What kind of parent are you?
I have co-slept, and I have cried it out.
I have breastfed, and I have bottle fed.
I have cloth diapered, and I have used (way more) disposables.
I have made my own organic baby food, but mostly, I don’t.
I have practiced empathy and connection and peaceful parenting, and I have also yelled, done time-outs, shamed my kids, and taken away toys.
I have set clear boundaries and upheld them, and I’ve also given in and lost many toddler negotiations.
I have worked part-time, and I have not worked at all.
I have had no child care, an in-home nanny, and tried everything in between.
I have held the belief that my firstborn needed me 24/7, and I have held the belief that children just need happy parents more than anything.
I have fed on demand, and I have fed on schedules.
I have tried no tv, and I have let my kids watch hours of Daniel Tiger so I can get work done.
I’ve been a crunchy hippy mama, and a more modern mainstream mama, too.
What about you?
I remember at the beginning of my motherhood journey thinking I had to be a specific type of parent. Somehow, I had this belief that I had to identify with one style and embody that. Somehow my passion for natural birth automatically meant I had to be a certain kind of parent. At the time, I was sure I was an attachment parent and needed to embody this whole way of life. Yet, I felt awkward around super crunchy mamas because I wasn’t crunchy or organic enough (I mean, is that PLASTIC water bottle? WTF!) and I have also felt too crunchy around mainstream mamas when I pulled out those G Diapers, probiotic powders, and WaterWipes. I remember thinking “I just need to figure out what kind of parent I am!”
Fast forward to second child, and that attachment parenting style was seriously burning me out (Love you, Dr. Sears, but I’m tired AF.) I adopted more of a RIE (respectful parenting) philosophy because my kids needed better boundaries. I even had a consult with Janet Lansbury. But even then, no one parenting philosophy proved to be a one-size-fits all method for our family. For me, AP was a little too self-sacrificing amidst the very little support we had for our family. I couldn’t find my flow. Everything was such a struggle. Yet, there I was, fiercely protecting my parenting philosophy while I was consequentially more exhausted and way less connected with myself, my husband or my kids. We enjoyed the disciplinary teachings of RIE, but even then, couldn’t really buy into everything Martha Gerber wrote decades ago, either.
I started realizing that to truly be the best parent I could be, I needed to make things easier on myself, not harder. I noticed that by carrying these parenting ideals on my shoulders, I had created resistance. As a spiritual mama, I know that resistance blocks flow, thus making everything hard. I started realizing that what my children needed more than anything else, any parenting style or philosophy, was a parent who genuinely enjoyed their life! My girls needed to see my having fun, playing, and feeling good, not a mommy who was martyring herself for the sake of some way of parenting that was supposed to create the best humans possible. They needed their earth mama (me) to be in alignment with my Highest Self, the most authentic me.
I truly believe our children choose us, and we are therefore the best parents for our children, no matter what! This is part of the Mama Manifest beliefs.
So if you’re feeling like mothering in the modern world, amidst way too much noise on how to mother, is bringing you down, Stop and re-write your to do list. At the top, add things to do that you know make you feel good. Put on that episode of Tumbleleaf for the toddler, sip some tea, and give yourself a break. Your kids need you to be you. After all, they chose you.