Parenting is not just a relationship, a task & a responsibility. It’s a journey – a beautiful, challenging & ever so fulfilling journey. We make millions of decisions & choices through this journey, some we stick to, while some we realize we need to change. And that’s what parenting is all about – realizing what’s working & sticking to that, learning from mistakes & moving on. I too like all parents made parenting choices, but by far the best parenting choice I made was to be a Guilt Free Parent.
The guilt free choices I made, most of those were the ones I was judged upon & was looked down upon. But well, that’s why they are guilt free choices. I did not care about the views & opinions of the society, but about what worked best for us – Me, my kids & my family as a unit. End of the day what should matter is the people you love the most, right? and not the society. That’s what I did. I got a little selfish & made these choices, and they worked out really well for us.
Here are few examples of how being Guilt free Parent was not as bad!
- Formula Feeding – My daughters were exclusively formula fed ever since they were almost 3 weeks old. I tried my best for those 3 weeks, but my daughters were loosing weight instead of gaining any and I was getting more & more depressed day by day for being unable to do a simple task which every female body’s anatomy is born with! I couldn’t breastfeed!!! I was questioned, looked down upon, judged & above all ADVISED – by every other woman on the planet. I was living under so much pressure at one point that parenting seemed like a burden. The day I decided “It doesn’t matter if it’s breast or bottle – FED IS BEST” my life was sorted. My daughters are as healthy or fall sick as often as any other kid. This Guilt free choice helped me come out of the circle of guilt & further create a support group for Formula Feeding Moms of India to help them come out of the guilt too!!
- Living Nuclear – Living Nuclear was not just a parenting choice, but we have been living nuclear ever since we got married. But when we got the news of pregnancy, we decided to stick to the arrangement & take up the responsibility of the two of us as well as the kids to come on our shoulders. We were very clear that we want to raise our kids on our own terms & impart them the set of values that we want to be in our family. Of-course the initial few months wee hell difficult. Managing the twins, their health, my health, the house (which was always neglected). It was 10 steps ahead of even overwhelming! But it was blessing in disguise! We got to stick to our parenting choices, our ideologies, our values – and that definitely makes us a more closely knit happy family!
- Laid Back Potty Training – “When are you beginning the potty training” “Oh! They are still on Diapers” “Their hip bones get affected with prolonged diaper use” YES, heard it all! Diapering is usually the most expensive part of being a parent – and with Twins of course the expense was double. Although we were on Modern Cloth Diapers, thus the expense was way too less for us. But I was never in a hurry to potty train or get them off diapers. The reason was selfish. I was not ready for the pressure to be put on me or my daughters to be trained when they were not ready. When they were almost around 2.5 years, we started the potty training & just because they were ready, it did not take them long to get trained. If I would have started early, the pressure would have been on me to keep taking them to washroom every half n hour, making them sit & waiting for them to poo / pee. But now they just tell when they want to go & I take them. Way too easier, right!! The wait was worth it!
- Going out leaving kids behind – Whether it be going out with friends for a coffee or lunch, going out for meetings for work or attending events alone, I do it all. Sometimes my husband has to stay back, while sometimes kids have to be at an emergency daycare. In our society a mother is expected to compromise on her desires, passions & lifestyle and make their kids & family their world. Why? Aren’t we giving a totally wrong message to the generation to come? I chose to love myself equally & am OK being judged as long as I know I am not jeopardizing the safety of my daughters while doing so. This helped me to have a balanced & happy life not just as a mother but also as an individual.
- Letting kids wander & explore on their own – Whenever we are out with kids, I am not an over protective, running behind kids, over parenting kind of mother. If it’s a closed space – like a play date at someone’s house, a secure play area, a dinner at a closed restaurant etc. – I usually let them wander around & explore the place. They choose what they want to do, whether they want to sit or run around, whether they want to eat or not, my role is to relax but also to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe. I know a lot of eyes judge me for being a lazy parent, but this arrangement has helped my daughters be more independent, satisfy their curiosity & be comfortable with new places & faces.
This blog is written as a part of a series of 7 blogs on the theme of 7 Parenting Mantras that Helped my Sanity written as a part of Bar-A-Thon 2017.
You can also read my previous articles in the series HERE.