Parenting Theories

posted in: Parenting 110 comments

Before children, I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.

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.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • April 3, 2013 Leighann

    Stories of truth!
    We all have our own, that doesn’t make them right or wrong, it makes them ours.
    Love this Alison.
    Leighann recently wrote…The Magic of EasterchristmasMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Yes, OURS. That’s key. Thanks Leighann!

  • April 3, 2013 Jo Lynn

    I agree with you, I like to read more about parents real life experiences versus various theories. Parenting is the most challenging thing I know I’ve done and hearing the nitty gritty from other parents has done way for me in this role than an article chock full of what I should or shouldn’t do. I think it helps my soul to know I’m not alone in certain struggles I face as a parent, and real life experiences from others confirms I’m not alone.
    Jo Lynn recently wrote…A Faith In Need of HealingMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Yes, the feeling of isolation that comes with parenting can be overwhelming. Knowing that there are others out there, just like us? Lifesaving.

  • April 3, 2013 Christine

    When I first became a mother, I so wished and wanted for there to be one theory or formula for parenting that, if I followed, would lead to healthy and happy children. While there’s not that one formula, I do love reading the real stories about the challenges and successes and setbacks – all of it because it makes it feel less isolating and lonely. And also because from those stories, I can piece together and create a formula that works for me and my family.
    Christine recently wrote…6 signs that Mommy needs a time-outMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Yes, the key is what works for YOU and YOUR family. I just wish people who write blanket statements about parenting would understand that.

  • April 3, 2013 Laura

    Whenever I see an article with a title like “How to Get Your Kid to x, y, or z” or “Why x, y, or z is so Important for Kids” I TRY to remember to read it as “A Thing That Worked for One Parent, One Time.” When I went through some sleep trouble with my little one a few months ago, a friend of mine just kept on suggesting I read this one book and articles by a few of the same writers on how to handle the issues. WORKS WONDERS she kept saying. Well we tried some of the methods out and that stuff did NOT work out for us. She was positively perplexed that the things that worked for her didn’t work for me! Eventually we fumbled our way to a solution that was uniquely our own. You’re so right that every kid is different and every parent is different, so the possibilities are endless on how to do things right (and wrong).
    Laura recently wrote…Easter!My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      “Fumbling” is the right description of most of this parenting gig! 🙂

  • April 3, 2013 Alexandra

    Parenting theories. Our children know themselves best, my job is to help them decipher.

    Alexandra recently wrote…This Trail’s Been BlazedMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      You’re ever so wise, as always. xo

  • April 3, 2013 ilene

    I love this post because there is so much humility in it and you say it all when you say that it’s heart and truth. Also, you bring up a very important point – that we have to parent to the child – there is no one size fits all.
    ilene recently wrote…The In-BetweenMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Ilene. Parenting is definitely something that has to be customized to each child. Which is why it’s so hard. 🙂

  • April 3, 2013 Michelle

    What works for one child doesn’t always work for another, even in the same family. In my opinion, parenting theories are just that…theories. I’d rather read about someone’s life experiences with parenting than a how-to.
    Michelle recently wrote…Digital Photo Organizing: Basic StepsMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Theories schmeories, right?

  • April 3, 2013 Kim

    Standing up and cheering for you, Alison! When other folks, but especially moms, write pieces condemning other moms for doing or not doing something, I just want to whack them on the side of the head and ask, “What are you thinking? Do you believe that will help me and encourage me, telling me I’m a bad parent/loser if I do/don’t do this?” Grrrrr!

    I grow very tired of theories, as well, shared by folks who are “educated” yet clueless about the real world. When our girls were little, I would have been so grateful for the internet and moms like you who are sharing the ups and downs of parenting, the rich rewards of the better days and the continuing to walk through in faith through the tougher days because you are being the best parent you know how to be.

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      YES! I want to tell those people who make other parents feel bad, or who say outright, you should do this, this and this. Not. Interested.

      Being the best parent that we know how to be – exactly that.

