Parenting from the heart.

Why Am I Blogging Again?

For some reason, my post Dear Tizzie Hall still gets a lot of views, and comments, on a very regular basis. I get an email every time there’s a comment. And for a long time, I ignored it.

I didn’t even read the emails. I pretended like they didn’t exist.

I don’t know why really. Maybe I was sick of talking about it, maybe because now that we brush teeth, read a story (Or 2 or 3), and then it’s hugs and off to sleep, talking about sleep training seemed like a real drag. Do you want to talk about electron configurations or hydrogen bonds? Because that’s where my head is at now.

Maybe I was sick of the abusive comments, there were more than a few. Honestly when I see someone has commented on it I just think, here we go again.

I thought about deleting the blog but people still seem to get something out of it, so I left it. And it sat there for a long time.

When my babies turned to toddlers I felt like I had nothing to offer the parenting community. I wasn’t parenting babies, not Breastfeeding any more, they slept pretty good, I was just a stay at home mum. Run of the mill, average, pretty boring.

Now as a studying, working, mother I feel like I have more to offer. And not just as a parent. I know stuff now.

I’d like to say I have a thick skin and the mean comments don’t get to me – but no one likes being told they deserve a punch in the face. I deleted the worst of the comments, some were really really nasty.

I was pretty aggressive in that open letter/blog post so i can’t expect people to be nice back but the threats of violence were uncalled for.

I’m glad I wrote it and I’m glad it brought people to my blog. I’m glad it started getting shared again and the new comments were called to my attention. I just hope I still have something interesting to write about.

When my kids were very little I’d hear things from parents of older children that would make me question whether they remembered what life was like with a baby or if they were just being rude.

Now that my kids aren’t babies any more I am pretty sure that they really honestly had forgotten.

20140802-191953-69593986.jpg

I mean I really can’t believe she was that small!

Now that my kids are 3 and 5 years old I can’t tell you accurately how often they fed, how often they had wet nappies, how many times a day they napped, when they started eating specific foods. I can give a general view but yeah, I’ve forgotten the nitty gritty details. And I think that’s pretty standard. I mean will every mother remember every sleepless night, every dirty nappy or every afternoon hosing off the high chair covered in pumpkin – of course not – because in the scheme of things it’s pretty stock standard boring stuff.

So I apologise to my friends with babies if sometimes I seem ignorant to the struggle that is life with a completely dependant being. It’s not that I don’t know, it’s just I don’t often think about it because my life has moved on from there. I think about getting ready for primary school next year, about Sam’s favourite superheroes, about the mountain of assessment I’m ignoring while I write this blog post.

I also apologise if I answer questions about babyhood with a – “I don’t know.” It’s true, I don’t know. I don’t have the links for many baby related articles any more, they’re not relevant to my life any more. Especially birth stuff, I’m never birthing another baby again. I don’t really remember what books I read, I’ve got a vague idea.

Do any of us really remember the fine details of our life years afterwards? Not really. The big things and the big picture, absolutely, but the day to day boring stuff. Nah. There’s way more exciting things happening right here, right now.

20140802-192059-69659241.jpg

I said I would never blog again, swore black and blue I was done with thing. And then someone shared my post, Dear Tizzie Hall and I started getting these emails saying there were comments and I thought – what the hell.

Read the rest of this entry »

The End

To be honest this has been coming for a while.  I’ve been thinking about it for some time now.  I won’t be blogging about parenting any more.

I’ve been questioning  the ethics of telling people to follow their instincts while at the same time saying which methods of parenting are good and which are not so good.  I also question why I care so much about the choices other parents make.

There’s a lot of pressure on parents to get it right.  And a lot of it is fear based, not just the mainstream you won’t sleep through the night, he’ll be in your bed forever, vaccinate or he’ll die of polio camp, but attachment parents do it too.  You’ll ruin his spine with that carrier, that’ll cause brain damage, csections cause autism, vaccinations cause autism, not giving probiotics causes autism… We all justify our methods by using fear tactics.

So many times I’ve seen so called gentle parents going to town on another parent for choosing another method of parenting.  I mean absolutely tearing strips off another mother simply for making a choice that she felt was best for her family at the time.

I don’t want to be a part of that any longer.

I feel like I’ve been having the same conversation for 3 years, and so I decided to stop.  I stopped talking about birth, babies, breastfeeding, if I saw a debate come up I ignored it.  I took a break for my own mental health.  And when the week was up, I didn’t want to go back.

