I've been reading this really great book on attachment parenting (Beyond the Sling). Besides really loving everything this book is saying, I was reading this chapter on my lunch break today that made me want to share a bit of it.
I've noticed that a lot of us over here are a bit crunchy or unconventional in some way when it comes to how we think about children, childbirth, pregnancy and everything that comes with it. I've also noticed a lot of people expressing frustration at some of the unsolicited advice or comments we're getting for making certain choices or having certain beliefs about things. It seems to me that most people keep their comments and opinions to themselves (mostly) in life, but for some reason when you have kids they feel like it's open season to tell you how to live and how to raise your children.
I know I've already gotten my share of comments from people about certain things and while I really don't care what they think, it's also a bit frustrating to have to sit through. I don't feel like I should have to explain myself every time some random person wants to tell me why I'm parenting (or just being pregnant!) wrong.
Something interesting that she says early on in this book is that at first she felt the need to try and explain herself and make the other person understand her reasoning. Then she realized that didn't do anything except make her tired and a bit frustrated. There was a realization that these people don't really care to hear what you have to say, they just want to impose their opinions on you and will keep doing so until you change the subject or leave, pretty much. She had a great suggestion of suddenly having to go to the bathroom whenever you're feeling cornered by someone preaching at you. I rather like that.
So this brings me to what I was reading today. I'm just going to copy it straight from the book. I think this is especially helpful for us first time moms since everything seems scary and uncertain to a degree. It's hard to know how to handle these situations since we've never really been in them before. For those of you who already have a technique for dealing with the busybodies and naysayers, I'd love to hear it!
"Truth be told, I often get defensive and find myself doubting our choices, but my husband is very helpful in bringing me back to reality. He has no problem looking people right in the eye with a friendly smile and declaring, 'We're doing what's best for our family' or 'We have full confidence in our choices'. What he has taught me is that I need to have my own phrases handy and well practiced for the times when people invariably question our parenting and, specifically, how it relates to our relationship.
If it's about my kids' well-being: 'They're happy, rested, well fed and secure. It's working for us.'
If it's about insinuations of deprivation: 'There will come a time again for retreats and spa weekends, I know it. For now, this is what life looks like and we're happy with it.'
If it's about being out of touch: 'Thank goodness for email, Facebook, Netflix and getting my news off the internet.'
And if it's about my sex life, humor works: 'We don't have energy to have that much sex anymore anyway.' Or better yet: 'We're like rabbits - it's nonstop action in our house!'
The more confident you can be (or at least sound), the more this way of parenting will become accepted as within the range of normal, healthy and enjoyable - which it is! There is of course a time and a place to air complaints and brainstorm ways to feel fulfilled, connected to people and satisfied with your choices; you just need to go to the right place for that support. Maker it a personal goal to not care what others think of you and you will have a lot less conflict about your choices."