  • April 3, 2013 Kim

    Yes. This is it. There is no one-size-fits-all method to parenting. We are all individuals, with unique families and routines. How could one thing or belief or process possibly work for everyone?
    Kim recently wrote…Roller CoasterMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Parenting has to be flexible, definitely not a one-size-fit-all.

  • April 3, 2013 Kelly

    I much prefer reading about experiences rather than theories. So many people telling you so many different ways to do different things is beyond frustrating. My husband likes to research ways to do everything on line. I am more a trial and error let’s do what works type. Don’t get me wrong, I google things…all of the time. But I much prefer to read about real life experiences than some “experts” silly theory that will “work for everyone.” For example- we knew we were transitioning my LO to the crib soon and my husband kept asking me what sleep training method I wanted to to use. I said that we could talk about it but that in my mind we should just put her in and see what happens. He said OK but in the “you are a nut job for thinking that it is that easy” kind of way. So we put her down, he said “we didn’t discuss what method” I said “oops.” Wouldn’t you know it 4 nights in and it hasn’t taken her longer than 25 minutes to fall asleep. Most night it happens in 10-15 minutes. Theory Shmeory – go with your gut and talk to other mamas, that is what I say. Thanks for the great post!
    Kelly recently wrote…Organizationally Disorganized – A True StoryMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Glad to hear that you went with your gut and it worked!
      (my husband is also a major research type guy, heh)

  • April 3, 2013 erin margolin

    You said it, Alison. I couldn’t agree more. I happen to think most “theories” are BS. What works for some may not work for others and vice versa. There’s no one way to do anything. Sometimes it’s a total cluster. Sometimes it’s amazing and beautiful and raw. But yes, parenting is CHALLENGING, oh my God, is it ever! And honestly I don’t think anyone has the perfect solution.

    I struggle daily. And it helps me to know that others do, too. Truth helps. Heart helps.

    loved this.
    erin margolin recently wrote…Don’t Be a DickMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Oh hon, we’re here for you. You are full of heart and truth. Love you. xo

  • April 3, 2013 Alexa (katbiggie)

    Amen sister! I do like to read things from time to time for ideas and suggestions (I have read several books on discipline for example, and I meld the different tactics to what might work for my kids.) But yes, all the articles on whether or not women should breastfeed in public, or stay at home, etc are just OPINIONS and I pretty much avoid them! You are so right – there is no one right answer. Even within the same home. I have to use different strategies with all three children on just about everything! Great post Alison!
    Alexa (katbiggie) recently wrote…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      I too, have parenting books. But more for stuff like how to make kids listen and how to discipline without tears. Not theories, more like, here are some ideas, try them, see what works. Not the all-blanketing articles I’ve read recently.And yes, children are so different, even within the same family. I can already see it with my boys.

  • April 3, 2013 Susi

    Alison, clapping my hands in applause. This is the best parenting post I’ve read in a while. Everything you said is so true and something I totally agree with. I’ve always been very quiet on all the “big” issue posts well, because I’ve always believed that every parent parents differently because every child is unique and what works for one may not work for another!
    Susi recently wrote…Bald Eagles {Wordless Wednesday}My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Wow, thank you Susi!

  • April 3, 2013 Natalie

    Amen sista! I read some blogs, and I can tell they think they are the best and blah blah…but most moms I read are honest like you and say hey what works best for you is the best way. I don’t judge other moms…even if I do something different. We’re just trying to make our little babies the best they can be!
    Natalie recently wrote…Wordless Wednesday-Easter StyleMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Exactly! No judging, just getting on with our lives and loves. 🙂

  • April 3, 2013 Jenni Chiu

    Um… I wish I could say something more meaningful here, but all I can say is “agreed”.
    Jenni Chiu recently wrote…Alone In a Car With a SongMy Profile

  • April 3, 2013 Tamara

    “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.”
    Oh boy, have I needed to hear that! Especially when I compared my second to my first a bit too much, and I still do! I have a great aunt who only reads my posts that are NOT about my kids because she doesn’t have kids and feels she can’t relate. All I write about is how I know how to love my kids, cause really, that’s the only thing I feel I’m an expert on. Love your posts, but I always do.
    Tamara recently wrote…Moonrise, Moonset.My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Oh your posts about your kids are lovely and beautiful, Tamara!

