The definition of ‘parenting’ according to Merriam-Webster:
1: the raising of a child by its parents
2: the act or process of becoming a parent
3: the taking care of someone in the manner of a parent
This definition is intriguing to me although I cannot really figure out why.
Maybe it is because when I think of parenting, much more comes to mind than just raising my child? I seem to complicate the definition due to its many social connotations, however according to the dictionary all you have to do to be parenting is become a parent! Interesting…
My husband and I joined this so-called world of parenting last September, and boy has it been a ride! Prior to our daughter’s birth, I am pretty sure that I got hundreds of new opinions DAILY. Most of these opinions were from our families and the people that I worked with since those are the people that I/we spent 90% of our time with, but honestly most of these opinions went in one ear and right out the other. To be quite frank, I was sick and tired of people telling me how I needed to raise my daughter and that if I didn’t do ‘X’, that I would not be a good parent. One would think by the time she was born, that I was an expert on parenting! I mean, I had well over 1,000 parenting styles and ideas to collaborate and call my own, right?!
I was greeted by a lot of resistance from people when they learned that I was choosing to breastfeed, cloth diaper, and oddly enough, quit my job to become a work at home mom (in addition to working a full time job, I also run a diaper business). I know that people mean well, but really? Aren’t WE the parents? Aren’t WE the ones that are supposed to be doing this whole parenting thing?! Opinions are one thing. Demands are another.
I think that the most important thing that I learned from all of this is that I need to do what I feel is best for my family and for my daughter. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! People get so… hostile (for lack of a better word) over this whole parenting thing, and it really is not worth it! I choose to vaccinate, but I am not going to look down on you or think that you are a terrible parent because you choose not to do so. I breastfeed, but if you don’t want to, so what? Who am I to tell you what is right or wrong?
Just because we choose not to do what everyone is telling us we should do does not make us bad parents! I encourage all new parents and experienced parents alike to remember that doing what is expected of us isn’t always what makes us a good parent. It is doing what we feel is best for our children and following our maternal/paternal instincts that makes us good parents.
And don’t let someone tell you that your style of parenting is wrong either… all you have to do to ‘parent’ is become one and then raise your child – simple as that.