So I left some groups, the debates, the posting of screenshots to sigh at, criticise or *facepalm* wasn’t worth the stress for me anymore.  I enjoyed posting in the groups, but without them I was less stressed.

 

I’ve reclaimed my hobbies.  It seems no one expects fathers to suddenly start talking exclusively about babies and child related matters, but to be a good mother you have to.  Everything you say, think and do must first be for the benefit for your child.

What crap.

If I did everything good parenting pages told me to do we’d be on a no wheat no dairy all vegetable diet, I’d never yell, we wouldn’t watch TV, there’d be no character toys, we’d wear handmade clothes, have wooden toys, I’d homeschool…

We eat meat, and wheat, I yell sometimes though I try not to, they watch TV, my boy is in love with Buzz Lightyear, we have lots of character toys, and clothes, including Dora the Explorer and some Disney Princesses, and a Barbie, I don’t make their clothes, most of our toys are plastic, no way in hell will I homeschool.

Once I stopped looking to other sources for answers to my parenting problems and forced myself to just deal with it, follow my true instinct, it all got easier.  We do have the answers, we just can’t hear them with all these outside influences.  If you are bombarded by all these opinions and ideas from outside sources you’ll never be able to hear your own voice, if you’re so busy trying to please others you’ll never find a way to please yourself.

It’s been an interesting journey to this point.  I have really loved blogging, and I will start another blog soon about what we’re up to, but you won’t hear any more parenting advice from me.

Best of luck with your parenting journey.  You’ll be amazed at how much easier the whole thing is if you stop striving to be perfect.  I bet half those page owners of those perfect parenting pages aren’t getting it right either.

No More Mummy Wars

Yesterday someone commented on my blog post about the Gift of Sleep, basically saying I have no idea what I’m on about and how mum’s need sleep and the Gift of Sleep helps families.  I was ready to reply, I was forming a reply in my mind when I realised, I just don’t care anymore.

I don’t have a 6 month old anymore, I got my kids through that and I don’t feel like debating that or justifying my choices during a period which is long gone any longer.

Okay so I do care, I do feel for babies left alone to cry in their beds.  But let me frame it this way.

My 19 month old has been going through a period of waking at 3-4am and thinking it’s morning.  I did this for 3 days before I decided I am the parent, I make the rules.  3am is night time not morning time.  So I went in, hugged him until he calmed down and talked to him, it’s night time, not morning time, you need to go back to sleep now.  Put him down, go back to bed.  And he’d get out of bed and bang on the door, so I’d go back in and repeat.  He wasn’t left to cry, he would on ocassion yell at me as in “muuuuum muuuuuum mum mum mum!” He wasn’t distressed, he was pissed off.  Eventually, he went back to sleep and it’s been improving ever since.

I think sleep training does have it’s place, for older babies/toddlers over 18 months old who can clearly communicate.  Dr Louise Porter in Children Are People Too says that controlled crying was actually intended to be used for children over 18 months.  That makes total sense to me.  It’s an age where parents know their children well enough to be able to tell what angry/sad/distressed/pissed off sounds like, what a tantrum sounds like, what pain sounds like.  To know when they’re asleep or simply laying in wait.  And you know your child well enough to know their limits.  I know my daughter will whinge for a long time when there’s not really anything wrong, she’s just tired, grumpy, over it.  My son goes from zero to screaming in a matter of seconds to show he’s pissed off, but if I don’t go to him straight away it’s literally 30 seconds and he’s over it.  But there’s a difference between the squeal he does to get my attention and the scream he does because he’s hurt or scared.

Now I know that it’s not in the “attachment parenting” framework.  I should cosleep with him, right?  I don’t sleep when someone is touching me, no not even my husband, that’s why we have a king sized bed so we don’t have to touch each other while we sleep.  DS doesn’t sleep in the bed with us either, and DD sleeps in her own bed and sleeps all night.  I’m not messing with that.

The endless debate of CC vs gentle settling methods is tiresome, there seems to be no end.  We all get uppity about our chosen settling method.  We all get a bit Holier Than Thou about it and everyone should do as we’ve done.  Some of those claiming to be gentle parents seem to forget about talking with kindness and respect when talking to other mothers, and they forget that what we model for our children they are bound to copy.

I’m sick of the so called Mummy Wars, and I admit that I have at times been a part of them.  But I just don’t care for debates on sleep or settling any more.  I find it dull to be honest.  It’s just not where I’m at any more.

Look, I still encourage mums to do their research, if they’re not sure do some reading and ask around.  Use your critical thinking skills, who wrote that book, what qualifications do they have, what was their intention when writing the book?  Does it resonate with you?

