Permission Granted

By the power vested in me by… well, no one, I’m giving you permission.

A friend called me, concerned. She had breastfed for a year, and didn’t feel like stopping but thought that somehow she should. “Can I keep breastfeeding?” she asked, unsure of herself. “Of course you can!” was my response.

Speaking with the receptionist at my dentist’s office, she worried aloud about her daughter, a new mom, who was barely keeping hide and hair together, sad, working full time, commuting too far, pumping and nursing around the clock, with a grumpy baby who didn’t sleep. (Okay, maybe my dentist’s front office staff is prone to oversharing, but I don’t mind, the ladies are lovely.) “Has anyone told her she can stop pumping or nursing?” The receptionist was caught off guard by my suggestion, probably figuring that her daughter already knew that. But I wasn’t worried about whether she knew that, rather, I wondered if anyone had ever told her so, out loud.

So let me say it outloud, er, in writing. You have permission. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else say it.

These are breastfeeding examples, but there are so many more.

Motherhood, strike that, parenthood is really just improv. You do the best you can, as you go, guided by instincts, friends, family, doctors, books, and the internet. It’s no wonder that so many of us second guess our choices and decisions. I do it all the time.

So here’s the thing. Odds are very good that you’re doing it right.

We don’t tell each other that enough.

So stop second guessing.

Do you want to stop breastfeeding? Stop breastfeeding.

Do you want to keep breastfeeding? Keep breastfeeding.

Do you want to name your child “North”? Go ahead.

Do you want to circumcise/not circumcise your son? Do it.

Do you want to make your child wear a onesie that says “I heart titties and beer”? Um, no. Please, don’t do that.

But you get my point.

Advertisements

It’s All Wrong!

Ah parenting. And guilt.

I’m not really a guilt-ridden type of broad.  But now that I am a parent, it is a constant choice every day to avoid the guilt.

One thing I learned quickly after Mr. Pickle Pumpkin was born – before he was born actually! –  is that every choice you make for your child can be judged. By someone.  And it usually is.  To have fetal genetic testing or not?  To circumcise or not? To breast-feed exclusively, or not? Cloth diapers, disposable, or some sort of hybrid? Co-sleep or not? Whatever choice you make as a parent someone you know has made a different choice and won’t hesitate to tell you, kindly, with a concerned look on their face, why their choice is just a little bit better.

It can make you crazy.

So I tell all new mothers to give up the guilt.  There are a million different ways to parent, there are a million decisions to make every day.  Do your very best, don’t worry too much, and realize that some kids with all organic toys will grow up to be psychopaths, some will grow up to be world leaders most will grow up somewhere in-between.  Make the choices that work for you.

Guilt be gone!

**********

An upcoming post will deal with the other side of this coin – judging!