  • April 3, 2013 Jessica

    What I did with my first kid doesn’t work with my second kid so I can’t even parent those two the same.
    Jessica recently wrote…Essence of Now: Spring Break {Part 1}My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Same here!

  • April 3, 2013 Kristen

    I think this is why I love the blogs that I do follow regularly…the honesty in parenting. I want to know that people have days where their kids are sassy too but that they are tangled with days that their kids are sweet and thoughtful. I don’t want to hear about how I should parent, what I should feed and/or anything else where someone else thinks they are the expert. Who likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong all of the time? Not me! I just want to know that I’m not alone in the day to day of this very hard but very worth it parenting gig.

    Love this post!
    Kristen recently wrote…Right Brain Kind of LifeMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you Kristen! I think the thing we all have in common is this – that we just don’t want to feel alone. Sure we love advice when we ask for it, but it’s when we ask for it. 🙂

  • April 3, 2013 MrsTDJ

    This is my first visit, but I’ll definitely be back. I love when I read refreshingly honest views on parenting. I poo poo anyone who’s like reads as a perfect image of everything. Yeah right. Everyone’s perspective and approach is different and the challenge is finding what works for you and your family. Great post!
    MrsTDJ recently wrote…Eat It or Jump It?My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you so much for coming by!

  • April 3, 2013 Kiran

    Thank goodness you are not shoving parenting theories down our throat. I would like you a whole lot less! Kidding. Kind of.
    Kiran recently wrote…How honest are your friends?My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Hah! I may just try, test your love. 🙂

  • April 3, 2013 Jessica Smock

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I too really want to hear about — even when I’m reading about research or “expert” perspectives — parents’ actual experiences. I can’t tell you how many parenting books I’ve looked at and just discarded because they didn’t connect their “expertise” to parents’ actual lives. And also find myself looking for any kind of guidance from books, research, or “experts” less and less as my son gets older. He’s now almost two, and most of the time now — because I know his personality and have so much more actual experience — just go with my “gut” whenever we have an issue.
    Jessica Smock recently wrote…HerStories: A Dog, Two Families, and AmyMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      A mother’s gut is never to be underestimated.

  • April 4, 2013 Laura

    Amen! This point hit home for me when I had a second child. I realized that all of my tried-and-true methods that I had been preaching to other Moms didn’t work on my other baby. Whoa! So now, I try to just share my experiences. …and ignore the sanctimonious diatribe from those who think they know it all.
    Laura recently wrote…Easter ConfusionMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Especially when the know-it-alls are either not a parent, or who are new parents. Please, talk to me when your child is older 🙂

  • April 4, 2013 Kimberly

    Moms are hormonal vaginas that have no clue about the theory “what works best”
    That they are all choices. It impacts the person making the choice not the person making the judgement.
    Kimberly recently wrote…What Do You Do With Your Free Time?My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      You’re a wise vagina. xoxo

  • April 4, 2013 Julia's Math

    The more I learn the less I know.
    I want to read about moms like me- moms who are trying their best, moms who fail, moms could can laugh at themselves, and moms who sometimes dream of hiding in the closet until after bedtime. Thanks for all of it!
    Julia’s Math recently wrote…Six On Sunday, Version 36My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Oh you do too? Hide in the closet? 🙂

  • April 4, 2013 Shell

    Really, all we can do is share our own stories, knowing that each family is different- and often even the kids in that family, so it’s hard to think there are “right” answers out there.
    Shell recently wrote…Pour Your Heart Out: Speaking UpMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Yes, exactly. There is no right answers for ALL of us.

  • April 4, 2013 thekitchwitch

    I didn’t think I knew anything about parenting when I gave birth, but boy, there sure were a lot of others who considered themselves experts on the subject. It turned me into a nervous, insecure hairball. I wanted to lock myself in my house and not talk to anybody. One of the scariest times of my life.
    thekitchwitch recently wrote…Easter and the Eyeball StoryMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Oh, meanies!!! What’s up with know-it-alls?

  • April 4, 2013 Carolyn Y

    Great post. We all have to do what we believe in. And yes, parenting is a maze, turn one way, and it may be right, and chances are you’ll have to keep moving and turning and changing!
    Carolyn Y recently wrote…Black Bean Fudge CakesMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      A maze, yes! Also, amazing 🙂

  • April 4, 2013 KalleyC

    It’s hard reading article from people without children. It’s like a teacher who never had kids that tell you how to raise them. I can’t stand that. You are right, we only know what’s good for our own kids–nothing more, nothing less.
    KalleyC recently wrote…Lately…My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      You’re absolutely right, Kalley.

  • April 4, 2013 Julia

    So true!! There is just way too much out there telling parents how to parent. I especially hate when people who don’t have kids like to tell parents how to do it. That would be like me telling someone how to sky dive and I’ve never jumped out of a plane.
    Julia recently wrote…Slow RideMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Love the analogy, Julia!

  • April 4, 2013 Amanda Jillian

    Soooo true. Parenting isn’t a formula and it is hard work.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Spring PlayMy Profile

  • April 4, 2013 tracy

    Everyday I wonder what the hell I’m doing. Please don’t tell my children.
    tracy recently wrote…Taxi Driving Firefighting Tap DancerMy Profile

    • April 4, 2013 Alison

      For someone who’s winging it, you’re doing a fabulous, stand-out job. xoxo

  • April 4, 2013 Leslie

    All so true; especially this…

    “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.”

    YES! We’ve got two stubborn little girls….and both stubborn in their own ways. What worked for the first hasn’t necessarily worked for the second. And that’s okay. I had so many ideas of parenting before having the girls, and now…well, I just hope that they grow up to be kind, honest and faithful. Anything else is gravy.
    Leslie recently wrote…{Weigh In Wednesday} Week 13My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Isn’t it awesome how simple it can be?

  • April 4, 2013 another jennifer

    I’m so with you. I don’t want to be told what to do or what I’m doing wrong (lots, I’m sure). I learn most from posts that talk about personal experiences. There’s not one right way to parent. However, I kind of like the sound of just feed them chicken fingers parenting.
    another jennifer recently wrote…Wordless Wednesday: Sidewalk ChalkMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Hah! Right? If only it worked.

  • April 4, 2013 Robin

    Ditto on stories of truth. You’ll note that I rarely give advice. I don’t think I’m even an expert in my own children. I wish I were, but they keep changing what works. Sigh. 😉
    Robin recently wrote…2:40 a.m.My Profile

    • April 4, 2013 Kristin Shaw

      LOL! I’m no expert on my own child, either. I can only give advice to myself, and it may be faulty. 🙂
      Kristin Shaw recently wrote…Dear Future Daughter-in-LawMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      They do change daily, don’t they? Thwarting us at every turn. 🙂

  • April 4, 2013 Kristin Shaw

    Amen, sister! Well said.
    Kristin Shaw recently wrote…Dear Future Daughter-in-LawMy Profile

  • April 4, 2013 anymommy

    Uh huh. It can never be said enough times. Story sharing is amazing; lecturing never gets through to anyone.
    anymommy recently wrote…An anal what now?My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      You’re one of my favorite story tellers!

  • Parenting is like philosophy. Everybody is gets a bit right and most of them get nearly everything wrong. But if you put whatever Kant, Hegel or Plato wrote in a bowl and mix it up real good you get something which might work. Same with parenting theories. The tiger-mom is a bit right about how important it is to teach children about perseverence, the helicopter mom is a bit right about involvement in your kid’s lives. But one theory cannot be all-compassing.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Celebrating Easter with Jamie Oliver’s Rhubarb muffins…. and chocolateMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      You’re ever-so-wise, Tinne!

  • April 4, 2013 NJ

    You are spot on! I love to read different theories about parenting to get new ideas. I like to take what I think will work and try it myself!
    NJ recently wrote…Pour Your Heart Out {7 Ugly(ish) Truths}My Profile

  • April 5, 2013 Runnermom-jen

    AMEN, sister!!! I don’t want to read anymore articles on what the ‘experts’ say either…enough, already.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…Running and Sunshine…My Profile

  • April 5, 2013 Jessica

    I used to believe in parenting theories when I was a new mom. But, time spent in motherhood showed me that they never work and only serve to make parents more frustrated and unable to see their children as individuals.

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      That is my fear, that people try to pin theories on their kids, forcing them to be a certain way, instead of allowing them to blossom as they should.

  • April 5, 2013 Maureen

    Alison, I am so gonna forward this post to my sister in law who is expecting her first baby. This is so powerfully true. Thank you for writing this!
    Maureen recently wrote…Why I Had To Say Goodbye to Chalean ExtremeMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thanks Maureen, I hope it helps her, and not scare her 🙂

  • April 5, 2013 tori nelson

    LOVE this post, Alison. I’ve heard it said “I was a better parent before I had kids” and, truth of all truths, I really was. I had all kinds of certainty about how I would dress my kids, how I’d discipline and how I’d love my kids. Reality rarely confirms to our plans. I’m a happier mom now that I realize there is no magic or perfect method. Every parent’s probably doing it a little wrong, but the trying is what counts.
    tori nelson recently wrote…The Curious Case of Benjemima ButtonMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      We are all definitely doing it a little wrong – how can we not when these children constantly befuddle us? 🙂

  • April 6, 2013 Tonya

    So true. Every word. All we can do it the best we know how with the tools and experience and patience level we have been given. Great post!
    Tonya recently wrote…Dear PinterestMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Tonya!

  • April 6, 2013 Heidi

    Love this! And it’s so true.
    After each of my sons was born, I made one promise to each of them on the day they were born. Through tears I told them, “No matter what, you will always know that I love you.”
    I struggle many days, but make every effort to parent to that promise.
    Heidi recently wrote…Why We No Longer Use Anti-bacterial ProductsMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      That’s lovely, Heidi.

  • April 6, 2013 Grown and Flown

    Love this, open minded look, it is so refreshing. Parenting is so situational, different time, place, spouse, child and it would all be different. Even with older kids I am learning this all over again as I mistakenly try things with my youngest that worked on his brothers. The lessons you speak of here we have to learn and relearn! Truly fantastic post.
    Grown and Flown recently wrote…The Mommy War WithinMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you so much! Love your perspective that parenting learning doesn’t end when the kids are older. They change, and so will our parenting.

  • April 6, 2013 Adrienne

    Great post Alison. nothing has ever made me feel so helpless, so clueless, yet so rewarded and so hopeful. It’s a roller coaster.
    Adrienne recently wrote…Featured Blogger: Ice Scream MamaMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      It is definitely a roller coaster.

  • April 6, 2013 Tracie

    “Parenting: It is Heart, and Truth.”
    I love this. I enjoy the true stories much more than the “10 ways to be the perfect parent” kind of articles.
    Tracie recently wrote…This Hamburger Will Make You HungryMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Tracie!

  • April 7, 2013 Jennice

    I don’t like being judged about my parenting style. All of us take different approaches to parenting because we all have different children. I love reading REAL parenting stories and sharing my own in return. I’m Jennice and I’m visiting from #SITSsharefest

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Mutual sharing of stories, that’s what’s great about the blogosphere! Thanks for stopping by, Jennice!

  • April 7, 2013 Amber

    Great post. I’ve always parented on what felt right to ME. Others might not agree, but if it works for my family, that’s enough.
    Amber recently wrote…Things That Annoy Me Thursday: Driving and Cell PhonesMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Yes, as long as it works for you, who cares what people say?

  • April 7, 2013 Lady Jennie

    This is my favorite part: 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 agree with you!! Let’s spur one another on to love and greatness, not get lost in the mires of judgment and guilt.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…About WritingMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Love and greatness. Yes. This.

  • April 7, 2013 Katie

    I never really read the theories out there on parenting, and I was taken aback when I would write posts about my struggles and people would say things like, “This is what you HAVE to do” or “This is the ONLY way to make your kids ____.” I do like reading about parenting experiences though. It’s probably why I love the blog world. I like to read about the trials and tribulations, victories and successes. Some I can relate to, others not. Some techniques work when I try them, some don’t. But it’s just sharing…not pushing on each other.
    Katie recently wrote…Project 365 {week 14}My Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Sharing, not pushing, exactly. I’m happy to offer advice when it’s asked, but I always, always have a disclaimer that what I’m offering worked for us, but it may not work for them. But never unsolicited. 🙂

  • April 8, 2013 Kimberly

    I totally agree. There’s never one right way…and people trying to tell you there is doesn’t stop with toddlers and babies. I’m still getting, “You know, you should….” about my teenagers.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Five Minute Friday: AfterMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      Ugh, it doesn’t stop, does it?

  • April 8, 2013 Katie

    I agree, I love reading articles about what worked for one parent and I hope to only write about what works for me. Parenting should be a community of people cheering each other on, not one where we preach and chastise others for “doing it wrong”.
    Katie recently wrote…Something Buggy is Going on HereMy Profile

    • April 8, 2013 Alison

      There really is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’, is there? It’s just what works for that particular family.

  • April 9, 2013 Nina

    AMEN! I especially love that quote up top, but I love everything you said here. The excellent writer Roxane Gay recently said something on Twitter I loved: “Think of all the actually important conversations we’re not having while we deal with nonsense. UGH. Stay home, work, do both, whatever!”
    Nina recently wrote…Cutting my iPhone Time in Half by Next SpringMy Profile

    • April 9, 2013 Alison

      That is a GREAT quote!

  • April 9, 2013 Greta

    This is spot on. Parenting is different for all four of my children, even.
    Greta recently wrote…Great Expectations: Franny BolsaMy Profile

    • April 10, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, and yes, exactly.

  • April 13, 2013 Emily

    I read a blog post a month or so ago and even though I don’t remember the marrow of it, one line in it has stayed with me and I hear it reverberating in my mind almost daily now: “I cannot care about all the things.” I feel like as blogging mothers, we are often expected to have a clearly defined outlook towards breastfeeding, diapering, attachment parenting, scheduling, sleep training, etc. and if we DON’T have a plan and a philosophy that we are wiling to fight to the death for when it comes to what camp we align ourselves with, then we’re doing it wrong. At some point we talked ourselves into believing that parenting involves being an expert on everything and casting judgement on other parents who are clearly “unfit” for deviating from the path that works best for us and our kids. But you are so right in saying that there are core principles that have nothing to do with parenting theories. Kids are hard, but they are also inexpressibly beautiful and knowing them and parenting them is the biggest privilege we can be given. We don’t have to care about breastfeeding or piercing their ears or whatever the hot button topic du jour is. All we have to do is love them.

    • April 13, 2013 Alison

      Emily – yes, love. All we have to do IS love them. And accept them for the beings that they are, and guide them down the path to being decent human beings. How we do that is different for everyone. Thank you for weighing in!

  • April 13, 2013 seventiesbaby

    Gorgeous Alison,

    another sensational and real post! 8 years on and I’m still amazed at the judgements and unsolicited advice I get as a mum. I don’t have all the answers either and I certainly haven’t done everything right – not even close! But I can tell you this with absolute certainty – I have never been more invested in anything in my life and I know I am doing the best I can possibly do and if, through sharing my own pains, failures and successes, I can help another mum do the best THEY can do too, then that is a good day indeed. Thanks for your help too 🙂

    • April 13, 2013 Alison

      Love your comment. So much. Thank you.

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Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

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