ControverSunday: Parent-centric choices

by Ginger on April 4, 2010

in Mom Thoughts

It’s ControverSunday time again! This week, it’s a free topic–but with the twist to try and use the archives of our fellow participants for inspiration. Which, you know, means I now have about a million ideas in my head after scouring everyone’s archives for the past two days.

But, the one that really resonated with me today was this one: My Judgemental Little Secret by amoment2think(our guest host this week, btw).  I suggest going to read it–I’ll wait.

Ok, now that you’re back, you’ll see that the post was a confession by amoment2think that she gets a little judgy when she sees parents out with little ones past a certain time. She’s all about the early bedtime. She’s got lots of reasons she thinks so, all of which make total sense, but you know what? I totally disagree with her! (nicely though, I promise). 

Well, not totally–I think that each kid and family is different.  For a lot of families, an early bedtime is key. And my kid and my family may be on that time table someday. But for now, he goes to bed usually between 8-9pm, sometimes later, sometimes earlier, depending on what our day has been like. There are a lot of reasons for that: we’re a late to bed/late to rise family here, the kid has always had a little night owl in him, and, oh yea, I don’t get home from work until 6 or 6:30. So I relish my 2 or so hours with the babe on weeknights  and already don’t feel like it’s enough time with him.

And there’s the thing. That decision is, in part, a parent-centric choice. I knowingly keep my son’s bedtime later than “normal “so that I can spend time with him, so that I can pump less, so that I can get some parenting in on the weekdays–all rather selfish reasons. In part, we’ve kept his bedtime later so that I can reap the benefits of being his mom everyday, not just on Saturday and Sunday.

But it goes beyond bedtime. I think that there are times when making parent-centric decisions rather than kid-centric decisions makes the whole family happier and healthier. For some, that might be switching to formula from breastfeeding to keep mom sane. For some, it might be supplementing rather than pumping. For some, it might be stopping c0-sleeping so that mom and dad can get some sleep. For every family, there are bound to be decisions that are made more with Mom and Dad in mind than with the kid–and that’s not only OK, I think it’s necessary.

It’s not that I don’t think that you need to change/grow/adapt your ways when you have kids–I do. But I also believe firmly that there are times when you need to make decisions for Mom & Dad’s sanity FIRST. I firmly believe that a happy, calm, less-stressed Mom and Dad are incredibly important to a happy baby. Sometimes, that means that we do what’s absolutely best for our families, even if it’s not what’s considered absolutely best for baby.

Now, go check out more of the participants of ControverSunday here–they’re all smarter than me, and their posts prove it!

amoment2think

Mommy in Chief

Altered Sky

Tortoise on the Loose

Partial Disclosures

Our Lady of Perpetual Bread Crumbs

Adelphebre

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Lorry April 5, 2010 at 12:21 am

I totally agree! We have to do things for our babies, but we also have to do things for ourselves. It’s so important to find that balance. Bean has a “late” bedtime too, because that whole earlier bedtime means more sleep thing just doesn’t work with her. If we put her to bed earlier, she wakes up earlier. No thanks. That said, we don’t take her out and stimulate her either.

Kathleen April 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

Ah, not one of my proudest blogging moments- but an honest one.

Great post. I soooooo agree with parent centric choices sometimes. Happy Momma= happy baby.

Ginger April 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

Kathleen,
I debated about using that post as inspiration because I didn’t want to make it seem like I was piling on to you for that. I actually do understand where you were coming from–even if I personally disagree for my family.

I think that’s part of what is so refreshing about this whole ControverSunday thing–that we can discuss (and disagree) while still understanding where other’s might be coming from.

Kathleen April 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Totally Ginger, not to worry at all.

That post was a hard one for me because I wanted to be honest about how everyone has things they are judgmental about. I know my opinion doesn’t work for everyone and nor should it. I would never tell any individual parent that I disagreed with their choice unless they came to me for advice (and then I would say something very very nicely!) But again, that is my opinion and not one I expect anyone else to share.

Anyway, I digress. Yes, I love it when blogging is about discussing differing opinions without turning into drama drama. Yeah ControverSunday!!

Mama Tortoise April 7, 2010 at 8:57 am

I read amoment2think’s post first and COMPLETELY agreed. Kathleen, I have the exactly the same reaction to children out late in the evening. I find I’m especially judgmental if the child is fussy.

Then, I come back here and read about parent-centric choices. Couldn’t agree more. And, as I have been a working Mom, I too extended bedtime so that I could have time with my daughter. Never thought about judging myself, of course 🙂

So, where to draw the line? When does parental choice win out over commonsense? And of course, whose commonsense are we talking about?

Maybe the answer lies in whether or not people complain. Sort of like the argument that you shouldn’t talk politics if you don’t vote. If you’re complaining about your children’s sleep patterns or frustrated by their fussiness and taking them to the mall at 9 p.m., I have a problem. But if you’re happy with your children’s routine and it works for you, so be it.

Perpetua April 9, 2010 at 6:26 am

I’m with you on this, and not just because I make a lot of parent-centric choices. 🙂 I know that I was CRAZY when I was trying to breastfeed and couldn’t, and it didn’t get better until I switched to formula. And everyone was happier. Does this mean E didn’t get all the benefits of breastmilk? Yes. But it also means he got a happy, healthy mom, instead of the insane woman who was crying on the bed while she watched the industrial milker produce nothing. For us, that was more important.

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