But here’s an even better idea, throw out all the books, from your Tizzie Hall’s, to your Elizabeth Pantley’s, the lot, put them away and just listen to your own inner voice.  We all have our own instinct and inner voice, listen to it.  Do you really think your little baby needs to sleep through?  Do you think they’re an early riser or do they need your help to “reset” their body clock?  Are they waking hungry, wet, nightmares?  You know your baby, so stop listening to what people who don’t know your baby think is best.

I haven’t picked up a parenting book for a while now, I’ve flicked through something about illness for some ideas when DS had a cold we couldn’t shake, but other then that I’m really making it up as I go along.  I remember when I was a kid my mum had one pregnancy book, it was very thin and it had two pages of baby names for boys and two for girls, some pictures of a baby developing and some exercise ideas.  Mum just did what she thought was best and we turned out pretty good.  I don’t remember her debating sleep or settling with her friends (my brother is 7 years younger then me).  She certainly didn’t spend all day on parenting forums, talking about parenting.

Is this the problem, we spend so much time talking about parenting that we forget to get on and do it?  Have we lost our natural parenting abilities because we’re always waiting for someone else to give us an answer?

I will admit to identifying less and less with attachment parenting and just doing what feels right to me.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all discarded the labels and just got on with it?

 

Going Solo

Quick!  Put the OMO on the window sill!  Hubby’s off and won’t be back for some time.

He rang the other day from a sat phone, nothing like hearing your own voice bounce back at you.  He told me about roaches and rats, how we spend more on the dog each week then the weekly wage is over there, how the poor kids have nothing.  He sounded tired.  Heat stroke nearly got him day one.

Gee I love it when people compare their husband’s bi-monthly business overnighter to my husbands deployments.  Or their husband working a 12 hour shift (DH does 16 hour shifts when he’s on base BTW).  Or they know how I feel because their parent was in the defence force.

That one irks me the most.  And I use to say it myself at first.  I know how you feel being a defence spouse with children dealing with your husband being away because my dad is in the Army.

It’s different.  Totally and completely different.

When I was a kid I missed my dad, it was hard, especially when he was deployed for months at a time and contact was minimal.  But there was no added responsibility, no added pressure, in fact I was cut some slack because dad was away.  It was expected that I wouldn’t be on my very best behaviour because dad was away.

When my husband is away there is the added pressure of having to do the duties of both parents, I have to be mum and dad, good cop and bad cop, it all comes down to me.  Cooking, cleaning, parenting, the lot.  There’s added pressure, I need to arrange babysitters to keep activities running as per normal, which costs money, I need to keep everything going.  All the financial stress falls on me.  All the parenting duties fall on me.  There is no one to take the baby for me to have a quick moment to myself after a long day, there is no one to take over making dinner so I can cool this tantrum.  There is no one.  And I am certainly not being cut any slack by my kids, not at all.  In fact with their dad gone they are more challenging than ever.

So this isn’t a rant about why being an Army wife is SOOOOO much harder then being married to anyone else.  But I am saying this.

Please don’t tell me you know how I feel, more than my husband not physically being here it is hard because he is in a foreign dangerous country and virtually uncontactable by myself or my children.  And that’s the hardest part.  Because I would love to be able to call him to tell him I miss him, we love him, and we can’t wait until he’s home.  My daughter had a gymnastics competition this weekend and kept saying she was going to show her daddy her medal.  That’s the hard stuff.  And unless you’ve stood in my place as a mother whose husband is away with the military, you don’t know how I feel.

What I do appreciate is people checking on us, making sure we’re okay, offering to keep me company when the rugrats go to bed.  That really helps.  Please, keep us busy.

And if you see me online after 9 tell me to go to bed!  DH is always the one to call it a night, I stay up far too late without him.

Why I buy organic

So news outlets around the world are reporting that a study has found that organic produce is no more nutritious then conventional produce and has no more vitamins and minerals.  Essentially they’re reporting that organic is a waste of money.

They are reporting though that children fed conventional produce have higher level of pesticides in their urine, and those eating conventional chicken products were exposing themselves to antibiotic resistant bacteria.  But organic products are still, apparently, a waste of money.

Has anyone stopped to think that maybe vitamins and minerals aren’t the only reason why people buy organic?

Here are some articles about what I’m talking about

Here

Here

Here

And let’s not forget that while this study has shown no difference in the levels of nutrients in organic produce, other studies have shown a significant difference, but nutrient levels aside, there are other reasons why people buy organic.

