Parenting the “Right” Way

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Today I am conquering another prompt from The Mom Pledge Blog. It’s been one I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile, so I am glad to finally get to share with you.

The Prompt: “There is no one, “right” way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.” Is this difficult or easy for you to accept? Why? Has taking The Mom Pledge changed how you view the choices of other moms?

The Response: One of the reasons I took the Mom Pledge is because I firmly believe that there is no specific, golden, right way to parent, provided you step up to your responsibility of being a parent (as long as that is your calling in life–there really are some people who cannot parent, and they are aware of that).

I’ve been thinking about a post about things you can and cannot do as a parent, but every time I sat down to try to write it, I thought about how it would go against taking The Mom Pledge. I wasn’t going to call someone out for “bad” parenting, but I realized that it might offend some parents who for them, the way they parent IS the right way.

First, is it easy to accept that there is no “right” way to parent? For me, I know that I am parenting the right way for my family. I also know that other parents have to do what they have to do for their family. We may not always agree on what is right, but it’s what’s right for each family. True story.

Take diapering. For us, cloth diapering is just not the way to go, but it doesn’t mean that we are anti-cloth. Frankly, I wanted to give it a shot, but really, the choice needs to be up to the primary caregiver. Mr. Burgher would be that person. While he is a SAHD, he is in no way laid back and free to bake brownies for all the neighborhood children. There is a 2 1/2 year old to keep busy, an almost 6 month old who is teething and trying out new fruits and veggies, laundry, food prep, a dog, a pool, and coupon collection and organization. With two in diapers for most of the past 6 months, it just wasn’t logical for us. It’s “right” for us to go with disposables.

Or take breastfeeding. For us, with Lil Man, it is what is right and works for us. He really took to it, but his sister was a different story. Both of our children gave us different way to do the “right” thing as parents. But, for some mothers, they just know their limits and know that breastfeeding won’t work for them. While I can advocate at least trying, those mothers know what is “right” for them!

It all really boils down to personal preference, and since I’ve always like to do things “My Way”, it’s pretty easy for me to accept that there is no “right” way to parent. The Mom Pledge helps me affirm this and makes me think once, twice, even three times before reacting to the decision of another mom or dad.

What do you think? Should we all follow a book that tells us how to parent or go with our gut?

Integrity

A few weeks ago, I decided to take The Mom Pledge, vowing to not “just take The Pledge and let that be it”, but to live up to the standards set forth by The Pledge. I’ve also been conversing with a few people about blog topics (feel free to suggest, by the way), and one that keeps coming up is Truth. I am going to take that one step further today as I blog in response to the first of The Pledge’s Prompts:

“I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example.” What does integrity mean to you?

To me, integrity takes it up a few notches from simply telling the truth. In “dictionary terms”, integrity really means to be honest, truthful, and accurate to the highest regard. Maybe that’s why I am not afraid to blog about the good and the bad from my point of view.

Sure, I might not always spill all the details (having Integrity doesn’t mean that I no longer have privacy), but it means that what I do tell you is accurate from where I sit. Just like you wouldn’t want to find out that your favorite chocolate was really made out of coffee beans, you wouldn’t want to find out that your best friends or favorite bloggers weren’t actually parents at all (or something). That’s taking it to extremes, but I have heard about some fakes out there, or people who copy other blogs word for word just to say they have a voice. Who are you really blogging for?

Personally, I think part of the mom-to-mom bullying comes from “facts” that mothers and fathers (even casually) tell each other that turn into these “mom-petitions”. I am not going to tell you that A knows all of her ABC’s just to stir up some competition that your 30 month old needs to do the same (when in reality, she only knows about half of them and not the bottom or top halves, just a few letters in order here and there as we sing). I am not going to tell you that Evan’s been rolling over so that you can spend hours with your child working on getting them to crawl by five months (when in reality, he only really leans one way or the other and really doesn’t show a desire to roll–a desire to stand is a bigger thing for him).

While working on this post (one, honestly, to make sure I had the right facts about integrity), I came across The Integrious Project, a project to make people think about their actions at all times–not just in the blogosphere–and how to include integrity in everything they do (my “in a nutshell” version). I was very inspired by a quote they recently Tweeted, and I’d like to use it when I am down on myself re: my blogging:

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” ~ Judy Garland

Oh, how right she is. I hope that I raise my children to be open and honest, and not to confirm to what other people want them to be. I hope that I can hold my head up high and continue to blog with Integrity, always sharing the truth with you.

Part of that, though, comes from taking responsibility, being a catalyst to help the “movement” of both The Mom Pledge and The Integrious Project in not only the blogging world, but the world I live in. It means when I get into situations where people are not being honest, I need to let them know they have lost my trust and that I still plan on showing integrity to them. I need to be a model for them to know how to live an integrious life.

Why should I have to hear stories of mothers lying about their children to get out of doing something they don’t want to do? Just be honest and say, “we are not interested”, not “my kid is grounded because they failed a test (or something similar)” and then find out that they turned down time with you and your kids to go with someone else. It hurts a lot less to hear the truth firsthand.

Why should I have to deal with mothers on my street who let their kids throw footballs that hit my truck and then they come to me and say sorry on behalf of their kids for letting the balls come oh so close then I hear from other sources that balls actually did hit it? A few things here–kids should be responsible for their own actions–I always had to apologize to whomever I hurt without my mom or dad coddling me; kids shouldn’t be playing in the street–it’s a safety issue; and moms should be honest when their kids did something wrong and other adults witnessed it–karma, baby.

Why should I worry if I am going to get a coupon deal because other people are creating fraudulent coupons and using them at my favorite stores OR cashiers are hiding products and telling me that they are simply out of the item (even though the store only opened just before I walked in)? Just be honest, you’ll lose me as a customer if you are not. And don’t commit fraud–it’s against the law, and it hurts you, the store, and other couponers.

Why should I have to wonder who is real with me–blood relations or not–? There are enough people leading lives void of integrity, we don’t need to be dishonest with the ones that care about us the most. Mistakes happen, and we should own up to them. I refuse to take anyone serious who can’t be honest with my from the start. I don’t need the drama, and I won’t let my kids be around that, either.

So from now on, I pledge to be honest in all I do (not that I wasn’t before), and to be the catalyst for others to show integrity too. With that said, the Integrious Project also led me to taking another pledge, the pledge to Blog With Integrity which says:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Are you with me?

(Let’s be honest–I know I got off a little on a mash up of thoughts around integrity, but lately, the TRUTH has really been on my mind, even to the level of teaching A about being honest when she has a wet pull up. It has to start somewhere, right? Thank you for listening to me today.)

This post was written as a post for both The Mom Pledge and Blog With Integrity in mind.

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