No matter what you do as a parent, you will never be able to please everyone and you will drive yourself crazy if you try. I would like to say that I don’t care about what people think about me or my parenting style but that would be false. I do care…I care very much. I, just like many women have doubts about the choices I make and the approval of what I’m doing from others somehow serves as validation that I’m doing the right thing. The more validation that I receive, the better choices I’ve made and the better mom that I am.
There are some who believe that my parenting style is too lax and that I’m not firm enough with my daughter and others who believe that I’m too strict and that the boundaries in place I have in place for my daughter are too much. There are people who laugh at my daughter’s 8 pm bedtime and say its way too early, that they could never put their kids to bed that early, while a whole different group of people is shocked at such a late bedtime. There are friends and family members who are appalled that I would put my daughter in daycare and say that she’s too young and other’s that think that I’m crazy for waiting as long as I did.
As much as I care what other people think about me as a parent, one of the reasons that I try not to is because I’ve come to realize that people’s motivations aren’t always pure. Some may disagree with me because my parenting style differs from their own and they can’t even begin to fathom that a style that is different from what they’ve done could actually work. Some are just at a different stage of parenthood than I am and don’t actually remember what they did, but they can say without a doubt that what they did was better than whatever I’m doing! Last, some can be driven by their own insecurities. Comparing is something that we all do as parents. We want our children to thrive in every way possible (which is kind of crazy when you think about it because children are humans and no human can thrive in every way possible) and they may find fault in whatever my parenting method is because my kid is thriving and it makes them question their own parenting.
The less I’ve been able to worry about what other people think, the more confident I’ve felt in my own decisions. Rather than being validated by people telling me I’m doing a good job, validation comes from raising a happy child and seeing the benefits that come from nurturing my marriage. I still listen to what others have to say because I don’t know everything about parenting and there is so much that I still have to learn, I just listen differently now and make sure that what they are saying is actually adding value to my experience as a mother as opposed to taking away from it. Whenever the insecure thoughts creep in and I start to question whether or not I’m doing something right based solely on the fact that someone else isn’t doing it, I remind myself that the times that I have parented my own way, I have parented my best way. I remind myself that I can never make everyone happy, nor do I care to make everyone happy. The only two people whose happiness matters to me as it relates to my family are my husband and my daughter. My new parenting style can best be described as whatever works best for me and my family.