We buy organic and local wherever possible for a number of reasons.

It’s better for the environment

When we buy locally they don’t have to travel as far meaning lower emissions, and lower transport costs.  When we buy organic produce they’re free of pesticides, which have dangerous consequences not just for the bugs and nasties that attack the crops but for the local ecosystem as a whole.  They’re grown seasonally, crops rotated appropriately, they are grown the way food is supposed to be grown.  “Conventional” farming with pesticides, artificial fertilizers and crops grown out of season is not normal, it is a relatively knew method of farming and we cannot yet know the long term consequences of these methods.

Now the study claims that the organic produce still contained chemicals.  Of course they did.  Everything contains chemicals.  I mean think of it likes this, water is H2O, a chemical compound.  Right now as I type this chemical impulses are travelling through my nervous system to trigger the muscles to move my fingers to type.  There are natural occurring chemicals in plants, fruits and vegetables.  And natural pesticides too that these plants use to protect themselves from, well, pests.  Nature has a good system in place to make sure that pests don’t wipe out species of plants completely.  It’s all part of the “circle.”  But here’s something to remember, if something claims to be chemical free – then what the heck is in it?  Not all chemicals are bad or toxic, but there is a big difference in man made chemicals like artificial pesticides and the ones naturally occurring in nature.

Too much of anything is not a good thing, remember the guy on Oprah who had too much colloidal silver and ended up looking like Papa Smurf?  I once met a kid who ate so much carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato that he turned orange.  Moderation.

It’s better for the animals

Yes we buy organic meat and eggs because cows aren’t suppose to be fed grain or live on a feed lot.  They’re not suppose to be fed antibiotics.  Chickens aren’t suppose to spend their whole lives in darkness.  They’re not suppose to live in cages.

 

When we buy organic meat and eggs, and dairy products too for that matter, we can be sure that the animals lived a pretty good life.  Were treated the way they were supposed to be and their death was handled in a humane and compassionate manner.  Now be warned of clever marketing tricks, if you’re looking for organic or free range looked for the certification.  A friend of mine bought a carton of eggs, it had a picture of a chicken backed with fresh grass and a farm, the word fresh about 8 times, it even said premium grain fed range.  Clever marketing for cage eggs.  Well played marketing department.

I don’t want to unnecessarily expose my children to toxins

Yeah, yeah the pesticides are “within the safe range” and there are naturally occurring pesticides.  However, has the long term research been done about the build up of pesticides over an entire childhood, or lifetime?  What about the other inclusions in non-organic foods like artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, the high fructose corn syrup – It’s just not real food any more.

When we eliminate toxins from our home we need to eliminate them from our food as well.

It’s about building community

We buy food from local people.  They know my name, they know my children.  It goes back to basics, the money I had over directly benefits the person I am giving it to.  Simple.  They know what they’re selling me, they eat it themselves.  Yesterday I picked up my fruit and vege order and the woman I bought it off addressed me by name, and asked me how my son enjoyed the bananas last week, she remembered that he is particularly fond of them.  Don’t get that at the supermarket.  Every Saturday we stop at the same fruit stand by the road, he knows my daughters name and that we’re on our way to gymnastics.  It’s lovely.

It’s about eating real food and not food like products

It is now entirely possible for someone to go from the cradle to the grave without eating a single whole food.  From baby formula, to jarred baby food, packaged toddler snacks and juices, the Wiggles now do heat and serve meals, fruit bars, fruit straps, muesli bars, TV dinners, frozen vegetables, not to mention fast food and meal replacement bars and shakes.  With just a microwave and a can opener you too can never prepare a single meal from scratch again.

We aren’t eating food any more, but food like products.  We buy whole foods because I think it is important to eat real food.  Just eat real food.

 

 

It’s a part of a whole lifestyle, healthy eating, healthy living, community, eating together as a family, engaging our children in conversations about food and our place in the “circle,” it’s about putting something in our bodies that isn’t toxic.  It’s about tradition and making new traditions.

When I was a child we ate fast food sparingly, mum cooked dinner (or dad did, he’s a good cook too) and we ate at the table as a family.  Over dinner we talked and enjoyed each other’s company.  The TV went off.  For our birthdays we chose what was for dinner, and it wasn’t always a meal out.

 

 

We don’t always buy organic, we can’t always afford it, we’re a one income family and sometimes it’s important to pay bills first so the roof stays over our head.  But when we can we choose whole, organic, local foods because I believe it is important for our health, the environment and our future.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers

%d bloggers like this: