with various people this last week.
We wear our baby. I rarely use the stroller. Liam is on my back or cuddled against my chest. He’s happiest that way when we are out in public. I love the closeness as much as he does. It really works for us. And besides, have you seen how beautiful carriers and wraps are these days?? Not to mention how comfortable they are for everyone involved!! I was really surprised by how many eyebrows were raised when we were out and about around Edmonton this week – I felt like the only person on the planet who wasn’t using a stroller. And I found myself apologizing for being different in this way.
We are still nursing. Liam is going to be 18 months old soon and he LOVES the boobies!! Some days breastmilk is providing the bulk of his nutrition. Other days he is totally into his food and only nurses when he’s thirsty or tired. We ALWAYS nurse to sleep for naps and bedtime. Those sleepytime snuggles and nursing times are long and cherished. He often won’t go to bed without them, especially for naptime. A typical nursing day has him nursing for 7 long sessions (30 – 45 minutes at a time) and several short ones (5 – 15 minutes). It affects my sleep. It dictates the rhythm of our day. It influences how our family functions all around. But it works for us. And yet I was apologizing and almost feeling sheepish about it when people we don’t often see realized this about us.
We are looking at homeschooling our kids starting in September. This decision has come after much thought and consideration of our kids needs as well as considering a number of other factors. It’s a big commitment on our part. We’re aware of the potential challenges. We’re certain this is what is best for us at least for the next year. We’re confident in this choice and are excited about the possibilities. And yet I felt, more than once, like I needed to apologize for this choice.
These are just a few examples.
But why am I apologizing??!! These are the things that work for our family. These are things that have been thought about, talked about, agreed on or simply have evolved because they are what works for us. Some things are things that are pretty standard for families in this time. Other things are a little out of the norm. But whatever the case may be, I DON’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR PARENTING MY KIDS THE BEST WAY I KNOW HOW. I don’t have to apologize or explain why my husband and I do things the way we do. We aren’t breaking any laws, we aren’t putting our kids in harm’s way, we aren’t neglecting them or depriving them. The only thing we are doing is living our lives in ways that work for our family the best we can figure and sometimes that means we’re doing things that you’ll agree with and sometimes that means we’re doing things you wouldn’t do. Either way it’s okay.
I’m not going to apologize or justify why we do what we do any more. And if you find yourself doing the same thing, you don’t need to apologize either. Only we know what really works for us! Everyone else may have their opinion, they might make different choices, but just because what they think might differ from you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong or they are wrong. We’re all just DIFFERENT! If we could just agree to be different, to embrace those differences and maybe even be willing to engage in conversation about those differences so as to learn more about each other and ourselves, we would all feel a lot less pressure and a lot more confidence.
Own your choices!
Embrace the differences!
Confidently walk through life with your family.
Haters are going to hate. Doubters are going to doubt. Don’t allow them to rob you of your confidence and resolve to do what is best for your family. No More Apologies!