Uh oh. Another blog post about parenting. Is this one going to tout the fabulous French way, where French children don’t throw public tantrums?
Ooh, wait, is it going to be about the Asian way of parenting – practice piano for 6 hours or you’ll never succeed!
No, no, it must be about breastfeeding – let’s throw in a controversial title like, if you don’t support breastfeeding in public, you don’t support breastfeeding (actual title of an article).
Perhaps a view on attachment parenting? Helicopter parenting? Just feed them chicken fingers parenting? Fly by the seat of your pants parenting?
No, this is none of that.
I am not a parenting expert. I don’t have any theories on how to parent your child successfully. I don’t have any brilliant ideas on sleep training, discipline, talking to children about big life issues like death or equality. I can’t offer any advice on potty training.
Everything that I’ve shared here or elsewhere about any aspects of parenting, is based on my experience and my experience alone. I am not an expert in parenting, but I am an expert on my own children.
I can’t tell you that breastfeeding is the only way to go. I can only tell you that I nursed both my children (and still breastfeeding one), and that’s what worked for us (and my boys hate the bottle).
I can’t give you tips on sleep training. I can tell you that we had to employ different tactics at different stages to get our 3 year old to sleep on his own, through the night. I can tell you that transitioning the baby to the cot to sleep on his own has only worked for naps, and the reason is because I’m not in the room with him, sleeping and breathing mere feet away.
I can’t tell you a lot about feeding kids. I can tell you about our struggles with our 3 year old and his picky eating, and how we’re trying various ways to get him to try new things. Occasionally, I can even share some tried-and-tested toddler-friendly recipes with you.
I can’t tell you what is good for your child. I can’t tell you what ‘method’ you should employ. I can’t tell you to get off your iPhone or your laptop. I can’t tell you to stop letting your children watch television. I can’t tell you how to discipline your children when they’re running around in a restaurant. I can’t tell you how to manage tantrums. I can’t tell you how to raise your kids.
All I can tell you is this.
Parenting is hard (what a cliche, but for a reason).
Parenting is something you go in thinking you know everything, only to find out you know nothing.
Parenting is different for everyone, with many similarities.
Parenting is not something that can be taught, that has a winning formula, that in adopting one ‘way’, will ensure you succeed.
Parenting is not just about the parents, it’s about the children. How you find your way as a parent, has a lot to do with the temperament and personality of your child.
Parenting is a maze, a convoluted mass of ideas, theories, techniques, suggestions.
Parenting is scary, and exhilarating.
It’s hard enough to do this thing, without being judged, without reading yet another sanctimonious article about how we are doing it wrong, without being badgered about this versus that, without being divided into camps.
I don’t want to read another article about breastfeeding in public, or whether mothers should stay home or not. I don’t want to read yet another post from a non-parent about how we should parent. We all do what we have to for our children, for ourselves. My way is no better or worse than yours.
I do want to read articles about parents sharing their experiences, good and bad. I want to read posts from parents telling me how challenging and beautiful it is. I want to read articles about triumph and love, and yes, even heartbreak and grief. I want to read mothers’ and fathers’ hearts, and their truth.
Parenting: It is Heart, and Truth.
Linking up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out.
What do you think about blog posts/ articles about parenting theories?
This is not a theory, but it is a post about what I learned when travelling solo with a baby. Come check it out, my post at Everyday Family.