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?

A Pledge

There has been something crawling under my skin ever since I realized how much I loved kids (this was way back before I had any of my own). That something was the “under the surface”, back biting, mom-petitions that seemed to go on as I watched interactions between moms. There are moms (and dads) out there who think their way of parenting is the right and only way to parents. Guess what? They are wrong.

When you become a parent, you quickly find out that the books, advice, and “practice” with other kids couldn’t prepare you for the journey you have begun to embark on. You find yourself testing new waters, figuring out what is right for you and your family.

You may even be tempted to compare your family to another family similar to (or in some cases VERY different from) yours. Stop right there. It’s not worth it. Your family is unique, your parenting style is unique.

This weekend, I decided to take “The Mom Pledge”. I want to be a supportive mom, offering help when asked, but understanding that what worked for me won’t be what’s right for another mom. I want to chose relationships with parents who are not worried because their daughter is younger than mine but isn’t meeting milestones at the exact same moment that A is or that the their son is older than E but did it so much better. The pledge will help me to remember this:

The Mom Pledge

I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example.

I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, “right” way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.

I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.

I stand up against online bullying. My blog is my space. I will not tolerate comments that are rude, condescending or disrespectful.

I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks from my blog with no mention or response. I can take control.

I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.

I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference.

Keep me honest. Fellow moms, bloggers or not, I urge you to take The Mom Pledge. Let’s be a team of moms who truly work together–some many parts of life are competitions, but being a mom doesn’t have to be one of those.

What do you say? Are you with me?

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(If you have Twitter, you can follow @TheMomPledge for links to other moms–great support source!)